Interesting Food for an At-Work Happy Hour (Longwood, JP, Brookline, Allston etc)
At my work we take turns catering a weekly happy hour. My turn is fast-approaching and I want to do something different and exceedingly tasty.
- feed 20 people - for many it will be dinner
- not too expensive ($200-300 for the food)
- i can do pick-up if they don't deliver, and could do a little on-site prep work if necessary (we have a real kitchen)
- things that have been done recently and that I want to avoid (Tapas, Thai, Greek, Indian, Mexican, sushi and BBQ)
A few ideas I've gleaned from searching chowhound include Rami's (Brookline), Reef Cafe (Allston), La Mamma's (Allston - I was thinking for empanadas) or La Papusa (JP - again for empanadas, the papusas sound too messy). If you have experience with any of these places or ideas of which food would be best I welcome any comments.
Hopefully I'll go on a bit of a crawl this weekend to check out some of your rec's.
Only had time to try two places this weekend - La Mamma and Reef Cafe. I want to get to the TFR soon!
La Mamma - Decided against their empanadas as a happy-hour option. They were made-to-order and the empanada crust was great, but the filling was too heavy. I tried the mushroom, spinach and cheese and corn. I also ordered a beef, but they flubbed the order and gave me two mushroom, not that I could have eaten four of these belly bombs in one sitting!! The filling of all the veggie ones was a white sauce plus the veg. The sweet corn kernels were a pleasant surprise as they burst in my mouth and were set off nicely by the flavorful hot sauce. The spinach was also good but the mushroom filling tasted like canned cream of mushroom soup. My friend had the beef, pepperoni and cheese and ham and cheese and thought they were okay. I ate a fair number of empanadas when I lived in Houston and some of my favorites were seafood-filled and spicy and almost all were sans cheese. If anyone knows where to find this type I'd be glad to know.
Reef Cafe - This seemed like a good possibility. The hummous was just right, not too garlicky. The falafel sandwich was the best I've had in years. Crispy outside, tender inside... nicely dressed with lettuce, tomato, tahini and turnip pickles. My SO wasn't thrilled with the lamb and spinach special... too few bites of lamb in a mountain of spinach. Although I had to agree on that point, I thought it had nice flavor. We both enjoyed the accompanying salad and pilaf. Reading up on past posts here it seems like the lack of meat in the special entrees is a regular complaint.
The staff was really helpful and said that catering would be about $10/person - perfect for my price range. Since I've just scratched the surface of the menu options, I’d be happy to hear which items anyone has had catered from Reef Café.
Just an FYI, but if this happy hour is on a Friday, you'll need to take Rami's off of your list. They are closed for the Sabbath on Friday afternoon / evening. You could look to Shwarma King as a replacement option for Middle Eastern cuisine.