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Any suggestions for PARTY FOOD that I can "gather" from local CALGARY restaurants....

I'm have a backyard affair that has spiralled out of controll ..... I am usually a more the merrier kind of person...but I just can't get it together to feed (well) 40+ people right now. The party id for my son's 1st birthday....I love him to the ends of the earth BUT...he sure makes throwing a party hard! I AM cooking a fair bit but I don't want to become (more of) a crazy person...so I am hoping to buy some yummy treats to add to the buffet. Anyone have any ideas? The menu is very eclectic...anthing goes! Better finger food than knife and fork though.....

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  1. from the calgary farmers market you can pick up those little pies by the dozens, green onion pancakes, latkas and knishes... one of the best finger foods (IMHO) is samosas...

    2 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      So funny...we just ate those pies for dinner because I am cleaning out the freezer to make room for the icecream cake I am making.... they are an excellent emergency meal! What green onion pancakes are you talking about....sounds yummy. Have you ever had the samosas from the indian place accross the street from Lena's that has a sign outfront advertising samosas to take home for parties? I was thinking they would be a great addition... I was also thinking a big antpasti platter from Lena's...but I think my tastes are different than those of my guests.... I may do some prosuito wrapped melon to go along with my spicy meatballs and 60s retro food. I actually saw a recipe on another of these boards for a salmon mouse in a jello mold that really made me go..."mmmmmm".

      1. re: Susanbnyc

        I believe that place across from Lina's is the Curry Hut... The Samosas are actually pretty good, as are the pakoras and the naan bread.

        In a pinch, M&M Meat Shops has great boxes of frozen appies, as does Costco. I agree, fresh is better, but like I said... In a pinch...

    2. Susan- the chinese counter at the Cgy Farmers Market sells green onion pancakes that are delicious. Quarter them and voila, perfect fingerfood.

      M and M- that's right- they sell tons of stuff for parties (little quiches, chicken wings, that sort of thing), some pre-cooked so it's just warm up and "entertain."

      1. Appetizers of the world sounds like a great idea! Lots to choose from.

        I have a few suggestions that might help. In general, the principles i applied was something that would be easy to get, and something that is good somewhat cool (since timing for 40-some is always difficult, stuff you can serve semi-warm is much better than somethng that must be served hot).

        1. First off, for Samosas, *please* don't order them from the Curry Hut - i had one of the worst Indian food experiences at that place (20th Avenue and Centre Street, in case there is a new Curry Hut a few blocks of north of it that is directly across from Lina's). They are also overpriced. Order them from the Calgary Sweet House - 52nd Street SE, Just South of Memorial (i think it's 5th Ave or something like that). There Samosa's are infinitely cheaper (veggie is 0.65 ea, meat 0.85), and better. I think they do volume discounts as well. Another finger foodies type thing you might want to offer from an Indian/Pakastani place is fish pakoras. They are flavourful, not too strong in ethnic profile, and taste good semi-cool.

        2. Do NOT serve green onion cakes. They taste terrible cold. For chinese, i'd recommend BBQ meats. Excellent semi-warm, cheap, and very little work. BBQ Pork, and Roast Pork are usually the 2 big faves. $6 and $7 a pound respectively at BBQ express... 3 pounds of each will do. They cook it, cut it, you pick it up and put it on a plate. Bingo, done.

        3. Lebanese is quite condusive to finger foods too. Baklava for dessert can be bought by the tray, and are brought from the refridgerator and left to warm up - the opposite of warming something up and serving (having a combo of the two is ideal). Kibbeh (ground beef, bulgar wheat, pine nuts) is amazing, and at 1.69 each, is extremely filling, and easy way to keep your guests full. Great luke warm as well. Dips like Baba Ganoush and Hummous, along with pita, work perfectly too. The best (and most cost effective) place in town for this type of catering is Tazza Deli in Bridgeland. If you need help arranging it, let me know.

        4. as per John, M&M is great for dips and other finger foods. Wings, Ribs, all quite tasty there. There dips are microwaved too, so no fuss, no muss to get ready. Just the food prep for the dipping pieces (crackers, veggies, bread, etc...)

        5. Sushi platters are a big hit, and actually taste better when you remove them from the fridge for just a bit. The most cost effective place in town is Uptown sushi - they have a buy one platter, get a second one half price deal on (it's a coupon on their takeout menu). This ends up being an obscene amount of sushi for 65 bucks or so. Big hit at bigger parties.

        6. Lastly, just some things for you to think about that i find go over well and are popular. For cheese, go to Springbank cheese and they'll get you a cost effect, quality tray. Pizza always works too. Vietnamese salad rolls are often a big hit for the healthy conscious. Meat on a stick (skewers, kababs, satay, etc...) are all quite good too.

        Sorry, i gotta run. Lots more ideas for you, but i'll wait to see what you think of this one first :)


        1. Thanks. Yen.....

          I am actually in pretty good shape..suprisingly! I spent the morning nap time making 3 batches of Italian buttercream...... which I think came out pretty great!

          I have already made and frozen mushroom and potato strudel x 4. All I need to do is throw them in the oven on party day. I will make spicy meatballs tomorrow...they will get better with a day in the fridge... I am making a smiked salmon savory cheesecake served with toasted mini bagel halves imported from New York... I will do that Thursday as well... and then a warm artichoke and spinich dipwith french bread....friends are bringing some marinated meats on skewers.... and some salads will be whipped up depending on what looks good at Curry Barracks on Friday...... it's all in the timing though. I think I will go and get the pakoras you suggest...thanks!

