Five Great Appetizers To Bring To That Holiday Party

Halloween is over, so it's time to deck the malls with boughs of holly and get ready for the season's eatings. It's also the season for work potlucks and parties with invitations containing the dreaded “please bring an appetizer to share” line.

Never fear, Stick A Fork In It is here to tell you what to buy and where to buy it, right behind the jump!

Hummus and pita: A bowl of hummus and pita or vegetables on a table
of appetizers goes quicker than just about anything else except
guacamole (which turns brown too quickly). Any of the places in
Anaheim's Little Gaza can hook you up with the garlicky dip, but
arguably the best in the county comes from Kareem's Falafel. 1208 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim; (714) 778-6829.

rolls (gỏi cuốn):
Shrimp, pork, vegetables, noodles, rice paper and
peanut sauce: what's not to like? Every bánh mì shop in Little Saigon
has packets and packets and packets of these for sale, usually for a
buck or so per roll. Pick them up the day you need them, put them on a
nice plate with a bowl of peanut sauce in the middle and you've got a
great, filling appetizer that won't suffer for being left out. Gỏi cuốn
are not hard to find, but for easy-on, easy-off freeway access, go for
Nhu Lan in Garden Grove. 13036 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove; (714) 638-8690.

Sometimes it's got to be a hot appetizer, but rather than a sticky box
of wings or a bucket of assorted fried chicken parts from your local
market, order a tray of these vaguely ball-shaped pastries filled with
curried potatoes and peas from Haveli in Tustin. Samosas keep
beautifully in an oven set on its lowest setting, which means you can
keep some in reserve for those people who show up fashionably late. 13882 Newport Blvd., Tustin; (714) 669-1011.

It's not the best idea to leave raw fish out during a long
party, but even vegetable sushi can be a winner. If you can get it
together to order in advance, Mitsuwa (the Japanese superstore in Costa
Mesa) will arrange it on a platter for you and have it ready at the
time you specify. If you're willing to make sure the sushi stays the
appropriate temperature, they will make you real sushi trays too, and
their itamae blow the Costco folks away. 665 Paularino Ave., Costa Mesa; (714) 557-6699.

and crackers:
No, not Albertsons cheddar and Triscuits; it is possible
to bring a really great cheese tray to a party. Go to your local
cheesemonger–for example, Frog's Breath in Orange or Pascal Epicerie
in Newport Beach–and ask them to recommend three or four cheeses. You
can buy the crackers and other accompaniments right there and all you
have to do is slap it on a board. Frog's Breath: 143 N. Glassell St., Orange; (714) 774-1773. Pascal Epicerie: 1000 N. Bristol St., Newport Beach; (949) 263-9400.

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