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party for 85 people- need cheap bulk ideas

so...my husband and i have somehow managed to invite 85 people to our first ever party- yikes! i'm going to make most of the food (heavy appetizers) but i was wondering if you guys know of any super-affordable appetizer-esque food i can get at restaurants...like spring rolls, potato balls, non-sushi rolls, etc... i live in west la and will drive as far east as koreatown.

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  1. A small reminder... Costco is your friend. I've seen people put together AMAZING spreads out of the freezer case there. Those little mini Nancy's quiches spring to mind, but I know they have tons of different appetizer-y things all over the place there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

      Great story in the New York Times this past Sunday, about how many parties in the Washington D.C. area are based on Costco items. They had a photo of Sally Quinn shopping there....

    2. If Glendale is not too far, Porto's has the best potato balls.


      2 Replies
      1. re: fdb

        Second the potato balls. Order them cold and they heat up fine in the oven

        1. re: fdb

          I third the recommendation -- we "catered" my daughter's 3rd b-day party from portos and it was great. they also have a location in burbank

        2. Try This

          Tamales from Taqueria Sanchez on Inglewood south of Culver

          Pupusas from Gloria on Venice near Motor?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Burger Boy

            Is Empanada Factory better than Empanadas Place (Sawtelle, south of Venice)? It seems like their prices are comparable, and Empanadas Place also have cocktail sized empanadas for $15 per dozen.

            1. re: empfam

              I have not tried them yet, they are on my new years party list.

          2. You could get a bunch of $4.99 Costco roasted chickens, some stouffers lasagne, and some Costco Pizzas.

            1. If you don't mind traveling to the Valley Natas Bakery has platters of their delicious pastries as well as different sized cakes. The Farm Boy does wonderful fruit platters.

              1. Tamara's Tamales on Washington in Culver City - amazing. I ordered the pumpkin tamales for Thanksgiving & they were a huge hit.

                Trader Joes?

                1. We've also done samosas from Samosa House and they've been a hit.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mollyomormon

                    Oooops ... I didn't see your post and made the same rec below.

                    Ummm ... I agree with molly ...

                  2. I think most responses seems to miss the 'super affordable' requirement. Don't know what budget you have in mind, but catering and buying premade food is usually more expensive than just cooking it at home.

                    I liked a lot of Costco's stuff, especially their mini tamales in the freezer section ($12 or so for about 20), but they are not that cheap. Plus if you don't have a Costco membership it's another $50. You can check their salsa and chips, which are affordable. Their big tub of hummus is really good (get some pita to go with it). Make a cheese platter by buying the big blocks of cheese and cutting it up yourself. Make a fruit tray yourself with the bulk grapes and stuff. They also have good brownie bites and other desserts (you didn't mention dessert).

                    Try a local chinese take out for trays of spring roll, or go to a Chinese Supermarket and look for the lumpia rolls in the freezer section. I don't think they are expensive and you can fry them up at home, which will be crispier than getting premade one that sat out for a while.

                    I don't know if there are bulk dim sum places near you, but in San Gabriel there's a Yum Cha Cafe that sells dim sum very cheap ($1 per steamer or so). Maybe some cut up chinese bbq pork in rolled up slices in toothpick?

                    I noticed a lot of Hawaiian places have catering menus. Maybe some chicken katsu or some sort of musubi (rice roll)?

                    1. Samosa House on Washington will do platters of samosas.

                      It's on Washington B near Berryman (east of Inglewood, west of Sawtelle.)

                      1. You might call Heart of India... apparently they're very good w/ "party packages" http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46018...

                        Costco can be done affordably, so it's definitely a resource.

                        You could bring in food from Carnival.

                        Rahel or Messob for Ethiopian

                        Thai from Ruen Pair

                        Tacos, Burritos, and whatnot from Poquito Mas, Tacos Por Favor or Tacomiendo

                        Falafel from Westwood Falafel

                        Schwarma from Sunnin

                        Yuca's on Hillhurst

                        Tito's Tacos



                        Asahi Ramen

                        If you wanted to contact someone to do some catering, Auntie Em's is really good about working on budgets.

                        Dim Sum at Empress

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Emme

                          thanks guys! here is what i have planned so far:

                          store bought items- minimal preparation
                          - hummus and pita chips
                          - cheese and crackers
                          - fried dumplings
                          - veggie plate
                          - edamame
                          - costco spinach dip

                          more preparation: :
                          - jelly meatballs (crockpot)
                          - mini pulled pork sandwiches (pork in crock pot)
                          - mini crabcake burgers (using dinner rolls)
                          - soba with chicken and peanut sauce (in mini chinese take out containers)
                          - proscuitto wrapped melon
                          - mini corn muffins

                          - mini cupcakes
                          - holiday cookies

                          1. re: greengelato

                            Looks good. Nobody a vegetarian? Falafel maybe of interest if so (goes with the hummus too).

                            You can also use the King's Hawaiian rolls for the pork or crabcake sandwiches. I think they sold them at Costco in bulk at least a while back.

                            Not sure what Jelly meatballs are. Sounds intriguing. Along the same line they also have aidell's meatballs at Costco that's good, and TJs has very good party size mini-meatballs.

                            For another home cooked idea - if you have a BBQ grill you can also get the baby back ribs from Costco, slice them into individual ribs, then marinate them (I love the Soy Vay's Island Teriyaki marinade I got from Trader Joe's) and bbq.

                            A bit more expensive, but always a hit. Just get the cooked shrimp from Costco or TJ and defrost - instant shrimp cocktails (with a good cocktail sauce).

                            Also a bowl of plain or spiced nuts for snacking.

                            You mentioned Koreatown. My local Korean supermarket sells those pickled veggie filled sushi rolls that are good, but maybe a little weird for some. But you can always pick up the premarinated meat there and grill it yourself. I picked up a big bag of kalbi from Costco but haven't tried yet so don't know how they compare.

                            If you want more premade food - a Honey Baked Ham always seems to go over well. Slicing them maybe a bit of work.

                            Finally, someone brought a tray of vietnamese sandwiches for a party (they were cut up into 3" chunks). It's good but maybe a bit adventurous for mainstream.

                            1. re: notmartha

                              DJ's has good lumpias you can buy in bulk. there's on in k-town and also one in van nuys.

                              1. re: notmartha

                                hehe...the korean sushi rolls (kimbap) will definitely not be weird as at least half our guests will be korean american. :)

                                1. re: greengelato

                                  Well then. They are easy, inexpensive, tasty and filling. I love the prepared rice cakes at the Korean supermarket too.

                                  1. re: notmartha

                                    in that case, i would HIGHLY rec. DJ's lumpias to go along with the kimbop.

                          2. It's pretty easy to do cheese, charcuterie, and bread selections that allows people to nibble or make themselves a sandwich. You can go to TJ's for more affordable cheeses, then throw some walnuts and dried fruit on the platter. You can also get a bunch of salami, prosciutto, etc. there. And you can go to a place like BreadBar and gets lots of great breads.