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Best buffet for open house birthday party?

I'm inviting about 30 friends/family over for my son's first birthday. The poor guy has a b-day sandwiched between Christmas and New Year, so we'd like to do it as an open house from 1-5pm on that Sunday with cake at 3pm.

While I'd like it to be casual like an open house, I don't want to stave guests. Heavy foods like lasagna seem like too much just after the holiday. Ideas? I thought maybe 2-3 hearty soup choices, a salad bar or couple of big salads, and some great breads. Is this too skimpy? Should I offer a more traditional buffet? Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

asked by Kathryn over 3 years ago
7 answers 7571 views
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added over 3 years ago

Ah, the birthday open house, I've lived and learned! My best advice is to keep things as simple as possible. No one will be expecting a big spread, especially if you start at 1:00 pm. I think your soup/salad/bread idea is lovely, or you could just go with some snacks / hors d'oeuvres since most people won't be expecting a meal or anything substantive. And from past experience, I think 2 hours is about right for an open house -- much more than that and you'll risk exhaustion. More than anything, have fun and worry less about the food than having an enjoyable, memorable celebration!

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June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Here's another idea and one that can be put together ahead of time. I like to do a buffet this time of year with recipes that constitute a Provencal Christmas Buffet. The menu starts with this yummy Cream of Garlic Soup http://food52.com/recipes... and continues with several savory tarts and pizzas. The dessert table consists of one spectacular dessert along with dried fruits and nuts. If you're interested in these recipes, message me from my page here and I'll be glad to share.

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Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

Keep it simple. You don't want baby to meltdown from all the excitement and the (to him) strangers coming through, because then it becomes stressful for everyone. He certainly won't know the difference between an elaborate buffet and a simple one and guests also aren't expecting an elaborate spread.

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Chops is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

What about bagels & cream cheese spread, lox, cookies, potato pancakes, etc.?

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Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

I like boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce at a buffet. Also the cold cut plate with sliced cheeses with the mini rye breads and a good mustard. A bit mundane, but well liked by all.
One salad I like now is a mixed green salad with goat cheese, walnuts and for a the season; pomegranate seeds. With a lemon vinaigrette on the side.
Maybe some sliced radishes for even more color.
Maybe put the cheese on the side for the vegans.

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added over 3 years ago

In addition to all these suggestions, I often roast a whole beef tenderloin and slice it thinly for little DIY sandwiches with tiny rolls or party rye, pumpernickel, etc. Also put out a good mayo and Dijon. People inhale it.

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