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What can I buy and bring to a potluck brunch?

phillr Mar 28, 2013 07:41 AM

I'm looking to go to a store (e.g. Whole Foods), and pickup some sort of food item (e.g. a big quiche) that can be shared at a potluck over this upcoming Easter weekend.

Any ideas? At a relative's house in Leslieville. Anywhere near there would be great, otherwise i'm completely open to hoofing it somewhere.

- non-dessert (other people got that covered)
- delicious!
- multiple portions
- preferably something 'interesting' (e.g. a quiche), not something like a sandwich platter :). Doesn't necessarily need to be brunch-specific, like maybe a giant slab of porchetta would be fun.

Thank you!

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  1. TorontoJo RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 07:42 AM

    Quiches from Rahier are wonderful.

    1. MissBingBing RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 08:01 AM

      Chinese food is always cheap.

      1. b
        birch RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 08:22 AM

        Not close to Leslieville, but we have enjoyed the porchetta from Vicentina. You can go in and have them chop off a slab or pre-order. Always a fan favourite.


        1. midtowngirl RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 08:35 AM

          Right on Queen in Leslieville is The Canadian Pie Company. They do quiches and savoury pies which you can pre-order online.

          Other ideas in Leslieville:
          - a cheese or charcuterie platter from Leslieville Cheese Market
          - Hooked has various prepared hors d'oeurves - potted prawns, smoked trout rilettes, smoked fish, crab dip, etc. - you could call them and see if they could put together a platter
          - Leslieville Pumps will do catering orders so you could give them a call for something like pulled pork or brisket for your potluck

          1. c
            Cat123 RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 09:31 AM

            I like to bring platters of mini arepas and/or empanadas from Arepa on Queen Street near Bathurst. You need to pre-order but they are very accommodating and everything comes on a platter with their special sauces. You can get multiple flavours and they are always well received and unique.

            1. l
              LemonLauren RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 09:35 AM

              There's a new Rowe farms on Queen East near the Leslieville Cheese Market. You could grab dips and chips and veg from them, and olives, charcute and cheese from LCM, and smoked fish from Hooked.

              Then cry, because all your money will be gone.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LemonLauren
                JennaBean RE: LemonLauren Mar 28, 2013 12:34 PM

                You have to call them a day before BUT the crab dip from Leslieville Cheese Market is great!!

              2. kwass RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 11:06 AM

                The Wheat Berry Salad from Pusateri's. You'll find it @ the hot counter (although it's a cold salad). OMG is it good!!

                1. pinehurst RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 11:07 AM


                  1. prima RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 12:47 PM

                    Kristapson's smoked salmon, cream cheese and Bagel House (or your preferred bakery) bagels with capers and red onion.

                    Or Akiwenzie smoked fish with various breads.

                    If you want one stop shopping, Chapman's has good quality smoked fish, and nice spreads. Cumbrae's also has a selection of neat pates and terrines. I'm guessing Summerhill Market would be another one-stop shop to check.

                    Whole Foods has a lot of types of smoked salmon, but I've never purchased any there. I haven't been that impressed by the food from the deli counters at Pusateri's or Whole Foods.

                    +1 for the empanada suggestion.

                    1. meatnveg RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 01:55 PM

                      How about a 'Make your own Sandwich' set up:
                      - Shaved Roast Beef
                      - Smoked Salmon or Trout

                      Only need some baguettes, horseradish, mustard, capers and onions.

                      1. meatnveg RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 01:56 PM

                        also, SUSHI!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: meatnveg
                          kwass RE: meatnveg Mar 28, 2013 02:01 PM

                          Sushi is a great idea!!

                        2. prima RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 02:03 PM

                          Maybe a bucket of fried chicken would also work. Maybe some of the better places recommended on the fried chicken thread (White Brick, Stockyards, Rose & Sons) would do take-out on Sun if they're open. I'm guessing most of trendy restaurants will be closed Easter Sunday, to give their staff a break.

                          I'd be more into fried chicken than take-out sushi on Easter morning.

                          I'd guess most sushi restaurants are not open Easter Sunday morning (could be wrong). I wouldn't recommend made-the-day-before, refrigerated sushi for a brunch.

