Throw Me Some Snacks, Mister!
February 5, 2017 8:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm throwing myself a mardi-gras themed buffet party on my birthday this year. But - I live in New York. Looking for Louisiana chip/snack options (preferably prepackaged) and online sources for same; and I also seek the best mail-order king cake source possible.

I'll be cooking all the proper food, but I'm looking for little bowls of chips or nuts or whatever to have sitting out for people to nibble until the jambalaya is ready. I've seen some flavors of Zapp's Chips in stores up here, but I've heard of a wider variety and was thinking of getting a sampler box of a bunch of bags. Or are some of the more esoteric flavors not worth it? Also, the Zapps' own web site is down; where can I find a fuller range of chips to review and select from?

Any other local nuts/chips/etc. I can set out and where can i get them?

Finally - I want to have a king cake as my "birthday cake", and I'm definitely going to need to order that. I'm a bit overwhelmed by options, though. Where's your favorite source for king cake, preferably chocolate, that would also ship to New York? (For that I'd order to have it shipped to my office the day before.)

Merci cher!
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You don't sound like you want to go all out and make mini muffuletta sandwhiches for everyone, but you could get some olive salad to use as a dip or add some cold cuts and provolone to the spread with some bread and let people make their own.
posted by Candleman at 9:37 AM on February 5, 2017

Randazzo's is a popular king cake bakery that delivers. Choose from Nonna's or Manny's (two branches of the same family), but neither has chocolate. Cream cheese, pecan praline and fruit are the typical filled options. Rouses is a local grocery chain that ships king cakes and fills them with all kinds of stuff (including chocolate), but they're definitely the economy option and I'm not even sure I've seen a chocolate one in stores. Sucre is another option, but no chocolate. On the other hand, they're sparkly.

For Zapp's, it looks like their website is down but they have an "order here" link that goes to a storefront where you can order a custom sampler pack. I'd just get the voodoo kind (best looking bags and also tasty- they taste kind of like barbecue).
posted by MadamM at 10:14 AM on February 5, 2017

The Zapp's site is just pretending to be down. If you click on the buy here thing it goes here: Excellent site design. (Unless you realized that and there are usually more options at The utz site doesn't seem to have the newish chargrilled oyster flavor (which is pretty much just garlic flavor.)
posted by artychoke at 10:16 AM on February 5, 2017

Jinx, MadamM! I am also from New Orleans and have never had chocolate king cake. The best kind is cream cheese. ships chocolate king cakes though, so they do exist. Haydel is supposed to be good but I never care enough to wait in the long line they always seem to have.
posted by artychoke at 10:19 AM on February 5, 2017

Zapp's site is up for me. Also, here's a report of a tasting of every Zapp's flavor, FYI. I'd also recommend some pralines (this is a good brand that does mail order).
posted by Quisp Lover at 10:26 AM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I actually did see that link to the Utz' site where you can buy some Zapps', but it seems they have a limited range of flavors. I'm seeing references to other flavors that aren't on the Utz site or the "tasting of every Zapp's flavor" site. I was hoping to see where to get EVERY available flavor.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:16 AM on February 5, 2017

I grew up near N'Awlins, and get my Mardi Gras snacks from World Market these days. Apparently, there's one in Chelsea?

Just a couple of days ago I was looking up king cakes and was shocked (shocked, I tell you!) that chocolate king cakes are apparently now A Thing.

All my childhood king cakes were from Paul's Pastry, and they appear to have several chocolate options.
posted by instamatic at 1:02 PM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I prefer to order my king cakes from Caluda's. It's the Randazzo's recipe (the co-owner is Manny Randazzo's ex-wife), and I find their website way easier to navigate and their pricing more transparent. Chocolate is not a traditional king cake flavor, so that will be hard to find (and honestly, it doesn't sound that great to me). Many people like the cream cheese filling, I am not one of them. I prefer praline-filled, mmmmm.

You can get several flavors of Zapp's at Cost Plus World Market if there is one near you. The usually carry Abita beer (as do a lot of nicer grocery stores), which is IMHO a necessity.

I actually just made Better Cheddar dip/spread this morning for a Super Bowl party. It's a knockoff of a dip/spread made by a New Orleans grocer called Langenstein's.

Yes on the pralines as well! Oh and don't forget to have some Crystal hot sauce on hand (also probably at World Market, specialty grocery stores, and Amazon).
posted by radioamy at 1:02 PM on February 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

If you didn't know, you can get cheap Mardi Gras beads and decor at Oriental Trading (and definitely dig around online for a coupon code).
posted by radioamy at 1:04 PM on February 5, 2017 is a source I regularly use as a Louisiana expat living in the Pacific Northwest. Boudin (or boudin balls) is great for a buffet party and sure to impress.

