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Take-Out Suggestions for Holiday Pot Luck Parties

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Will be in Boston next weekend and attending some holiday parties. I usually bring wine or desserts, but since I'll be missing out on restaurant meals for these parties, I'd rather bring great but affordable main dish or savory type food.

I saw the posts on the samosas, Taqueria La Mexicana tamales, and Wang's dumplings. I'd be willing to go with the samosas or tamales, but I don't know how much kitchen space there will be, so I think the dumplings are out. I won't have access to a kitchen before the parties, so I want to be able to pick up the food and bring it with me without any repacking or rearranging.

Any other suggestions? I'll be staying in Cambridge, but will have a car, so I don't have any restrictions on location or type of food. TIA!

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  1. People like the middle eastern stuff at Reef Cafe in Allston. Some dishes from Zoe's in Brookline, lamb w/ cumin. Stuff from Mary Chung's which is closer to you. Pizza from Cambridge 1 or Emma's. Out of your way but subs from Al's on State St.

    1. If you tell them you're doing it for a big party, Mary Chung will package suan la chow show (their awesome spicy Sichuan dumplings) for travel (sauce, sprouts, dumplings in separate containers) for assembly at your venue. This was a big crowd-pleaser at a potluck I attended recently.

      1. What about fresh spring rolls - no heating required and people love them. Any decent thai place should be able to set you up and slice them into manageable pieces.

        1. Thanks for the suggestions. I've been busy surfing the chowhound site for potluck info, and was surprised by the many posts complaining about potyucks(!), and declaring that you should never eat the food at a potluck.

          So this got me thinking... can anyone recommend a single or double takeout order of ANYTHING from ANY greater Boston area restaurant that you would LOVE to eat at a potluck?

          Something that doesn't have to be served piping hot, will still be delicious even after a short drive and then sitting out on a serving table for 30 minutes, and at least a dozen people can get a taste of?

          (And, is there anything else that I should order for myself to eat on the way to the potluck?)

          Otherwise, the Mary Chung's suan la chao show sounds like my best bet. It's been a few years since I've had it, but iirc it was very good.

          Any idea how many dumplings in an order?

          Also, I checked the Reef Cafe menu but wasn't sure what would travel well to a potluck. I think the food will sit out a bit at the potluck, so I don't want to bring a pizza. And I got scared off of Al's by the sandwich nazi posts. Thanks.

          1. the papaya salad at Khao San - i love it and it holds up pretty well - my usual is a trip to Arak's or Severn where i load up on tabooli and taramsalata (severn's is the best on those I think) and humus and a wonderful kale and chickpea salad (I prefer Araks) - bring pita and some almond cookies and you're a great guest!

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            1. re: teezeetoo

              I second the Watertown suggestions! Some of the savory pies would be good too. Thinking of savory pies (or sweet for that matter) you could order a couple of pies from Petsi's in Somerville or Cambridge. See their website. Ordering a big or a couple small calzones someplace (e.g. Bob's) is another option. I have filled dough on the brain...

            2. I love the fresh roll (goi cuon) idea, though I'd get them at a Vietnamese restaurant. Another thought: lamejuns from an Armenian bakery in Watertown. I brought these to an office party a couple of years ago and they were a big hit.

              1. How about a tray of chicken tikka and some naan bread from your local Indian resto? A side of raita to spread on would be nice too. People can tear off some bread, add a piece of chicken and a dollop of raita, and yum!