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Food for the adults at kid's birthday party

So my daughter will be two at the end of October. My wife has already begun obsessing over themes, favors, guest list, etc of the birthday party. Me not so much... with one exception.. the food.

We live in Rhode Island so fall will be in full swing. The party will likely be at a Gymboree or similar facililty a twenty minute drive from our house. I am told they crank the AC. I am not sure if chafing dishses/sterno etc. will be possible. Probably somewhere around 40 adults.

Goals are delicious food that will hold up given the above conditions and be a cut above the typical pizza strips, cold cuts, pasta in red sauce options.

My thoughts so far. Some kind of dip with veggies, pita chips etc. A crostini with a peppered steak and horseradish cream. Some kind of chicken wings. Something vegetarian.

Thoughts, ideas suggestions?

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  1. what time is the party? we just did our two year olds birthday, food for the adults was a very nice brunch, while the kids had mac and cheese. a big success all around.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ddelicious

      It will start in the mid to late afternoon. Sometime around 3:00

      1. re: Frobisher

        so its not a meal time for the adults. or even the kids. totally agree people won't really have a chance to eat anyway. don't stress about the food, make sure there are enough drinks and stuff. never been to a gymboree where there is even a place for the adults to sit. these parties are not about the food.

    2. You menu sounds good so far. What about doing two or three types of dip with a giant platter of crackers, pita chips, and veggies? If you're having older kids, they may enjoy it as well. A bean based dip and a veggie based dip could both be served at room temp.

      For a vegetarian dish, I have a great millet and butternut squash casserole recipe. It's very fall-ish and it's vegan. I can post the recipe if you'd like.

      I know you mentioned no cold cuts, but what about mini sandwiches? You could do a variety- with meat and vegetarian. Grilled veggies and provolone, turkey and cucumber, steak with peppers and onion.... Can be served room temp and brought to the place in a cooler.

      1. while good food for adults sounds nice, the reality is that adults at a 2-year-old b-day party just don't get to eat. they are chasing the 2-year-olds. i have yet to eat at one of the parties that my son attends--not for lack of food, but for lack of ability to stop and eat. i'd stick with good pizza and a veggie platter. no one is going to get an opportunity to savor anything more sophisticated at all.

        6 Replies
        1. re: LizR

          I totally agree with you and have been there, done that, TWICE!! But that being said, a good hostess needs to have some food for the adults, regardless.

          Never even knew a Gymboree would let you bring in food, let alone catering equipment! If it's hot, and the party's at 3, I would stick with cool finger apps. Mini sandwiches are fine, but I doubt the parents are expecting you to feed them a lunch/dinner, anyway. Also, how long is the party? Two y.o.'s have very short attention spans and tolerances, and the timing may interfere with many nap schedules!! I would keep it to 1 1/2 hours, TOPS, and probably just serve cupcakes, and maybe some small sammies for the adults. PS - are there even going to be places for them to sit and use a fork to eat a salad?? Most gymborees I've seen & been to don't even have chairs!

          1. re: Phurstluv

            + 1 on the cupcakes, and maybe...maybe some sammiches.

            The total focus needs to be on your daughter....She'll be Two only once....Don't miss it!!

            Have Fun!!!

            1. re: Phurstluv

              I agree. NO ONE is expected you to provide food for the grownups besides whatever you're having for the kids, if that. At this age parents are supervision only, not guests! Don't sweat it!

              All the parties I've ever been at places like that just offer some standard pizza and juice option or something like that. Never seen home-brought food.

              1. re: DGresh

                Maybe its a regional a thing but food for the adults is common place at (the far too many) toddler birthday parties I have gone to.

                In any event, I don't feel a burden or an obligation to provide the food, I love to cook and entertain. I look foward to the planning and organization and most of all the actually cooking that goes along with holidays, birthdays etc.

                This place does not provide any food or drink for kids or adults. But they do provide a crucial element supervision and activities for the kids in the form of two paid "instructors", thereby allowing adults to converse and eat, at least a little.

                1. re: Frobisher

                  I know, most preschool parties we've been to always have food for the adults, b/c they stay with their kids, and socialize with the other parents and that's fine. But most of the time, it's at a home, not a gymboree type place.

                  Again, check with the place to make sure you are allowed to bring in food, drinks, equipment, etc. And I still stand by my rec to keep it simple, if you really want to "Entertain" these families with wonderful food, you may have to move the party to your home, or even a popular park, which they do a lot here in LA, and just cart in the salads, sandwiches, pizza, whatever. If you do it at a park, again, check with your local park dept to see if they have any restrictions, and know that the party won't end up being "private". But that's okay, I'm sure the 2 yo's won't mind a bit!!

            2. re: LizR

              i agree stick with simple things that can be eaten in one bite, since that's often all the time a parent has to grab before grabbing at the kidlet...
              bagel bites... i.e. mini bagel pizza
              stuffed dates - if you want to go that fancy
              stuffed mushrooms
              stuffed tomatoes
              mini quesadita bites - cut a standard size quesadilla into bite size portions
              devilled eggs
              ...hope that helps... happy birthday!

            3. A nice roasted vegetable salad with roasted chicken would be great. Make ahead and serve at room temp. a dip with pita chips sounds great. Keep it simple and easy to eat. I agree you may not have a lot of people eating if they are busy watching their kids.

              1. hummus, pita bread/chips
                spanakopita
                chicken or lamb meatballs w/ tzatziki
                fruit