Where can I find excellent hors d'oeuvres? (take-out)
I am having a baby shower at my house next weekend and am trying to find exceptional hors d'oeuvres for take-out. I am getting the cake at Rosie's, pastries at Modern in Medford, and dips and crisp breads at La Patisserie in Winchester. Any ideas for other appetizers??? The shower is at 2 in the afternoon so I'm not looking to do lunch, however, would not be opposed to some tossed salads. Also, I would be open to recommendations from Whole Foods, Trader Joe's etc., as I am not very familiar with their products (except I hear Whole Food's cupcakes are phenomenal!). A great quiche recommendation would be great as well!
Baker's Best has good quiche - I've ordered them for showers many times and haven't been disappointed. You can also get salads and such from them - they're always fresh (nice lettuces, good but basic fruit salads, etc.) but I sometimes am underwhelmed by the macaroni, tuna, etc. sorts of salads there (I think they've gotten lazy, frankly). It would be so easy to go to Baker's Best and order whatever you need to fill in your gaps. They also have heat 'n' eat apps. w/baking instructions.
I think the Armenian idea is great - but I'm Lebanese so I love this stuff. You have to know that guests will be into that - I would also recommend Sevan as the best spot for the prepared stuff. If you ask, they'll give you tastes. If you get bread at Sevan, be sure to ask what is fresh or else squeeze them all to see - more reliably fresh stuff can be had at Arax (much bigger selection).
Trader Joe's has some great frozen apps. that you just pop in the oven - I think they're pretty solid for frozen fare - some nice little spinach and feta in filo, some good puff pastry selections, etc. Let your appetite be your guide there.
I think the prep'd foods at Whole Foods are lackluster, by and large. I'd stay away.
You could also check out the Armenian places on Mt. Auburn St. in Watertown. They have very good prepared foods. My favorite is Sevan Bakery. Their vegetarian grape leaves are really good, and they have a fabulous red pepper, feta and garlic spread that is great with pita. They also have very good hummus, eggplant dishes, and large white beans with carrots and garlic, among other things.
Just around the corner, on Belmont St. in Belmont, Eastern Lamejun has terrific Armenian flatbreads, or lamejun. They have lamb, chicken, and a tasty vegetarian version flavored mildly with sumac.
Sophia's Greek Corner, also on Belmont St., has great olives, and very reasonable. The "superior" kalamata are delicious.
I've ordered party platters from Sevan a few times. Each time, they put out a lovely platter (I think 8 - 9 scoopable things) of my choice items. I cut up the pita myself and arrange them. I also order veggie grape leaves on the side. Those are the items that go first. While I love the meat grape leaves, they have the be heated up special and I generally don't have the time.
For bread, pastries and some cakes (and even pizza: not Greek greasy pizza) definitely Iggy's bakery in Fresh Pond (La Patisserie & Modern have nothing on them.) For quiche/salads I would recommend La Provence in Concord, MA. Whole Foods' prepared food is pretty mediocre. Trader's Joe frozen stuff is you know, frozen stuff...
Eastern Lamejun is a good option for some hummus & middle eastern offerings.
I noticed as I was getting my coffee/croissant at Concord Tea Cakes this morning that they have a freezer with hand rolled apps such as mini quiches, mushroom tarts, etc.they were a bit $$$$ though. i have even got the Trader Joes apps before & they are pretty good (try the Spanakopita). At the Whole Foods in Fresh Pond they now have an Antipasto Bar and you can get all sorts of marinated olives, artichokes, sundried tomates, whipped feta dips, stuffed peppers, marinated mozzeralla & different kinds of tapenades. i recently made a tray of their stuff & brought it to a party and was a hero !
Don't forget the Russian options like Bazaar and Berezka. Great selection of exotic salamis, smoked fish, and prepared salads.
Just wanted to say the mini-quiche from Trader Joe's are snapped up as soon as they are cool enough to eat whenever I put them out. Yeah, they are frozen but they are good. The spanakopita is also good. Mushroom turnovers in cream cheese pastry also good.
I do this kind of noshing / finger food entertaining a lot and unless I've got the time to head to Sevan / Arax or the Russian grocery in Brookline, TJs is a real life-saver.
I love the Florentines from Modern in Medford.
We have gotten the Sevan party platters a few times and they are great. But the other stores in that area of Watertown can probably also do it. I also was going to mention the mini-quiches from Trader Joe's, which, it is true, are not always in stock.
For our larger parties, we like to order either a ham or a smoked turkey from Harrington's of Vermont. Unbelievably good. You can put out the meat, two kinds of sliced bread, and put different mustards and mayo in little bowls -- if you want people to make little sandwiches (easier at a cocktail party) then just cut the bread so it's kind of small.
Watch out for Whole Foods quiches -- sometimes they are very good, but we had a really foul one once and started to serve it at a party -- yuck! Smell everything first, before putting things out . . . . my tip.
Petsi's has some full-size savory tarts that are good. Would be the slice-and-eat kind. Potato and Mushroom, Spinach/Ricotta, Bacon/Leek/Swiss...
Wow! Thank you all SO much! I'm going to check out Baker's Best and Sevan tomorrow... thanks again!
* I picked up these great pre-made pastry cups today in VT (Sable & Rosenfeld) - hopefully I'll find a salad at Baker's Best to fill them with!