August 15, 2010
A New Leaf: Served Good Fish & Beef
Friday wedding. Never been to one before. After changing in my work restroom (super classy) and plugging in the good old straightener at the white counter top (like my close friend co-workers and I do before venturing outside the building walls) I was was ready to head to Lincoln Park for a 6:00pm reception. A friend of Doug's from his Australian Rules Football Team was getting married, an interesting character sporting a euro-mullet and unshaven face (just the way his bride preferred, I learned--one of many reasons why they are a great match). I tracked the 11 bus, which could take me pretty darn close. I think after this weekend especially (I used the CTA buses for all transportation) I may do an ode to joy regarding the CTA Bus Tracker and how helpful and cost effective it proves to be! I arrived at a new leaf, fixing my makeup after being in 98 degree weather and walking in a silk dress (better than Doug's seersucker suit & worse yet, his friends' wool suit that he wore on Friday!).
Overall, the venue was a gorgeous spot for a smaller event--just note that, unlike some venues, there is little space to expand past a certain volume of people (how nice that we--Doug--was included in this special occasion!), since there really isn't any extra room on the dance floor, which we later found out. The space is split into a few different areas: front entry way (4+ smaller tables of 4 seats each for socializing and/or eating later in the night), two stair cases leading to a platform on a second floor containing a wide stairway (which we pretended to dance like Frank Sinatra while walking up and down like really cool people) to the dance floor. The dance floor definitely wasn't necessarily big in size, but what I thought was hilarious and fitting to the funny crowd of wedding guests, was that they decided to include a bar in that area as well (obviously a priority to the family and friends of the bride and groom, which I certainly respect). Dance floor size aside, we were certainly able to fit in a good amount of (really bad) dance moves, like the sprinkler, etc. My neck is still sore a few days later, so apparently the space didn't hinder any kick ball changes or the fact that we decided to do "double dutch" on the dance floor.
The space is very simple, which can be an excellent opportunity to personalize the walls, coloring, lighting per the look and feel of the event. It's mostly exposed brick walls, which I absolutely love. I can also envision an interesting opportunity for some fabric to be incorporated into the overall look and feel (maybe fun stripes could further set the mood depending on the event). There was a gorgeous centerpiece where the buffet was located. I included it in a photo that I took from near the dance floor (above it) so I could capture how gorgeous it was. An aspect that I was slightly skeptical about given the smaller size of the venue, was the food selection. However, my second guessing was not necessary. The fish was fresh and well prepared, the steak was nicely done and not overcooked, and the side dishes (corn rice dish, side cranberry salad, and mashed potatoes) were simple and worked well with the overall menu selection. It wasn't a formal sit down dinner, but rather guests had the option of eating in the smaller area outside (with white lights strung, very "homey") or at one of the tables upfront. We ate outside for a bit before it was about to downpour. Then of course, I got some Twizzlers from my purse (no shock). I had to include a photo since they really hit the spot (I know they are tacky, but I'm the queen of "I have food and a survival kit in my purse"). A further demonstration of how much I enjoy a good sweets table at weddings.
Overall, A New Leaf is a warm and quaint spot that's easy to personalize. It's in a great location (not too far North, not too far South) in a fun neighborhood. I would recommend this space for any important life moment (50th Birthday, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Graduation Party, or Fundraiser). Click to view Venue Photos
I can't wait to plan an event here!
Posted by Michelle at 10:20 PM