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Aug 7, 2011 01:47 PM

Out of Town Potluck

We are coming into Boston (the night prior) and then on to the Auburn area for a wedding in 2 weeks.

The (Friday) night before the wedding there's a potluck. The vast majority of us are coming from out of town so I know there will be a lot of deli food.
My son is best man at this wedding so the groom is quite dear to me. I'd like to contribute something special to this potluck, but obviously won't be able to cook it myself.

Any ideas for something really tasty, that will travel (i.e. from Boston to Auburn) and can be served at room temperature.

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  1. food for how many? what's your price point? do you not want deli kinda foods? you can get wonderful charcuterie, paté, cheeses and garnishes at formaggio kitchen in the south end, which transport beautifully.

    1. Will you have a cooler? How many people to serve, and what do you want to spend? Salad, side, or main? I'm wondering about pre ordering and then picking up some mini lobster rolls, but that would depend on the cooler situation and how many people to serve and the outside temp. two weeks could be killer hot or less so.

      Anything special your son and the groom have enjoyed together? A New England theme of prepared products and cheese might work.....local potato chips, chutneys, etc.

      18 Replies
      1. re: Madrid

        and places like legal seafoods or summer shack can hook you up from their catering divisions.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          I have no idea how many people will be attending the potluck but there are 150 expected at the wedding and all are invited!

          Needless to say, I'm not feeding everyone.
          My thought is that I'd bring an average "potluck" amount i.e. serving 15- 20 people. Does that seem about right?

          We'll be flying in from California so don't have a cooler. I hesitate to ask anyone else local as they'll be knee deep in preperations. This is a very "hands on" affair (the wedding and before and after events).

          My son cooked his way thru college in a very upscale restaurant and has been blogging his way across the country.

          He's a true chowhound in his own right, albeit a very poor one.
          BBQ is his specialty.

          1. re: Oakland Barb

            I am not sure I totally understand your schedule but hope this helps. On Fridays there's a great farmers market in Copley Square, right in the heart of Boston. The vendors have all kinds of things that would be welcome at a potluck. Some you could do yourself quite easily- a classic delicious tomato based salad with fresh basil and mozzarella - but there are also many prepared items, including pies, pastries and bread. Some things might need to be kept chilled, but you could always get a cheap, soft sided cooler if you need to. We have been to similar weddings and they can be the best. Pot luck is really the way to go.

            1. re: mvi

              The Farmers' market is a great idea. There is a CVS store right across the street from the Farmers market where you could buy a cooler.

              Seta's Mediterranean could supply you with chow-worthy Middle Eastern salads and dips.

              How about Dessert? Cook's Farm Orchard makes great pies , sweet bread and cookies.

              Or how about a nice supply of fresh fruit. I know I always love to find something that fits into that category on a pot luck table. There are fresh peaches in season. If the saturn peaches are still here when you arrive that would be a fantastic item.


              1. re: BostonZest

                Thanks so much!

                And I'm sorry to have been vague about the timing.
                We arrive Thursday night, potluck Friday night, wedding Saturday late afternoon.

                The Farmer's Market Sounds like a great idea! As I understand it the Four Seasons (where we stay Thursday night) is close to Copley Square.

                Any other thoughts as to who is a good purveror at the market is appreicated.

                And we'll pick up a cheap and cheerful cooler.

                Four Seasons Restaurant
                249 Lake Ave, Worcester, MA 01604

                1. re: Oakland Barb

                  All of the people at Copley are good. You can see it.

                  1. re: lergnom

                    The farmer's market is a great call. If you should want something else I recommend you stop at Esperia in Brighton and pick up excellent tsatziki and taramsalata and pita. Similar stop would be Watertown to Arax for lots of wonderful armenian stuff like hummus, tabooleh, olives, etc. Both are easy to reach by car (Esperia is about 5 minutes from an entrance to the Mass Pike).

                  2. re: Oakland Barb

                    Yes, your hotel is about 4 or 5 blocks away from the market, right down the street. (Love that hotel, by the way.)

                    You weren't vague- I got it!

                    Yes, the CVS is right across the street. Great idea for the cooler, if you end up needing one.

                    All of the people at the market are great and it's not too big, so you can take it all in easily. I might recommend going around once, getting ideas, and then going back for your final purchases. You won't find anything fresher. And there are many prepared treats of all sorts. Just be sure to bring a generous shopping bag or two with you. I use my canvas beach bags a lot. You can pop a couple into your suit case as they hardly take up any room.Have fun! Let us know what you decide to do.