                          Most Chinese restaurants and Greek restaurants will be open, probably by 11:30 am.

                          So you could show up with Greek dips, souvlaki, egg rolls and bbq pork bao, no problem!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: prima
                            kwass RE: prima Mar 28, 2013 02:08 PM

                            That's a really great idea prima! I never would have thought of that.

                          2. a
                            asagiri RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 02:06 PM

                            How about some soup? Vichyssoise (leek and potato soup) garnished with some smoked haddock and chives would be nice.

                            1. kwass RE: phillr Mar 28, 2013 08:24 PM

                              Why don't you pick up a lasagna from Bologna Pastificio on Dufferin? You can cook it @ home and your friend just has to warm it up.

                              1. j
                                julesrules RE: phillr Mar 30, 2013 06:54 PM

                                A bit late I know but my fall-back potluck item is spanakopita cigars from Akropolis on Danforth east of Pape. The plain cheese ones are good too especially for picky kids. I order ahead to make sure the quantity I want is available. Always a hit.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: julesrules
                                  Full tummy RE: julesrules Mar 30, 2013 09:01 PM

                                  How would you say their spanakopita compares to Athens Bakery, which is what I always get - or samosas from Sultan of Samosas!

                                  1. re: Full tummy
                                    prima RE: Full tummy Mar 30, 2013 09:12 PM

                                    Akropolis sells personal size spiral spanakopita and tiropita, which I think are better for buffets/cocktail parties than small pieces of a slab of an Athens' spanakopita. I'd be tempted to brush Akropolis' pies with melted butter before baking (if you buy the ones that need to be baked), to take them up a notch. I'm not crazy about the fillings at Athens, and I wish they'd brush their filo with more butter. I think both Athens and Akropolis' spanakopita are ok for commercial bakery, but their fillings don't compare to a good restaurant or home-made version. I haven't found a good restaurant version in a few years.

                                    1. re: prima
                                      Full tummy RE: prima Mar 30, 2013 09:32 PM

                                      Thanks! I have made spanakopita at home a couple of times, and I agree with your assessment. I find the spanakopita dry and lacking in flavour compared to what I have made, but making spanakopita is relatively labour-intensive, so sometimes take out is the best I can do if I'm heading out to visit with friends. On the other hand, I don't doubt that the samosas at Sultan of Samosas are better than what I would make at home, but I have never tried making samosas. That just seems like too much hard work!

                                      1. re: prima
                                        julesrules RE: prima Mar 31, 2013 05:10 AM

                                        Does Athens do the mini cigars? In any case, I am a fan of Akropolis but not least because I live nearby. The frozen unbaked are also a good product to keep on hand - I'll try the butter trick sometime!
                                        I just discovered a delicious (Turkish?) spinach pastry variation at the olive store by Donlands. They are denser with less pastry, more filling, spicy and rich from olive oil. Reheated at home brings back some flakiness to the pastry. Soooo good... although I never met a spinach savoury I didn't like, I *love* this one. Get it now because rumour has it the odd little store's space will be taken over by The Only.

                                        1. re: julesrules
                                          prima RE: julesrules Mar 31, 2013 06:10 AM

                                          I haven't seen any mini cigars at Athens.
                                          I'll have to try the pastry you found near Donlands. My complaint with most Greek bakery versions is that there isn't enough filling, and there's usually too much filo, which can be dry if it hasn't been brushed with enough oil or butter. I also prefer a filling that's got dill and endive added, but this seems to be a regional variation that isn't done by the bakeries in TO.

                                          I like the Bosnian spinach burek I buy at Hot Oven in London ON's Covent Garden Market better than most bakery spanakopita I find in TO- better pastry and better filling. Does anyone have a rec for mini spinach bureks in Toronto?

                                          Aroma Espresso sells a nice cheese boureka with very buttery puff pastry and sesame seeds, that I also like.

                                          1. re: prima
                                            julesrules RE: prima Mar 31, 2013 10:19 AM

                                            Prima I think you would really like the Turkish olive store pastry. It's definitely not dry. The spicing is different from any other that I've had but in a very tasty way.

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