Raising the (Taco) Bar

Ain’t no party like a taco bar party (because a taco bar party don’t stop)

Photos by Leah Lizarondo


En fuego! That’s you. You’re on fire. Not like embarrassingly sweaty on fire. We’re talking about the good kind. The dog days of humidity and flop-sweat are over, and you are ready to celebrate the last weekend of summer in grand fashion.

You’re money. You’re so money, baby.


Because you’re going to be creating the biggest, baddest, freshest taco bar in town. Friends will come from miles away just to experience it.


Let’s see.

Habanero lime crema.
Peach and pineapple salsa.
Summer corn salad.
Lime-pickled cabbage.
Zippy pico de gallo.
Seasoned black beans.
Sliced avocados.

Picture it: All of those mouthwatering ingredients overflowing in a warm tortilla.



Bangin’! Absolutely bangin’.

You superstar, you. The best part: These are super easy to make. I pinky swear — aside from the black beans, which I made ahead of time — it only took me a couple of hours to whip up everything, lay out the spread and clean the kitchen. The basic ingredients do the heavy lifting with their simply scrumptious freshness (it’s what summer is all about), and it’s all amplified with a boost from lime, red onions, garlic and cilantro (sorry, cilantro haters).

You’re so money, and you don’t even know it.

Just be prepared. There will be silence as your guests make their way around all the fixin’s.

The silence is reminiscent of a gymnast making the final approach before the dismount. The crowd is stupefied and holds its collective breath. Then, as soon as the gymnast lands — arms raised triumphantly — the crowd erupts!

Do exactly that.

As everyone takes their first bite and the realization hits them on just how kick-ass this spread is, stand in the middle of the room and raise your arms to the heavens, gymnast-style. Your crowd will go wild. I pinky-swear they will.

When your friends ask how you possibly managed to construct such a monster undertaking, just keep it your little secret.

And now, the recipes. Just for you, I’ve measured everything out to precision. All of these recipes make exactly a ton.

Invite everyone you know. Ask them to bring some bebidas y cervezas. Remind them that there’s no cutting in the taco line. Then kick back and say hasta la vista, summer!



  Seasoned Black Beans

Serves enough to feed 12

  • 1 T olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t cumin
  • 3 cups cooked black beans
  • ¼ cup broth or water
  • Salt and pepper

Sauté garlic and onions in olive oil for about a minute. Add oregano and cumin. Stir for about 30 seconds. Add black beans. Sauté together and add water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until the liquid evaporates. Season with salt and pepper.


  Peach and Pineapple Salsa

Makes 3 cups

  • 2 cups peaches, diced
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced*
  • ¼-½ cup red onions, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Toss everything together.

*You can omit pineapple and just use peaches. Increase peach amount to 3 cups.


  Summer Corn Salad


  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, lots of pepper


Cut off the kernels (save the cob for broth!). Toss everything together.

Head on over here for the:


And don’t forget the sliced avocados!

Categories: Brazen Kitchen