Party Foods – Ep. 94

After bearing the heavy burden of throwing a party for my dear wife’s 40th birthday, I

determined the major upsides to the obligation:

(1) I could stockpile our house with all sorts of junk food in the name of marital affection, so long as I focused on her favorite foods;

(2) I could be extravagant in food choices and volume – because who wants to throw a lame party?

(3) I could document the affair for the education and enjoyment of the Hungry Dads audience.

The party menu, as designed by a Hungry Dad:

 

 

There was a surprise party at a yogurt shop…all you could eat yogurt/candy.  I was a hero to all.

 

 

Then a party at our house, with the following:

 

Utz/Herrs Party Mix – It’s not a party without Party Mix.  And this party mix are post-party remnants, with a surprisingly high ratio of Cheetos/cheese crunches.  In this episode, we posit a hypothesis on why the pretzels were plucked out at a higher rate (the “hypothesis” is beer).

 

 

 

Pretzel Bites – A surprise hit with guests.  Highly recommended. Simple but not the kind of party food you see every day.

 

 

 

The Big Sandwich – I am a huge fan of the big sandwich.  It’s a party staple and leftovers are surprisingly versatile.  Just remember to deconstruct any portion of the leftover sandwich that you won’t eat in a few days.  Leftover big sandwich sans lettuce/tomato can keep longer without getting gross – even in the freezer for a future hot sandwich.  Leftover lettuce tomato can serve as a salad in the days after the party (if you are a salad kinda person…we don’t judge).

 

 

 

French Fries – Fries are a crowd pleaser, but beware of having them delivered/brought in. By the time they are packed and travel, the crispy fry-job is lost and they taste more steamed.  Tasty enough. But a bit of a disappointment.

 

 

 

Coffeecake – you may say, “wait…coffeecake at a party…this isn’t an after-church morning mixer…” Well, let me tell you, at this party – coffeecake, served alongside beer and boxed wine, was a hit.   Coffee cake took the place of a proper cake or cupcakes – and nobody complained.

 

 

 

Pizza – Uninspired perhaps. Every party, from a college frat rave to a 4 year old birthday is going to have pizza. And it should.  The good thing about pizza is its ubiquitous appeal, and the fact that if it runs low, you can have more on hand in 30 minutes or less.

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies – Cookies are a simple crowd pleaser to help diversify your sweet offerings. Not everyone is into cake.

 

 

 

 

Chicken Wings – A crowd pleaser of the highest order. The challenges is whether to get BBQ or Buffalo. My solution – get both. Problem solved.

 

 

 

Herrs Nacho Cheese Dip/ Mild Cheddar Cheese Dip – An essential accessory to the pretzel bites (see above).

 

 

 

 

Giant Reeses Peanut Butter Cups – Despite some controversy on its peanut butter to chocolate ratios, this serves as an amazing alternative to a cheese plate. Put this thing on a cheese plate with a knife and watch your guests gleefully hack off chunks of this bad boy.

 

 

 

Giant Reesess with Giant Twizzlers and a hand for scale – Giant candy is fun.

 

 

 

 

Mini Sugar Cookies – Like Chocolate Chip cookies (above) a simple crowd pleaser to help diversify your sweet offerings. Not everyone is into cake, or chocolate chip cookies.

 

 

 

La Croix Seltzer – People love seltzer – especially La Croix. What’s the deal? Don’t believe us? Check out our Seltzer Episode.

 

 

 

Utz Pretzel Rods – A solid offering for any party. Dip it in any cheeses, chocolates, marshmallow fluffs or mustards in sight.   And you can pretend it’s a cigar and you are a wall street fatcat!

 

 

 

Target Market Pantry Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels – Peanut butter filled pretzels should be a no-brainer.  And sure, these are okay, but the result is subpar when compared to expectations. Surprisingly, it’s the pretzel that overperforms here – crispy and mostly consisting of the salty outer shell.  But inside, the peanut butter is a dried out nugget of crusty peanut butter. Not a hint of creaminess or smoothness to it.