The very best king cakes come from Keller's in Lafayette and they do a chocolate pudding flavor! (You can order them from Cajungrocer too, but they don't have the chocolate flavor there.) But you have to call them, and they don't ship anything bigger than a medium, so whether it's worthwhile will depend on how many people are coming. I do recommend calling to discuss your options, though.
posted by waffleriot at 1:20 PM on February 5, 2017

(Oops, just saw Keller's won't ship the chocolate flavor either. Crap. Well, you have other options!)
posted by waffleriot at 1:29 PM on February 5, 2017

Abita root beer is a personal favorite and Abita beer if you like actual beer.

Cafe du Mon coffee is yummy and easy to get. (Really any chicory coffee will do)

There is a Louisiana cobbler mix that's easy to make and yummy (add fruit and bake pretty much).
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:56 PM on February 5, 2017

If you're shipping a king cake, ask the bakery which flavors ship best-- I've had a few soggy fruit filled cakes in the years before I started making my own, and there is just nothing more disappointing.
posted by instamatic at 4:31 PM on February 5, 2017

Good notes all so far. Adding a couple of notes to re-direct a bit -

* Abita we do get up here, and it's what my friend from Pensacola usually brings to all parties so that's covered. However - I didn't know Abita also makes root beer. Is there a chance that would also be nationally distributed?

* I was hoping to stick to chips and nuts as a smaller nibble becuase there's going to be so much other food (red beans and rice, shrimp etouffe, gumbo z'herbes, smothered okra, corn maque choux AND jambalaya, all for only eight guests), but one of those links had gator boudin balls, and I could see that being the source of much hilarity ("....gator balls? HAW!") Also we have a couple people who are pescetarians. Is it safer to play it safe with seafood or chicken, instead?

* I did consider also making up a muffaletta; I do have a jar of olive salad from a well-meaning friend ithat I've never used otherwise (it has cauliflower and I can't eat that). I'll need to see how I can source the bread though.

* I figured chocolate wasn't exactly traditional, but this is effectively my birthday cake so I was going that route. A lot of the bakeries have next-day shipping, but should I place my order now and just have the king cake in my freezer for the next couple weeks?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:47 PM on February 5, 2017

Oh, and I have a can of Cafe Du Monde coffee in my freezer that I break out on Mardi Gras, and will probably be gifted a can.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:49 PM on February 5, 2017

The bakeries have next day shipping but you can order it now for future dates. I had to order some for clients a couple weeks ago and there were a bunch of dates between now and Mardi Gras that were no longer available.
posted by artychoke at 8:00 PM on February 5, 2017

I've seen Abita root beer and Zapp's at a few bars and grocery stores in my neck of Brooklyn — Crown Heights. Two that spring immediately to mind are near one another on Bedford Ave: Catfish, and Brooklyn Born Mini Market. If you don't see yourself making that trek, you could call them and try to get connected to their distributors and find out if they distribute anywhere closer to you.
posted by D.Billy at 8:04 PM on February 5, 2017

"Or are some of the more esoteric flavors not worth it?"

As a New Orleanian I can not process that question. All flavors of Zapp's are worth it, and the new Sweet Pimento Cream Cheese is especially worth it.

but if you have to settle for a sampler pack just make sure it includes the Voodoo and you'll be okay
posted by komara at 9:25 PM on February 5, 2017

Anyway, if I showed up to your party I would be pleased to see any combination of the following items which would easily survive shipping:

- Crystal hot sauce
- Zat's creole mustard
- Blue Plate Mayo
- Zapp's chips
- Blue Runner red beans (seriously)

also I know Abita makes a root beer but Barq's is still the top dog around town so even if it doesn't say "New Orleans" on the label or anything it's still the right one to drink with your po-boy. If you could get Leidenheimer's bread up there I would think you were a miracle worker. If you want some true tasso that will give the right flavor to anything you cook you can get some from Jacob's in Laplace which is the only place I'll buy it.
posted by komara at 9:31 PM on February 5, 2017

Dude from Pensacola is in Crown Heights and has asked what to bring. I may charge him with the Root Beer and send the beer nerd friend on the beer-beer errand. (Yay!)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:15 AM on February 6, 2017

Pretty much all the sites (including Caluda's) have scheduling so you can place an order to be shipped at a future date.
posted by radioamy at 7:19 PM on February 6, 2017

If you're down with sweet snacks, might I suggest Pralines?

They're practically cookies, you say, not snacks, you say...WRONG. Pralines are snacks.
posted by JuliaIglesias at 9:13 PM on February 6, 2017

« Older Boundary-setting for Dummies   |   Can you get a legal divorce from relatives and is... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.