Top Pick Of The Week

November 7, 2006

. .
Panang Shrimp
Spicy, finger-size Panang Shrimp are one of the scores of tantalizing selections at Kabobs—frozen hors d’oeuvres with a shelf life of one year that are ready to eat in minutes.
WHAT IT IS: Gourmet frozen hors d’oeuvres, delivered to your door.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Good-looking, impeccably seasoned, in almost any variety or theme you could wish for.
WHY WE LOVE IT: From freezer to plate in about 8 minutes, these affordable hors d’oeuvres make cocktail parties easy to host. With a shelf life of a year, you can keep a supply in the freezer for planned and impromptu entertaining.

Kabobs: Party Time!

CAPSULE REPORT: Once having discovered Kabobs, a producer of gourmet frozen hors d’oeuvres, all excuses about entertaining being too expensive and time-consuming disappear. Place your order online (or by phone) and the next day, the most amazing, delicious and affordable selection of delectables arrives at your doorstep. Most require just 8 minutes in an oven and someone to place them on platters and serve them to your guests.

Of the thousands of foods that we tasted at this summer’s Fancy Food Show, Kabobs won our gold star for Best Of Show. There were many great-tasting foods there, but given the difficulty of finding good frozen hors d’oeuvres in the marketplace—and the joy of finding great ones—we declared Kabobs the winner. Whether for cocktail parties, family feasts or indulgent grazing, with a supply of Kabobs in your freezer, you’re always ready to party. Read the full review below.

Easy Entertaining

Cocktail Parties In Style Parties Cocktail Parties With A Twist
Williams-Sonoma Entertaining: Cocktail Parties, by Georgeanne Brennan. The latest volume in the series of popular Williams-Sonoma cooking and entertaining books focuses on the art of the cocktail party. Click here for more information or to purchase. In Style Parties: The Complete Guide to Easy, Elegant Entertaining,  by Editors of In Style Magazine. A one-stop guide to making every event stylish and personal, and it proves once and for all that entertaining at home can be easy, fabulous and fun. Click here for more information or to purchase. Cocktail Parties With a Twist: Drink + Food + Style, by Alexandra Angle, Eliot Angle and Ericka McConnell. LA’s “sexiest cocktail caterers” present the ultimate guide to memorable parties. Fourteen themed gatherings are detailed and photographed. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Party Time: Kabobs Gourmet Hors D’Oeuvres



Caterers are not going to be happy with this week’s NIBBLE. It is going to reveal, in the manner of a culinary Penn and Teller, the secret to giving an amazing cocktail party for a fraction of the price you thought possible—assuming your idea of an amazing cocktail party is serving hot hors d’oeuvres that people will talk longingly for days after the party. If you don’t give cocktail parties, you can dazzle the relatives at holiday feasts, or have “grazing dinners” made up entirely of delicious hors d’oeuvres where everyone gets to enjoy his or her favorite tidbits (we just love this option).

But let’s start with the big picture party concept. In the days B.T.N. (Before THE NIBBLE), if you thought to have a cocktail party, you might have called up a caterer and gotten the sticker shock: $25.00 a head for two hours of passed hors d’oeuvres. Today, you need only go online (or pick up the phone) and select your menu from the vast choices of Kabobs, a company that makes exquisite frozen hors d’oeuvres for the foodservice industry (caterers, hotels et al), and will sell them directly to you as well.

What, you say...all those caterers don’t have minions in the back rooms who roll all of those baby spring rolls and skewer all that beef tataki? Some do, but many caterers do exactly what you can do: they call Kabobs and have their order delivered frozen, the next day. Their staff then does what your designated staff can do: they heat them in the oven, put them on trays and serve them to admiring guests.

What’s The Difference?

Mushroom Tarts
Buttery miniature mushroom tarts are a classic, and Kabobs’ version is a winner.

Let us hasten to state the obvious: there are many companies that produce frozen hors d’oeuvres, as well as many caterers that make them by hand. Not many make as delicious a product as Kabobs does. It you’ve been to enough events, you’ve noticed a certain sameness in what’s served. And at the retail level, we’ve purchased some pricey boxes of frozen hors d’oeuvres at supermarkets and specialty food stores. While some have been tasty (and are reviewed in the Hors D’Oeuvres & Cocktail Snacks section of The, we have been pretty unhappy with others.

The Kabobs selections are made using creative recipes and the freshest, finest hand-selected ingredients available. Using top ingredients and great recipes, each piece is so perfectly seasoned, you will want another, another and another. And, at these prices, you can afford it.

Let us also hasten to say, there is much more than kabobs. There are scores of selections: baked, breaded, fried and steamed hors d’oeuvres; filled and rolled pastry, phyllo and tarts; meats and vegetables that are layered, stacked, wrapped, rolled, and only lastly, skewered (some of which are, indeed, kabobs). These impressive yet affordable morsels can be overnight-expressed to you, or you can lay in a stock—they keep frozen in peak condition for a year.

If you’re ready to learn more about Kabobs, join us in the next section. You may want to fix yourself a snack first: you’re going to get hungry.

Crazy For Kabobs

Kabobs operates out of a state-of-the-art 60,000 square foot facility, located just south of Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport. There, a team of busy beavers turns out delicacies for party animals all over the country.