 

 


Random Candy – this represents only a portion of my spoils, a result of perhaps the finest food scam ever to be perpetrated.  The invitation read, “No Presents Please.” So polite right? But lets be real. People hate coming empty handed.  We’d likely end up with 25 bottles of red wine in surrogate, “non-presents.” To appease the giving instincts of party guests, they were invited to bring a small amount of the birthday girl’s favorite candy – it then listed off all of her favorites (and some of my own).  To each individual, “a little candy,” was still a good amount.  All together, we yielded a kings ransom in sour gummies, choco/peanut butter foodstuffs, fruit chews, and licorice.


S’mores Station – A fun, mildly kitchy element to the party, offering the primary constituents of the s’more and some more unorthodox options.  We offered many ways to make your s’more – microwave, over a gas-stove flame or simply by spreading it on without any heating element at all.

Reese’s Spread – Purchased as an accessory to the “s’mores station” at a 40th birthday party for those who wanted to craft a s’more without a heating element.  Reese’s spread delivers almost exactly what you would hope – a semi-liquid (plasma?) version of your favorite peanut butter cup.  An overall creamy texture with an undercurrent of fine, granular, crunchiness, which is seemingly peanut butter particles.  To be clear, these particles are not off-putting like sand. They melt in your mouth deliciously.  But it is worth remarking that the overall experience does not evoke Reeses Cups or Reese’s Pieces. Instead, interestingly, it evokes Butterfinger, based on the crunch and flavor of the aforementioned peanut butter particulate.

Hershey’s Spread –Delicious and chocolaty. Like milk chocolate delicious. It’s not “rich” chocolate – which to me is code for bitter.  This stuff is the liquid version of a Hershey bar.  And it’s not pretending to be healthy like Nutella.    (Purchased as an accessory to the “s’mores station” at a 40th birthday party for those who wanted to craft a s’more without a heating element.)


Marshmallow Fluff – Yep. Its liquidy, plasma-like marshmallow.  It delivers exactly what you want. With fluff, its kinda neat that you get just the “inside” of the marshmallow.  None of that dry exterior soaking up your saliva before you get to the sticky center – it’s all sticky center!  Also, a fantastic phenomenon of the marshmallow fluff is that after you’ve pilfered some with, lets say, a spoon – within a few seconds, the top evens out, eliminating any evidence. It becomes smooth as paper.  Imagine how much time you spend trying to conceal your spoon marks in peanut butter or ice cream. No such issue here.  (Purchased as an accessory to the “s’mores station” at a 40th birthday party for those who wanted to craft a s’more without a heating element.)

 


Flipz Chocolate Covered Pretzels – The mix of salty and sweet in the chocolate covered pretzel is a crowd pleaser and I’m not sure anyone does it better than Flipz. There may be some “Ye Olde Chocolate Shop” on the boardwalk somewhere who supposedly does it better.  Strip away the charm and nostalgia, and I’ll bet these mass-manufactured versions are better.  Scientifically ideal ratios of chocolate, salt, and pretzel. God bless the mass-food production industrial machine.

 


Kenny’s Krumbs – “The best part of the crumb cake,” they claim.  A bold claim to which Kenny does not deliver.  Kenny provides a suitable and tasty cinnamon/brown sugar cookie-style offering.  But this does not, frankly, compare to the crumbly top part of a crumb cake.  A great idea worthy of Seinfeld’s “Top O’ the Muffin,” but not evocative of the crumb cake top.

 

 


Kettle Corn – A party favorite. Nuff’ said.

 

 

 

 

A jar of candy – this also represents only a portion of my spoils, a result of perhaps the finest food scam ever to be perpetrated.  The invitation read, “No Presents Please.” So polite right? But lets be real. People hate coming empty handed.  We’d likely end up with 25 bottles of red wine in surrogate, “non-presents.” To appease the giving instincts of party guests, they were invited to bring a small amount of the birthday girl’s favorite candy – it then listed off all of her favorites (and some of my own).  To each individual, “a little candy,” was still a good amount.  All together, we yielded a kings ransom in sour gummies, choco/peanut butter foodstuffs, fruit chews, and licorice.

