Not sure what you want to bring to the office holiday party, or not confident in your cooking skills? Not to worry, there are a slew of restaurants, delis and markets that can provide everything from mini-sausage sandwiches to a Mexican lasagna.
Chances are if you call your favorite restaurant, they will have something available. If not, we offer several suggestions on party food that will fit your budget and get people asking, “Where did you get that?”
If you are looking for a solid selection of food that is sure to please most people, then Save Mart Supermarkets may be your best bet. The grocery store chain has multiple locations in Fresno and Clovis and offers antipasti trays, meat and cheese trays, fresh fruit trays and everyone’s favorite, pinwheel roll up trays. Prices for the pinwheels start at $19.99 for a platter that serves eight to 12 people. You can check out the store’s entire selection on its web site, www.savemart.com/ordering.
A healthy option can be found at First Quality Produce, 2445 S. Gearhart, in Fresno. The fresh produce wholesaler offers trays of vegetables and fruit for $17.50 each.
For something a little different, Tree of Life Cafe and Bakery, 2139 Kern St. in downtown Fresno, has lots of delicious options. Good picks are the sweet potato hummus with pita chips or vegetable sticks, southwestern tabbouleh salad and Papas tacos made with creamy potatoes, lettuce, cotija cheese, sour cream and homemade salsa. The tacos and hummus are $48 for 12 servings, while the tabbouleh is $54 for 12 servings.
If you need a dessert, the restaurant is becoming well-known for its pies, cookies and other sweet treats. Pies include a gingered sweet potato, apple, apple cobbler or pecan. Prices range from $8.50 to $15. There is also a wide selection of cookies, such as snowball cookies, candy cane kiss cookies, chocolate crackle mint kiss cookies and sugar cookies.
Restaurant owner Carolyn Ocheltree and her staff pride themselves on making food that will impress your friends and co-workers.
“You will definitely get some oohs and aahs,” says Ocheltree.
Mexican food fans have choices galore. You can go big and pick up the monstrous burrito called the Anaconda from Taqueria Yarelis or you can go for something a little more bite-size.
Casa de Tamales and Bobby Salazar’s do plenty of business during the holidays. For $127 at Casa de Tamales, you can get 36 freshly made tamales, including 12 chicken tomatillo, 12 New Mexico red chile pork, and 12 jalapeño and cheese. That also includes rice and beans. The package serves between 16 and 20 guests. There is also a meatless option for the same price.
If all you want is a dozen tamales, that will be $28. Rice or beans for 20 guests is $21.50.
For some people, it isn’t a party without Bobby Salazar’s mini-taquitos party tray. The tray comes with the crunchy mini-taquitos, burritos, quesadillas and guacamole. The price varies on the size. The smallest tray comes with 42 pieces of food, serves five people and is $34.99. The largest tray is $64.99, has 120 pieces and serves 20.
Another popular item is Bobby’s Mexican lasagna. The dish is basically a version of enchiladas, but instead of rolling the corn tortillas, they are stacked and filled with your choice of meat, then topped with house-made enchilada sauce and cheese. You get a choice of shredded beef, chicken or ground beef. A tray serves 30 people and costs $59.99. There is also a burrito version called the fancy burrito lasagna for the same price. It comes with layers of flour tortillas, your choice of chile verde or chile con carne, beans and cheese.
And because it is a high-volume operation, you can order a platter or tray several hours in advance. But to make sure you get your order on the day you want it, ordering it a day in advance is preferred.
Hot dogs, sandwiches
Rocket Dog Gourmet Brats and Brew opened last year and specializes in sausage, hot dogs and sandwiches. For parties, you can get a platter of 24 mini-sausages or mini-sandwiches for $32. And you can pick up to four varieties of your favorite specialty sausage or sandwiches. Favorites include the Danger Dog, a bacon-wrapped, deep fried hot link on a plain bun with tangy barbecue sauce, Sriracha chili sauce and cheddar cheese topped with fresh cilantro and red onion.
Also popular is the Firehouse, an all-beef hot dog on a cheddar broiled bun with chili, crunchy corn chips, cheddar cheese and red onion.
Sandwiches are also great for feeding a hungry group of party goers and one of the best known Italian delis in Fresno is Sam’s Italian Deli and Market. The family-run deli offers deli platters and sandwich trays. Nick’s Gourmet Tray comes with items such as prosciutto, calabrese salami, parmigiano reggiano, panino mozzarella rolls, Swiss gruyere cheese, stuffed pepper shooters, mixed olives and red roasted peppers.
There is also the mini-sandwich tray that includes salami, ham, mortadella and jack cheese. The gourmet tray serves eight to 12 people and is $49.99. The sandwich tray serves eight people and is $36.99.
If your tastes lean more toward Middle Eastern food, then a visit to Ara Aydinyan at Ararat Market and Grill is in order. The Clovis market at 497 N. Clovis Ave. Suite #205, cooks marinated chicken, lamb, pork and beef kabobs. It also prepares house-made hummus, spicy hummus, roasted eggplant dip, fresh pita bread, pita chips, stuffed grape leaves and stuffed cabbage rolls.
You can buy the meat for $6.99 a pound. Aydinyan recommends buying about a half pound of meat per person. The dips start at $3.49 for an eight ounce container, and the fresh pita bread is sold for $1.55 for six round pieces. The stuffed grape leaves are $8.99 a dozen, while the cabbage rolls are $6.99 for three large rolls.
Although Aydinyan is already committed to making food for several holiday parties, he says he never turns down a customer.
“This is a great time of year,” he says. “And we will do everything we can to help people celebrate with good food.”