          I was at costco yesterday and bougt a box of frozen spinich pies just in case....lol...you never know....

          I can not believe how much butter actually goes into a buttercream....makes it harder to enjoy it knowing....

          2 Replies
          1. re: Susanbnyc

            wow. how do you import those bagels from new york?

            normally I would recommend the bruschetta from Lina's but I had it the other day and it was awful. I guess that they wre short on ripe tomatoes, but it was heavily overdosed on the powdered oregano.

            1. re: alex8alot

              Alex...I am from NY and some family is visiting for the party and they are bringing my favorite bagels and a honking container of whitefish salad...a delicasy apparantly only found on the East Coast... soooo good.

          2. John...the green onion pancakes sound great to me actually...maybe I will heat them up and serve them with a soyish dipping sauce....yummy!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Susanbnyc

              Sigh - no credibility these days :) I need to teach everyone how to make green onion cakes so they don't have to eat farmers market onion cakes.

              If you really want to go with GOC, then rather than re-heating cooked ones, i would recommend getting frozen ones and then heating/cooking themin a skillet with some oil. There's some decent ones at any of the Chinese groceries (like T&T). Something strange happens to the starch in the GOC when you re-heat it - the flour become tough and chewy, and changes the most important texture qualities of the cake - crispy on the outside, and soft, flavourful on the inside.

              1. re: Susanbnyc

                Thanks, but please note Yen's caveats!

                I like your typo- "Curry Barracks" sounds like an Indian resto with a military raj-era theme. It's no worse than "Bombay Bicycle Club."

                (it's Currie, until the whole area gets redeveloped and, from what I am hearing, moved to the Stampede Grounds)

                1. re: John Manzo

                  hey! my dad was part-owner of the Bombay Bicycle Club back in the 70's!...it was an after-hours speak easy thing...

              2. Yen...

                is this" Wattan Sweet House & Restaurant" on 52nd the place you are speaking of?

                John....funny about my typoslip....maybe someone should open Indian food at Currie and call it Curry...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Susanbnyc

                  Actually, it isnt. I thought the name was Calgary Sweet House, but that apparently is the one on Falconridge Blvd.

                  Im not sure what the name is... you turn south on 52 Street off memorial, go to the next major intersection (i think it's 5ave or 7th ave SE) and it's on your left (east side). There is a gas station, and it's tucked away in the corner next to a dentist's office. They've been there for 20 some years... can't believe i don't know the actual name! :)

                2. Try the Liberated Cook ... Stadium Shopping Centre, www.theliberatedcook.com

                  Andrew Hewson ex of Catch is the padrone, and he made fantastic food for us at a similar event

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Miles

                    I'll remember this for next time.... I don't imagine that he will be able to do anything for me on such short notice... Thanks though.

                  2. Ok...so here's the party report.....

                    Union Square Cafe spiced nuts
                    Artichoke and Spinich and Ricotta dip
                    4 x carmalized onion strudel
                    4 x prosuitto w/ mozza, basil and balsamic reduction
                    smoked salmon cheesecake
                    sweet and spicy meatballs.... (M&M meatballs...homemade sauce)
                    fresh corn and blackbean salad w/ a lime vinagarette
                    assorted skewered meats and shrimp

                    icecream cake
                    chocolate cake
                    bluberry shortcake

                    What I've learned.... 1.most people don't really care what they eat at a party...I care WAY more. 2. ANYTHING is good wrapped in philo pastry.....and I like the zen methodical nature of assembling things in philo...I think there is a "things in philo" party in my future.. 3. Live music makes any party better....we had a groovy guitar player who played with the kids for a while and then just did her own thing in the background...very nice. 4. Ideal Party Rentals really does have everything you need....we rented a 10 x 10 canopy at the last minute for fear of rain.....and a giant coffee maker. Very convienent. 5. Cleaning up is always easier if you manage to squarral away a bottle of Prosecco for the ordeal... I'm happy it's over. I'm tired.

                    1. Congrats on a successful party! Now if you could only explain what these intriguing "Union Square Cafe spiced nuts" :) Probably for the home cooking board, but loving spiced nuts, im curious nonetheless!

                      1. I hope this link works....

                        They are soooo easy and so delicious!


                        1. Hi,
                          Can someone please help me in planning for my son's 1st birthday party. Well, we would love to have it at home, but there would be nearly 100 guests inclduing kids. can you guide me with food ideas, gifts etc. The food can be Indian, chinese, western or combination of all these. Are there any caterers who can cater and of course not much expensive.Thanks

                          1. Aishajay....

                            At Currie Barracks there is a new caterer called Absolutly Fabulous....the taste they are giving out ARE ABSOLUTLY FABULOUS! I am buying a brie in puff pastry w/ caramel and pears (YUM!!!!!) for my dinner party next week...... they have a large menu...I'm sure they could help you....

                            1. You can buy beef, chicken or Veg samosas directly from the manufacturer in calgary called: Thumbs Up Foods located at # 335, 7 Westwinds Crescent NE. They sell both the regular size and cocktail size. The quality is excellent! www.thumbsupfoods.com