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Take my brunch...please

I'm throwing a birthday brunch for a close friend, Looks like we'll be between 12 and 15 people. I'm grappling with the menu. It will be at least partly pot luck - I'll be making the main and dessert, and I'll be assigning dishes to others. Not sure if I'll be telling them EXACTLY what to make or just give them a category they can handle, but I'm definitely not interested in a free-for-all.

So here are the parameters. The birthday gal loves a good crepe so I'm thinking that will be the main. Might do something seafood-filled (any great recipes?). I'm looking for all sorts of suggestions for starters, sides, drinks (champagne-based or otherwise). I want this to be elegant and lavish and wonderful. She isn't much of a meat-eater, has a generally mediterranean sensibility around food and loves vegetables.

I'd appreciate any and all ideas to help construct this meal. Probably will do it as a buffet-style meal, but we'll see how many people end up coming.

Thanks in advance for sage advice.

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  1. Well, drinks are righ up my alley!

    I was watching Rick Bayless yesterday and he prepared a Champagne Margarita. Mixed lime juice and triple sec and then added it to champagne instead of orange juice or chambord.... with a little salt around the rim, it looked refreshing and delicious.

    1. Brunch to me equals fancy breakfast, because I love breakfast. This is especially true when the guest of honor is not partial to meat.

      Fresh squeezed orange juice
      Mimosas

      Egg Strata
      cut fruit with raspberries [cause I love raspberries]
      fish [gravalax, smoke haddock and salmon, kippers]
      cheese plate [hard and soft]
      platter of really nice French baked goods [sweet and savory]
      steamed or roasted asparagus

      crepes [though for 12-15 you would need to make ahead]

      Without the "no meat", I might want to have a smoked ham or roast beef along with nice mustards.

      coffee
      teas
      roasted potatoes

      1. I -heart- brunch!!! I just did a post holiday brunch a few weeks ago for about 15-18 people and it was a huge hit. I'm not as gourmet/experimental as many Chow-types, but I was proud of our spread. I was originally thinking crepes, but when it came down to crunch time I thought it would be too much trouble... but that's just me. I personally like to let guests do as much of the work on their own as is reasonable--that way I am actually socializing and they feel like they're more involved/participating without getting stuck doing dishes at the end!

        We did:
        veggie, (leftover) ham & gruyere quiche (made piecrust a few days earlier, froze, then baked and made quiche the day before), reheated in oven day-of
        popovers (made batter hour or two ahead, then made hot batches while everyone was here)
        eggs benedict--let people toast their own English Muffins while BF made poached eggs to order, had hollandaise, ham, and avocado waiting (could do crab too--yum!)
        green salad w balsamic maple syrup vinaigrette
        fruit salad
        bloody mary & mimosa bar--BF likes to make his own blue cheese-stuffed olives for the Bloodies, and Pom is always a nice alternative/additive to the regular mimosas
        and, good coffee, of course

        thats it. nothing extravagant, but easy and nice enough to be "nice". good luck!!!

        1. A vegetable medley is always good...steamed soft. Like a mix of broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, squash, zucchini...you can choose what veggies you want to mix in.

          1. I love crepes! For savory crepes, here are some ideas:
            with fish/meat:
            -gravalax with creme fraiche and chives
            - prosciutto with gruyere and arugula
            - scrambled egg with chorizo or bacon
            For vegetarian:
            - goat cheese, anjou pear and honey walnut

            For starters,
            - a caprese salad: mozzarella with tomato and basil
            - crostini with white bean puree or eggplant or such.

            As for dessert, may be mini fruit tarts or mini strawberry shortcakes
            - or chocolant mousse sprinkled with fleur de sel
            - or you can even make cupcakes looking very elegant too!