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study snacks for a crowd

Hi Hounds,
What suggestions might you have for a source of study break snacks for a very large crowd (a few hundred) of college-age students, preferably delivered, in Cambridge environs? They've done pizza (too messy in the library), burritos (which I guess went well but no one is raving), cupcakes (a hit, but just done last semester), and don't want to fall back on plain ol' cookies since there are a lot of those around this time of year. Cost is not a major issue, but we don't have bottomless pockets.

Donuts come to mind, although I don't know if Verna's can hit that volume. We'll call them. Italian pastries from . . . ? Any other brilliant ideas?


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  1. Did you try Union Sq donuts?

    Flour for sandwiches and pastries. KO pies for meat pies, sausage rolls, and vegetarian pies. I guess ice cream from Toscaninis would be too messy?

    4 Replies
    1. re: viperlush

      These and the brownies are super helpful, thank you. Ice cream, alas, in the library is a no-go, but it would certainly be popular!

      1. re: Splendid Spatula

        For some local Top Chef love, you could check with Stephanie Cmar's Stacked Donuts to see if she could fill an order that large.

        A variety of bagels (Rosenfeld's in Newton or even Bagelsaurus out of Cutty's in Brookline) with flavored cream cheese could be fun. Or see if you can get a bunch of Cutty's delicious sandwiches cut in quarters.

        1. re: bear

          I've seen Cutty's sandwiches done and it was quite successful!

      2. Brownies from Tatte? They're really rich and you can ask them to cut them into smaller strips.

        1. What about falafel or empanadas? More of a general idea than a specific source though.

          1. I'll bite.

            Dunkin is the only place that might be able to fill an order of 200 donuts but if pizza is "too messy" I'm sure jelly donuts and cream filled, flakey Italian pastries would be a disaster.

            Check out the catering options at Whole Foods. They deliver and I'm pretty sure they are willing to customize.

            1. Cookies from Lakota Bakery although I'm not sure about delivery. They are the opposite of "plain ol' cookies".

              1 Reply
              1. Maybe Taco Party could cater a taco bar for you, they do catering. Or one of the other food trucks?


                1. I'm thinking samosas and pakoras. There are meat and veggie samosas. They are handheld and not too flaky/messy.

                  The Middle East does big trays with falafel, lettuce and tomato, and others with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, etc. Kids can make their own sandwiches with pita bread.

                  (They donate these to all kinds of non-profit events, so they are are kind of ubiquitous at those.)

                  The falafel's a bit dry. The chicken is not great, but okay.

                  1. Dumplings? One of the two dumpling restaurants in Central Sq might give it a go. Cronuts from somewhere?
                    Cheese and crackers from somewhere (Formaggio if you've got the scratch)?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: justbeingpolite

                      Yes, I'd also thought about dumplings, and samosas is another great idea. Gosh, wouldn't a taco truck be awesome?

                      1. re: Splendid Spatula

                        I don't know if Mei Mei would still do this now that they have the on the ground restaurant. But they did an appearance as part of a Cambridge Center for Adult Education fundraiser--people could just step out and order from a choice of few things--and it was fabulous.

                      2. re: justbeingpolite

                        I often get dumplings from Wangs in Somerville for a group of students -- always a huge hit!

                      3. If they're studying, I would think protein would be more important than sugar laden snacks. Someone mentioned Whole Foods. How about different types of roll up sandwiches cut in half with a few cookie platters?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: catsmeow

                          I completely agree here. Sugar sugar sugar everywhere when it just does not help your brain, much less other systems. I think dumplings would be a huge hit, and you have a new location of Dumpling House right near The Yard end of Harvard. There are veg, seafood, and meat dumplings, and you could add in some appealing green vegs like crunchy green beans or szechuan cucumber coins..... The dumplings are even a hit when they're room temp. And I also think dumplings would be more unique for the students (who are prob sick of falafel, hoomus, etc.)
                          After dumplings, i'd prob suggest Samosas (meat and veg), Pakoras, little meat Skewers and Chaat-- which can be a make-your-own (veg) station> Tanjore on Eliiot St. could do all those for you.

                          Thirdly, Empanadas (turnovers) are another more unique experience. Tango in Arlington Ctr does wonderful beef empanadas, and other fillings as well.
                          Best of luck!

                        2. What exact day, time and location were you planning? …so I can help determine what’s open… yeah… for research. ;)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: enhF94

                            heh heh

                            This is actually a late night delivery, by a dean, to a library. It's kind of a fun surprise.

                            1. re: Splendid Spatula

                              What a nice gesture! I wish more deans thought of things like this.

                          2. How about skewers (really good at Miracle of Science, or the lamb ones at Golden Garden in Belmont are amazing) or kabobs (maybe from Greek Corner in Cambridge or Sultan's Kitchen or Falafel King downtown? And / Or spanokopita as a vegetarian option?

                            1. Empanadas from Tango in Arlington? Don't know if they deliver, but they make delicious Argentinian empanadas. The beef ones are my favorite.

                              1. Belgian waffles from Zinnekin's on Mass Ave?

                                1. Pastries from Lyndell's in Somerville?


                                  Rent an ice cream truck to park outside the library?



                                  Individual pies might not be too messy but could get pricey!


                                  1. Mini cheesecakes would be awesome. http://7ate9bakery.com/7ate9-mini-che... has really tasty cheesecakes and they used to do delivery. They don't anymore, but for that quantity, they might? Worth asking.

                                    1. According to Slim, Mike's Pastry is opening a second location in Harvard Sq. (11 Dunster St.) in May, but I couldn't find an exact date.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. Try www.taskrabbit.com. I'll bet lots of people would be willing to prep and deliver a snack of fruit, sliced cheese, and crackers, or something else that can be done without needing a professional/institutional kitchen.

                                        1. Thanks everyone, these are some great suggestions. I appreciate it!