Let's start with starters …

Breakfast is extending its reach--inspiring some of the hottest hors d’oeuvre and appetizers today. For example, Atlanta-based Bold American Events and Catering finds that its Southern fried chicken and waffle bites drizzled with local honey are a sure-fire bet before dinner.

Randal Jacobs, executive chef of Chicago’s Blue Plate Catering, is presenting a variety of breakfast-centric bites for 2017, including Buffalo-spiced deviled eggs with a sriracha leather garnish, and a riff on bagels and lox made with an “everything” French gougère layered with cream cheese, sliced salmon, whipped smoked salmon, shaved red pearl onion, cherry tomato, capers, and micro green leaf lettuce.

KEEP ON TRUCKIN’ Food trucks, or at least the familiar finger foods they dish up, show no sign of slowing down in the new year. At Atlanta-based Affairs to Remember, the caterer’s “Food Un-trucked” menu stays in the driver's seat, offering comfort food faves such as mac and cheese garnished with crumbled bacon, tomatoes, fried onions and house-made hot sauce, mini apple-smoked bacon doughnut hole sliders, and spicy Buffalo chicken meatballs.

Speaking of Buffalo, Bold American pays homage to the ubiquitous wing with its deconstructed Buffalo chicken and bleu cheese bites. David Turk, founding owner of New York’s Indiana Market and Catering, predicts a rise in hand-held lobster-based appetizers, such as lobster corn dogs, lobster salad cones, and a variety of lobster rolls.

STUFFED AND WRAPPED If you can stuff it or wrap it, you’ll find it on the menu for 2017. Filled finger foods such as hand pies packed with tomato-basil-peppered ricotta or short rib and horseradish, squash blossoms stuffed with roasted red pepper ricotta, Persian cucumbers filled with southwestern grilled tuna, and peppadew peppers stuffed with fig jam and ricotta salata are on this year’s menu at Indiana Market and Catering. On the wrapped side, chefs at Reseda, Calif.-based Someone’s in the Kitchen are taking the pigs in a blanket concept to gourmet heights, wrapping everything from the traditional mini hot dogs (embellished with caramelized onions and sauerkraut) to fried chicken, chicken sausage, jalapeno poppers and dates.

MORE MEZZE Mediterranean mezze is the inspiration behind Someone’s in the Kitchen’s popular salad and flatbread station, which includes a variety of flatbreads and fresh vegetables with accompaniments such as za'atar, sautéed summer squash, golden tomatoes, pine nuts, tahini, figs, and caramelized onions and wild mushrooms.

The full story will appear in the Winter edition of Special Events, available in January 2017.

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