My girlfriend Melissa is moving back to California and I'm in charge of planning her welcome back party. This morning I made invitations inspired by the route Melissa and her boyfriend will travel from Seattle to San Francisco. Now I have to put together a menu of passed appetizers that includes both vegetarian and meat-friendly hors d'oeuvres. The party not only celebrates the return of my friend, but it also highlights the local cuisine, culture, and atmosphere of the area that Melissa has desperately missed for the last two years. I'll be buying all of the ingredients for the menu at the farmer's market to ensure the produce is local and the cheese artisan. I'll use recipes from some of the Bay Area's most celebrated chefs so check out what I'll be cooking, just

Alice Waters and Thomas Keller are two names that come to mind when one thinks of Californian cuisine, so I'll be slicing up pieces of Water's
Rainbow Tomato Pizza

and serving slices of Keller's
Caramelized Onion and Cheese Toasts

. To round out the vegetarian portion of the menu, I'll make Napa's most famed pioneer Michael Chiarello's
Bruschetta with White Beans, Sundried Tomatoes & Basil

. For the meat lovers present I'll make
Barbecued Bacon Shrimp

and mini
Spiced Pulled Pork Sandwiches

with recipes from the west coast lifestyle magazine, Sunset.

To take a peek at these scrumptiously savory dishes click on one of the images below:

Rainbow Tomato Pizza Caramelized Onion and Cheese Toasts Bruschetta with White Beans, Sundried Tomatoes & Basil Barbecued Bacon Shrimp Spiced Pulled Pork Sandwiches

What are your favorite appetizers to serve at a cocktail party? Share your ideas with me below!