                    1. re: Oakland Barb

                      It's half a mile west down Boyslton Street.

                      1. re: Oakland Barb

                        I bet if you had a soft-sided insulated bag, you could pack it empty and flat in your suitcase.

                        Here is another idea -- there is a Legal Seafood in Framingham, right off the Mass Pike (I-90). Probably more than halfway to Auburn. Maybe there is something there you could pick up? If you have a way to heat it, how about a couple of gallons of chowder?

                    2. re: mvi

                      One more suggestion. You could order a nice cheese and salumi selection from Bocco's on St. James Street, right around the corner from the Four Season's.


                      1. re: BostonZest

                        Wonderful ideas!

                        Thanks so much everyone.

                        I'll post back after the event.

                        We get so little that's really good that's Middle Eastern in the Bay Area, imo.

                        I'm excited about adding to the party in a chow-worthy way!

                        1. re: Oakland Barb

                          Sevan is really delicious armenian food. They put together beautiful party platters if you call them ahead of time. You could first call in an order, go to Copley Market, then on your way out of town, swing by Sevan to pick up the platter. This way you will have a nice mix of goods for the potluck.


                          1. re: beetlebug

                            This does bring to mind the question of where we should eat on Thursday night.
                            Prefer walking distance.
                            My son is coming into the City to join us and it would be nice to have something not so widely available in the SF Bay Area, but more typically New England.
                            I love a good lobster roll!

                            1. re: Oakland Barb

                              Neptune Oyster in the North End has the best lobster roll, I've ever tasted. And, for a real New England Seafood atmosphere with good food you could go a few stops by subway to Kenmore and try Island Creek Oyster Bar.

                              Island Creek takes reservations. Neptune doesn't and there is usually a wait of 20 minutes to up to an hour.

                              Neptune Oyster
                              63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

                              Island Creek Oyster Bar
                              500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                              1. re: Oakland Barb

                                Island Creek Oyster Bar is a 20 minute walk from Copley, and they take reservations. It's a little more refined than the New England food from which it takes its inspiration, but there aren't any clam shack in Boston!

                                Island Creek Oyster Bar
                                500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                                1. re: Oakland Barb

                                  Dinner near Four Seasons? Bistro Du Midi or Via Matta, IMHO
                                  Just my two cents.

                                  Via Matta
                                  79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

                                  Four Seasons Restaurant
                                  249 Lake Ave, Worcester, MA 01604

                                2. re: beetlebug

                                  Sevan has delicious homemade breads - I have ogled their soft, braided bread - looks delish. Right nearby (almost next door) at Arax, as mentioned, there are many delicious things, too - their olives are fantastic, and many have mentioned the feta cheese dip- I haven't tried it so maybe someone else can chime in about it (including what it's called, of course!).

                    3. This is probably too complicated and too messy than you want to deal with on what will probably already be a hectic weekend, but it is at least possible.

                      Market Basket supermarkets have lobsters this week (and likely next week as well) for $4-5/lb, and they'll cook them for free. Since they're soft-shells, you'll only need a good pair of scissors to get the meat out. You could buy a bunch of lobsters, some mayo, and some salt and pepper and make lobster salad. If you want, you could add some crackers or bread to eat it on.

                      1. Two suggestions:
                        One is to stay on the Pike one more exit to Sturbridge and get BBQ from BT's Smokehouse, one of the best in the state. Ribs, pork,brisket and grits are all top notch. Avoid beans, been undercooked each time I've had em.
                        The other is a middle eastern mezza platter from El Basha in Worster or Westboro. I'm sure they'll accomodate a large size, and very tasty.
                        Either is close enough to arrive hot or cold.
                        El Basha

                        BT's Smokehouse
                        392 Main St, Sturbridge, MA 01566

                        1. i like the legals chowder at the furthest stop out idea. (legals get a bit of smackdown here but its good and hey they serve it at the white house).

                          you could also call Alive and Kicking in Cambridge and ask them to make a few lbs of lobster salad, buy a bag of ice and some mini hot dog rolls yrself (there is a Whole Foods at the corner and a Trader Joes another block away) and assemble them when you get to the party so they dont sog out on the way. Alive and Kickin is just off Memorial Drive (and Storrow for that matter) and 2 minutes from Rt 90 West.

                          Boston Cream Pie from Petsi Pies
                          Pie or other treats from Flour
                          BBQ takeout from Blue Ribbon in Newton (off Pike)

                          Petsi Pies
                          31 Putnam Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139