A Food Lovers Paradise: TusCA Restorante

If there’s one aspect I love about weddings, it’s the food. I know I should say it’s about the bride’s gorgeous dress, or the union under God, but while weddings are extremely romantic for the bride and groom, for me as a guest, I’m all about what’s on the menu.

Perhaps this is because I’m 26 and single, or maybe I just haven’t been to enough weddings, but I find that while love brings the bride and groom together, it’s the food that brings the whole event together. Call me mistaken, but I find that if guests are hungry during the ceremony, that’s what the whispers are about, not how touching the ceremony is, and the main thought on a majority of guest’s minds afterwards isn’t on how gorgeous the first dance is, it’s ‘where are those amazing appetizers!?!’ 

Food is no longer the way to only a man’s heart, it’s become the way to every wedding guests’ happiness. Keep everyone’s taste buds satisfied this wedding season by having food by TusCA Restorante catering your special day. 

Located within the gorgeous Hyatt Regency Monterey, overlooking the Del Monte golf course, TusCA Restorante led by Executive Chef Steve Johnson is not just wedding food, it’s sophisticated, memory-making, picture-capturing food. Combining the best of Tuscany with the best of California, Chef Steve will make just about anything the wedded couple-to-be has in mind, however their specialties revolve around what’s in abundance and in season. Using the wealth of locally and seasonally sourced California produce, meats, and fish, everything is made with integrity and carefully served.

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Beginning with their wine and wine bar, guests can enjoy having cocktail hour while overlooking Monterey’s picturesque golf course. The wine’s are fantastic, with our host Oscar being extremely knowledgable regarding everything that’s provided for guests. While I was prepared to try any and all of the wine and cheeses, Oscar generously spent time with me learning how to pair different cheese and toppings together for the best taste, and making sure that mine and everyone else’s wine glasses were always half full. 

Whether you’re reception is dining formally at the TusCA Restorante, or having the dishes catered elsewhere on property, it would not be an authentic Italian meal without starting with bread, oil & garlic. The bread was so delicious, and while it is no longer made on property, a local bakery supplies the bread fresh on a daily basis, allowing the chefs to focus on what they do best: making incredible food!

Following the laid-back central California theme of the property, and paying respect to Monterey’s fishing heritage, I strongly suggest trying the sesame crusted ahi tuna that’s rested on a wonton chip with wasabi cream and an asian slaw. This appetizer was an instant hit with everyone at the table, and if it wasn’t so improper I probably would have asked for more! I love cooking with wonton chips at home, and the way Chef Steven prepared the dish was just perfection. I enjoyed the ahi tuna appetizer so much, I asked Oscar to pay my compliments to the chef, which he did, and prompted Chef Steven to come out himself and explain his wonton cooking secrets with me. Not only is this appetizer ideal for formal dining weddings, but more social cocktail hours as well, given the handheld abilities of this delicious dish.

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For salads, Chef Steven recommended a braised beet salad, with chive scented goat cheese, fresh arugula, apple sticks and white balsamic vinaigrette. This dish pairs beautifully with the sesame crusted ahi tuna, and continues with the trend of delectable yet ‘light’ courses. Waiters come by each table after the salads are introduced, and ask on an individual basis how much vinaigrette to add to the dish. I extremely enjoyed this aspect as not only is it formal, but it allows each guest to specify exactly how they like their meals, adding a more personal approach to the event. For weddings that are pushing high guest counts, this can be an excellent way to make all of those in attendance feel appreciated on your special day. 

When it came to dinner, there were three equally as appetizing options. The first choice, and my selection, was the gilroy garlic roasted salmon with a lemon tarragon butter reduction. I chose this dish as I stay away from land meat, and while I have salmon on occasion, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was the best salmon I’ve ever had in my life. The fish was cooked brilliantly and the sauces brought the dish above and beyond. I plan on making a pit stop to TusCA Restorante during all future trips to Monterey, solely for this dish. If you stay away from meat completely, there is a delectable grilled asparagus option served over small grain brown rice pilaf, and if meat is your thing, consider serving wedding guests the black pepper marinated poached chicken breast with danish style brie. Yum!

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For desert, chocolate pot de creme with edible candied orchard was a huge hit around the table, and customized coffee drinks kept everyone awake and happy. Both Oscar and Chef Steven made sure that I was provided with an incredible honey latte, while others enjoyed everything from straight espresso shots to cappuccinos.

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While I enjoyed TusCA’s fine dining over a  group dinner, there food, attention to detail and amazing service would make their restaurant a fantastic option for a Hyatt Regency Monterey wedding. When in the area, I strongly suggest stopping by  TusCA Restorante to try their amazing food yourself, and hopefully it can be served at your upcoming wedding as well.

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