Ok, as crazy as this is going to sound, how about a fusion of some midwest with southwest. For example, how about a BBQ pork fajita, and instead of lettuce and salsa in the wrap use pyschadellic coleslaw, I think you can get the recipe from the food network website, or the surreal gourmet's website, as the coleslaw recipe was on The Surreal Gourmet. Actually now that I think of it, you'd also have a bit of an asian twist in there as well. I guess that would be east meets west, meets TexMex.
Don't know what category that price range is for you in the midwest - Do you need to satisfy the meat and potato crowd or is this an very adventuresome group - but with 300 you need some safety - nothing too bizzare.
here's some different but not to out there stations ideas that have worked very well for me in the past.
Martini Mash Potato Bar - can serve portion in a Martini Glass which is very cool presentation and easy to handle for cocktail party but it works on a small plate if budget doesn't allow for glass. Offer 2-3 toppings. Garlic Mash is always fun.
toppings Belgian Beef and Ale
Portebello and Shitake Mushroom Sauce
A Poivre Sauce (make it creamy)
Penang Chicken Curry (Coconut Based)
grated cheddar and crumbled bacon
International Quesidilla Station
Eurotrash Quesidilla - Spinach, Gruyere, Caramelized Mushrooms and Onions (Sautee onions, add shredded Gruyere and cream cheese to make spreadable mixture- layer with fresh spinach and sauteed mushrooms - out of this world)
American Gigilio - (hey I like funny names it gets the proposal attention and then follows through with substance)
American cheese, bacon, scallion and tomato (satisfies pedistran tastes but everyone loves it)
Santa Barbara - Smoked turkey, honey mustard, tomato
Perogi - (only if your not doing mash potato bar) - Mash Potatoes, caramelized onions and cheddar
Masala Dosai - Mashed Potato with Coconut Cilantro Chutney
Yuppie Mexican - Shrimp, Goats Cheese, Mozzarella
the possibilities are of course endless
Crostini Station - make crostinis out of different kinds colors and shapes. Have a variety of toppings such as wild mushrooms, chicken or pork roulade, tomato basil, chutneys etc.
Oh - here's a choice for a pasta station that gets away from the Italian - Java Lava Pasta - Fusilli with Peanut Sauce (like the one you make for satay) - optional add chicken or pork - So you could also call it Chicken Satay Pasta.
Also Roasted Tomatoes with Smoked Mozzarella makes a nice alternative tomato sauce that isn't a "red sauce" the pasta stays relatively white -
The greater the number of stations, the more "average" it will have to be. I don't mean average like meat and potatoes, but you will have to find some way to make sure each station is hit at about the same frequency so you don't run out at one and have a boatload of food at another. In otherwords, whatever you do, don't mix hotdogs with martinis! Tigerwoman has some interesting suggestions, maybe a bit "out there" for the average midwest consumer. I'd throw at least one carved beef station just for good measure, tenderloin even. Before you think about cost, think THIN to WIN!
Sounds cool. In my experience, there will be a certain number of people who will hit the charcuterie table, but many will avoid it altogether, although it really does depend on the focus. I think if you beef it up it will draw a crowd. What's important is you have a central item, not a bunch of curiosities.
I did the tasting yesterday afternoon.....the organizer's husband was a jerk from the word go...he acted juvenile. After a while I just dryly responded, his wife finally told him to shut up.
I made the rice stick salad, veg with aioli, chocolate cake, chanterelles with cream/croutons, spring rolls...
So I'll find out soon what happens, I threw in choc truffles for the coffee set up in the garage.
I got the job!!! The preview party was a month ago and went well....fillo cups with chevre and tapenade, shroom caps with morel duxelle, grand Marnier pate on apple slice, guyere puffs and great last minute butter/salt pecans.
So....I'm lining up staff from the Ritz, already bartered decorating services from an interior designer...got a couple of chefs lined up...had to add a berry mousse in chocolate cup to the dessert table....added icebox cookies to the garage coffee station.