I am jetting married soon and I am on a limited budget- it is a lunch buffet we'll be serving with appetizers. Can anyone suggest menu items I can give to the caterer that would be less costly? I am thinking a California fresh type menu. Since we have a lot of guests from out of town it would be nice to show off some of the local fare.
First where are you? If you are to be married in 90 days the local produce choices will be better.
We have been happy with Rick and Ann's in Berkeley. Here is their latest menu. you can ask which dishes showcase local products.
Seriously ... what's the date? It matters for produce. Right now it would be citrus, potatoes and root vegetables (the watermelon radishes are stunning lately ... nice for color). Getting toward toward the end of Feb/March strawberries start to appear though not at their prime.
Most caterers have a repetoire of dishes to choose with prices.
Some of these suggestions might be strange, since they've fallen out of style, but you might try thinking about an 80's style California cuisine buffet type menu, in the way of a really diverse salad bar, or even a nicely done stuffed baked potato theme. Maybe full Quiches, Frittatas. and Ricotta pies sliced in generous wedges. Wine, and cheese paired with little chocolates and tartlettes.
If you want to spice it up a little, I know a lot of people who have done Middle Eastern food for buffets on the cheap. Assorted fresh tamales in their corn husks would be fun. Another trick is dim sum. You can order 200 pork buns, for example, really cheap.
Hope that sparks some ideas.
I am in the same situation- am looking for a place to cater for ~130 at Mt. Tam in July.
I am trying to stick to ~$15person (for food, service is additional & bumps it up a bit). Stating the budget up front helps and at least a few caterers have worked within the budget without a problem (one for that price including service!)
I have found that sandwiches & wraps are fairly inexpensive. Pasta can be, but it depends... I'd love to hear other people's opinions- we are still looking but have found at least a couple of caterers we are considering.
Another thing you can do is get food from a restaurant in bulk and hire service separately (if at all).
Is it just me or do a surprising number of businesses fail to respond to requests? (Both before & after I tell them the price point & details)