automatic for the people…

Last Thursday, I had a work event that required us to feed well over 200 people. Well, not a complete meal, but an appy. We served crispy fish and shrimp tacos with tortilla chips and queso dip.

Having grown up in California where great Mexican food were literally easy to find, I was spoiled. When I moved to Seattle over ten years ago, I realized I had given up more than just sunny days and warm, sandy beaches.

Another thing I missed dearly were the fun Cinco de Mayo parties I was fortunate enough to attend. One such party had the works: margaritas and cervezas, piñatas, an 8-piece mariachi and kick-ass food. I wanted so badly to duplicate all this in my new home. Realizing the challenges of having limited resources (i.e. funds for an actual mariachi), I developed a compromise: a margarita and fajita/taco bar.

I had set up a build-your-own fajita and taco bar and had three blenders going that made three different-flavored margaritas. Hanging from the patio was a piñata filled with Mexican candy, streamers of red, white, and green, and strings of lights in the shape of peppers. Taking the place of the mariachi, were the music of Linda Ronstadt and Luís Miguel, as their sounds play festively in the background.

Although I haven’t a Cinco de Mayo party in since 2005 (I know, it’s been way too long), I have served my fajita/taco bar many times since. I enjoy doing a menu like this because it’s easy to make and my guests are able to participate in creating their meal. Less for me and fun for them.

For the work event, I was able to incorporate many of the pieces integral to my past parties. We served each person either a fish or shrimp taco. I have made (from scratch) my own fish and shrimp before, but for feeding a large group, we used the frozen kind and prepared the in the oven. The corn tortillas we softened using the Viking Combi Steam/Convect Oven and came out perfectly warm. Each taco had cheese and my special chipotle slaw.

Condiments, such as guacomole, chipotle ranch sauce, and pico de gallo, were served along with the tacos as person was able to concoct their own tasty creations. Each serving also had tortilla chips and homemade queso dip.

From what everyone had told us, our food was a hit! Check out the photo below:

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