by Jennifer Nicole Dienst | October 01, 2008

The scenario likely is familiar: You're at an event, drink in one hand, people milling about, when you spy a fresh tray of hors d'oeuvres floating by. The conundrum: Is it possible to snag and juggle that lollipop lamb chop without spilling the martini? And what to do with that leftover skewer? Oh, why can't finger foods be more finger friendly?

M&C asked New York's Institute of Culinary Education to serve up some especially tasty tidbits so that we could test their manageability. Chef James Briscione, an ICE instructor and former chef at New York City's Daniel restaurant, created 12 tantalizing, reception-ready bites for us to try. Read on to find out how the food fared. 

Tomato soup
Scallop soup shooter

A skewer of scallops rests in a cup of chilled tomato soup.
Juggling act: A two-handed job at first. After you finish the scallops, you can sip the soup with one hand; but you'll still have the skewer to deal with.
Yum factor: Fresh-from-the-garden delicious. The thick, chunky soup doubles as salsa to dip the scallops into.
Bite count: Two bites for the scallops, five to seven sips for the soup.
Drips and dribbles: No cleanup required.
Lipstick test: The thick soup can't help but cause a smear.
Pass or partake? Pass if you're already holding a cocktail.


Pancake poppers
Small squares of blueberry pancake are skewered with blueberries, then dipped in a buttery maple sauce.
Juggling act: One-handed, with the dip resting on the waiter's tray, but you're left with a skewer.
Yum factor: Off the charts. Mmmmms all around. Sweet, indulgent, gooey and warm.
Bite count: Two.
Drips and dribbles: There's drippage when you dip, but the sauce is thick enough to stick to the pancake if you don't drench it.
Lipstick test: Gotta reapply.
Pass or partake? Partake: It's too delish to miss.



Mac 'n' cheese arancini
A down-home favorite gone fancy. Chef James threw in a little Sriracha to spice it up.
Juggling act: One-handed wonder.
Yum factor: Crusty, just cheesy enough, and delicious warm or cold.
Bite count: Two to three.
Drips and dribbles: None. The triangle holds together well, especially when lukewarm.
Lipstick test: You'll likely wipe away a crumb or two.
Pass or partake? Go for it.


lamb sushi 
Lamb sushi
Lamb loin rolled in rice, crusted with Dijon mustard and pistachio crumbs.
Juggling act: One hand, easy and simple.
Yum factor: Best served cold. The saltiness of the meat and the taste of the pistachio go great in tandem.
Bite count: One, maybe two.
Drips and dribbles: Not an issue.
Lipstick test: Ready for your close-up.
Pass or partake? Take it.



Cold, curried crab meat salad in a carved-out watermelon mini-cup.
Juggling act: An easy, one-handed job. The cup is tiny and easy to pick up.
Yum factor: Fresh, light and summery. The soft, salty crab tastes great against the crisp, sweet watermelon.
Bite count: One fell swoop.
Drips and dribbles: Nice and neat.
Lipstick test: No smudges or salad 'stache here.
Pass or partake? Definitely partake.




Trio of crostinis
Sweet pea, turnip and carrot-ginger purees sit on crispy, buttery crostinis.
Juggling act: Minimal. You can pop these tiny babies right in and move on.
Yum factor: Totally delish. The vegetable flavors are bright, sweet and fresh. A healthier hors d'oeuvre option.
Bite count: One and you're done.
Drips and dribbles: The crostinis were crunchy but not crumbly -- always a plus. The purees stayed put.
Lipstick test: A perfect pout.
Pass or partake? Partake!