 

An etsy-style, “candy-cake” with candies formed atop Styrofoam in a cake shape – an extremely thoughtful gift from a party guest which also represents only a portion of my spoils, a result of perhaps the finest food scam ever to be perpetrated.  The invitation read, “No Presents Please.” So polite right? But let’s be real. People hate coming empty handed.  We’d likely end up with 25 bottles of red wine in surrogate, “non-presents.” To appease the giving instincts of party guests, they were invited to bring a small amount of the birthday girl’s favorite candy – it then listed off all of her favorites (and some of my own).  To each individual, “a little candy,” was still a good amount.  All together, we yielded a kings ransom in sour gummies, choco/peanut butter foodstuffs, fruit chews, and licorice.

 

More chicken wings – see above.

 

 

 

 

Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter – I like porters, often, because they can meld in flavors that I would otherwise call a snack – chocolate, s’mores, and here vanilla.  While I sort of dream that it will be a milkshake in a bottle, I honestly am always pleased when I get a tasty beer with a twinge of the sweet taste offered on the label. Here, Breckenridge Brewery gives us a pretty nice porter with a smattering of vanilla. Myself, not a beer enthusiast, would have welcomed some more vanilla here.  Nonetheless, this was a tasty one.

 

 

Not Your Mom’s Apple Pie/Strawberry Rhubarb – So these aren’t beer (I don’t think) or wine coolers – but they are alcoholic and the offshoot (I think) of the popular “Not your Father’s” brand of alcoholic root beer.  Whether or not these are a sweet beer, a wine cooler, or something else entirely, these are the bottled equivalent of a drink with a flower in it. Utterly un-masculine and utterly delicious. I could drink these all day.  That said, if you feel a little effeminate drinking it, feel free to ogle the shapely and attractive “mom” on the front of the label offering you her pie.  Norman Rockwell-meets-pinup girl. Definitely not your mom.

 

Pendulum Pilsner – An Edgar Allen Poe themed beer in honor of my wife’s Baltimore roots.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Baby Jesus! Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter – As noted before, I like porters, often, because they can meld in flavors that I would otherwise call a snack – chocolate, s’mores, vanilla.  But is there any chance they can meld chocolate/peanut butter with beer and not make it terrible?  Yes. Yes they can. And they did. This thing is tasty, tasty, tasty.  It’s not some sugar laden faux beer. Nope. Its porter and its surprisingly not sweet.  It takes chocolate, which is by its nature bitter, and peanuts, which are not naturally sweet, and put them in the porter, and…and… it works. That’s all I can say.  It evokes the peanut butter part of my brain and keeps up as a tasty porter.

 

FOOD  – Plan to feed fifty people.  Have it served/delivered waves:

  • 6pm – snacks, chips, crackers, soft pretzels, sushi, drinks
  • 645pm – sliders, fries
  • 715pm pizza, wings
  • 9:15PM: Dessert
  • Soft Pretzels (from the store, in our oven): 24 soft pretzels, mustard, cheese dip
  • Sushi Party Tray 1 (8 rolls): 2 Spicy Tuna, 2 California, 2 Salmon Avocado, 2 Shrimp Tempura
  • Sushi Party Tray 2 (16 sushi, 3 rolls): 16 pcs. Assort. sushi, 1 Dragon roll, 1 Rainbow roll, 1 Cali
  • 48 sliders (four trays) – assorted 8 Beef, 16 cheeseburger, 8 Pulled Chicken, 6 Pulled Pork, 6 Chicken, 4 Veggie
  • 3-4 catering orders of fries
  • 2 catering orders of sweet potato fries
  • 1 catering order of onion rings
  • 32 slices of pizza (four pizzas 2 plain, one meat, half veggie, half mushroom)
  • 2 Full trays of wings (serves 14-18 each tray) – one hot, one BBQ3-foot sandwich (ham, turkey, cheddar)
  • Snacks/Dessert – Pretzels, Flavored Popcorn, Chips, Kenny’s Crumbs, Giant Reeses, S’mores Station, Coffeecake, cookies

DRINK

  • Wine – 25 bottles: enough for 25 wine drinkers (1 bottle/4 drinks per wine drinker)
  • (get 60%-70% white, 15% red, 15% rose – 17 white, 4 red, 4 rose)
  • Beer – 25 six packs: enough for 25 beer drinkers (4-6 beers per beer drinker)
  • Soda/seltzer – La Croix Seltzer – 36 cans, Coke – 12 cans / Diet Coke – 12 cans, Boylan’s diet crème soda / Boylan’s diet black cherry soda