Yummy Kosher & To-Go in LA? please help!
I volunteered to bring snacks/food for a get-together (I figured I could cook) and then found out that the snacks need to be kosher (cooked in a kosher kitchen) and vegetarian. Double whammy! They said snacks, but I would love to bring something a little more substantial than chips but not as substantial as dinner entree. I live in Pasadena, but the event is in west hollywood and i'm flexible about picking up anything in between, as long it is tasty.
I am at a loss! If anyone has suggestions I would REALLY appreciate it!
Costco is the cheapest kosher option if the group is large:
Go to Costco and get a large bag of tortilla chips (the restaurant kind,) some salsa (Kirkland brand is kosher although my family doesn't like it and Costco sells another kosher brand in the refrigerator section,) some Wholly Guacamole, some cookies (oatmeal? in the section with the crackers) and some muffins or similar (in the bakery section,) and if you want to splurge a little, peanut butter stuffed pretzels and a jar of Jelly Bellies. Then get a bag of chocolate chips (Giradelli) and almonds (I believe it has OU) and throw them into a bowl together. A box or two of grapes. Done.
If you need to impress the crowd they often also have a kosher brand of pre-sliced cheesecakes or pies and sometimes they have baklava and croissants. Our Costco also sells kosher sliced cheese platters and a few brands of kosher spreadable cheeses. (Tnuva and I think that Boursin is also kosher.)
Target is also a good place to get inexpensive but interesting kosher nosh. I was just there this morning and I saw kosher cheese balls (like Cheese Doodles) and they also sell all sorts of kosher nuts, crackers, interesting candies and trail mix type snacks. (Careful with that - not all of it is kosher!)
Smart N Final often sells kosher Sara Lee frosted sheet cakes. Can't be beat for price unless you have an Entenmann's/Oroweat Thrift store in your area and you can get cakes for a very good price. Be careful with the hashgacha symbols there - not everything is kosher.
If you are going to buy foods that are going to be prepared, you have to make sure that it is strictly kosher. I have started buying fruit platters at the Original Farmers Market on third. There is a fruit stand that makes beautiful platters for 35 for a small and 45 for a large platter. All their platters are kosher, but if your people are very strict they will make it without berries, as some orthodox will not eat them. I have used them several times, and had it at our temple. They are really filled with a lot of fruit. Additonally, they will make you a vegetable platter too.
I think I would pop into Cambridge Farms in North Hollywood and buy something packaged or prepared at their counter. Their take-out counter is RCC (Rabbinical Council of California) certified. You may want to make sure what you buy is pareve (non-meat and non-dairy) and does not need to be heated. You may want to ask the person/people who keep kosher for suggestions and to ask them to help you serve it to avoid any problems (they also may request you bring disposable plates and utensils). Perhaps you could bring a selection of middle eastern appetizers or even vegetarian sushi - both are available at Cambridge Farms.