Party Like It's 2016: Great local eats, cooked by the pros

Jim Fischer

You're invited to a party to celebrate the holiday. It's potluck-style, but your culinary skills are lacking, to say the least. Or maybe you are running out of time and energy. Your friends are pretty cool, and you'd like to keep them, so how to contribute?

Ray Ray's Hog Pit

2619 N. High St., Old North

James Ray Anderson of Ray Ray's suggests a pan of spare ribs, three slabs for $60. "You get the dry rub for something a little bit unique, and then you get your sauce on the side, whichever sauce you like or in any combination," Anderson said. Sides, if you like, are $25 a pan. Orders can be filled same-day, but 24 hours' notice is preferred.

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Hot Chicken Takeover

59 Spruce St., North Market, Arena District

Yes, please. Depending on the size of your friend's event, you can pick up a 25-count pan of drumsticks ($35) or a 50-count ($65). General manager Cam Williams also suggests a half-pan of Ma's Mac & Cheese ($45), which can be done baked or unbaked, if you want to finish it at home. Add on banana pudding - individual orders are $2.50 each. Three days' notice is requested.

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Weiland's Market

3600 Indianola Ave., Clintonville

"One of the things we do that's really good is the antipasto platter," said owner Jennifer Williams. "It's not your typical veggie tray." The order includes veggies marinated in balsamic vinegar alongside smoked pepperoni, salami slices and cheese wedges. A small tray is $45.99, and the kitchen can prepare one with a day's notice.

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Mikey's Late-Night Slice

Multiple locations

Wanna be the hero? Hear this from Mikey Sorboro himself. "Last year we had a guy come in on the way to a Christmas party who bought 12 Baby Cheezuses, one for each person at the party. I thought that was pretty funny." What could be better for a Christmas party? The Baby Cheezus ($4) is a slice of pizza cut in half lengthwise, made into a sandwich filled with American cheese and whatever topping you like.

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The Angry Baker

891 Oak St., Olde Towne East

Victoria Hink of The Angry Baker says a box of her assorted cookies (including macarons) is a popular choice. You can select them yourself. Macarons are $1.50 each, and the other styles are 75 cents. But a special treat is the Chocolate Peppermint Roll ($18). It features a peppermint buttercream filling and is covered a chocolate ganache, and can be made vegan. The cookies are always ready; allow 48 hours for the Chocolate Peppermint Roll.