Since the advent of the digital camera, we haven't stepped foot inside a Costco. Now we have a reason to return. Today's Hot Stuff ("Catering by Costco") in the Merc rates the appetizers found in the frozen food section of everyone's favorite warehouse store. Some of their top picks are the Full Circle Torta Stella, Cuisine Adventures' spanakopita, Clear Springs' smoked rainbow trout (smoked trout is phenomenal, folks -- miles above smoked salmon), and Jeremiah's Fine Foods shrimp and scallop cakes. To the best of our knowledge, we haven't tasted any one of these fine food products, but anything branded "Cuisine Adventures" can't be half bad, can it?

But if you want the the best mass-produced frozen food hors d'oeuvres -- ones that will have your Chez Panisse mafia holiday party guests running for the door -- we suggest going over to Trader Joe's and picking up, oh, a dozen or so of their Trader Joe's Caramelized Onion & Feta Pastry Bites. (Or you can try making them yourself.) Next to a milk chocolate Santa and/or illicit drugs, these are some of the best things you'll stick in your mouth this holiday season.

Picture of an Orange County Costco, Orange County fashion choices.