One can spend quite some time poring over the selection on Kabobs’ website. We’ll highlight a few groupings, and leave the joy of further discovery to those who are still hungry at the end.

Phyllo. Guests generally love anything wrapped in phyllo. Kabobs makes nine crispy and flaky varieties, from classic Spanakopita to elegant Lobster Phyllo Rolls.

In-between, flavorful ethnic seasonings abound: Adobe Chicken, Curry Chicken, Santa Fe Chicken and the Feta & Sundried Tomato shown in the photo at the right. Phyllo is also shaped into a purse form resembling an open bag (or a tulip, depending on your perspective). Available in Shrimp-Herb Cheese, Wild Mushroom and Seafood Beggar’s Purse, we would be happy to bag a few of these purses at any event.

  • Feta & Sundried Tomato
    (Shown At Right)
    1 case, 200 pieces
Feta Sundried Tomato
Feta & Sundried Tomato pairs traditional Greek phyllo and feta in a sophisticated sundried tomato recipe.

Antipasto Kabob
The Antipasto Kabob is a fiesta of flavors that requires no cooking—just defrost and enjoy.

Skewers. Eating food on skewers is fun, and Kabobs has plenty of them—36 different varieties! The Antipasto Kabob, shown in the photo at the left, combines four popular foods to create such an obvious crowd-pleaser, that we don’t know why we hadn’t already thought to make it ourselves. Starting at the top with a sundried tomato, the skewer wraps a tri-color cheese tortellini in prosciutto and punctuates the statement with a savory Kalamata olive. Pre-cooked, it need only be thawed; but we enjoyed it heated as well.

  • Antipasto Kabob
    1 case, 100 pieces

The skewers have Asian, Cajun, Indian, Indonesian, Mexican, Szechuan and Thai accents—everything from Chili-Lime Salmon Satay to Tandoori Chicken. Traditionalists can go for standards like Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp and Chicken-Pineapple Kabobs. Those taking the high road should try the Coconut Lobster Tail.

Tarts & Flatbreads. It wouldn’t be a party without baby quiches and other mini-tarts. Kabobs offers 14 varieties, from Quiche Florentine to a Kalamata & Artichoke Tart. The mini-mushroom tart (photo above) was so yummy but rich, we were grateful it wasn’t larger—but we’d like the recipe! Shiitake, oyster, portobello, cremini and button mushrooms, fresh herbs and Swiss cheese fill a flaky handmade chive tart shell.

The Spinach Pesto Flatbread combines fire-roasted vegetables, fresh asparagus and spinach pesto, garnished with a rosette of goat cheese to create a festive and vibrant hors d'oeuvre. This variety is also thaw-and-serve—no cooking needed.

  • Mushroom Tart
    1 case, 200 pieces
  • Spinach Pesto Flatbread
    1 case, 100 pieces per case
Flatbread Pizza
Spinach Pesto Flatbread: a departure from the
usual offering of fried foods.

Butter Pecan Shrimp

Butter Pecan Shrimp: simply irresistible.

And Much, Much More.  Crab-Stuffed Mushroom Caps, Mini-Beef Wellingtons, Empanadas and Fajitas. There are classics: Brie En Croûte With Raspberry, Cheddar Puffs, Potstickers, Bacon-Wrapped Scallops and yes, even Franks In Blankets. It’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys to go through the selections and plan a party.

We’re fantasizing about the Butter Pecan Shrimp at the left, butterflied and dipped in butter pecan batter, then rolled in pecans, coconut and breadcrumbs.

  • Butter Pecan Shrimp
    1 case, 100 pieces
    $ 129.47

One thing to note: these hors d’oeuvres don’t come with dipping sauces. In all honesty, nothing we had needed it—everything was so flavorful. But if it makes you feel more secure, head to your nearest specialty food store and buy some dipping sauces that won’t drip on your guests’ party clothes. Tulocay’s Made In Napa Valley has a great line of sauces, mustards and tapenades.

It depends if you’re serving cocktails only or are having dinner afterward. Check our handy Hors D’Oeuvres Calculating Chart.

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For cocktails only, plan for up to 10 hors d’oeuvres per person. A case of Kabobs has 100 or 200 pieces, depending on the item. Assuming each guest might like two or three of each flavor, one case will serve 30 to 60 guests, and you can choose several different varieties. Since the products can stay frozen for a year, you don’t have to use them all at once. The Customer Service staff at Kabobs will help you with the logistics.

Are you in the party spirit yet?

—Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to anyone who likes to entertain—or who should be doing more of it.


Hors D’Oeuvres

  • Products priced variously, as described
  • At right:
    Fig & Caramelized Onion Puffs
    1 cases, 100 pieces per case
  • Additional products available on

Purchase online at

Telephone 1.800.732.9484

Kabobs Customer Service Department is
open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET), Monday through

Prices and flavor availability are verified at
publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.

Caramelized Onion Puffs

We loved these figs soaked in sherry, mixed with caramelized onions, goat cheese and cream cheese and tucked into buttery puff pastry. A sprig of fresh rosemary is the perfect garnish.

Read about some of our other
favorite products for entertaining
in these sections of THE NIBBLE online magazine:


Articles & Product Reviews


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