Not too long ago I had the stressful experience of hunting for affordable, but “nice” housing for my daughter who was starting graduate school in Denver, Colorado within a month. After each long, frustrating, and fruitless day we rewarded ourselves by eating well. One of my favorite dinners was at a wonderful little taco bar called Agave Taco Bar, where a huge variety of unique street tacos were offered up on a big platter while the staff and customers watched the Broncos on the big screen.
The homemade tortillas ranged from simple corn tortillas to spinach-poblano tortillas to squid ink tortillas. The fillings were wonderful, including everything from pulled roasted duck to beef tongue, to home braised pork belly. Of course there were great cheeses of all kinds, Mexican spices and vegetables such as cactus leaves (are cactus leaves a vegetable?). All in all it was memorable.
Fast forward to back home in Minnesota where the local grocery store doesn’t exactly stock this kind of fare. The idea of a taco bar for dinner however was still lingering in my mind. So…I put together an easy midwestern-type taco bar, and while not nearly as sublime as Agave, it was still pretty darn good. Good enough that I intend to do it again this summer in the cocktail garden with some great beer(s).
My easy version of a Taco Bar is really a smorgasbord of classic fixings that play well together in a tortilla shell. The nice thing about a smorgasbord is that people get to design their own meal according to their individual tastes, without hurting the cook’s feelings.
I also included a range of choices for those on the slow carb diet, with a recipe for the guacamole and some “Cauliflower Tortillas”. I didn’t get around to making the Cauliflower Tortillas, but I hear they are really quite good.
Taco Bar Ingredients & Assembly
Meat & Fish:
- Roast pork, cooked until tender in slow cooker
- Catfish, lightly sautéed in oil and shredded
- Chicken, roasted and shredded
Suggested Cheeses & Sauces:
- Oaxaca cheese
- queso fresco cheese
- sharp cheddar
- fruit salsas
- chipotle salsa
- tomatillo salsa
- aioli (for fish tacos)
- guacamole (recipe below)
- sliced radishes
- red onions, chopped
- cabbage slaw
- roasted poblano strips
- roasted red peppers
- refried black beans
- cactus leaves
- caramelized pineapple
Shells & Chips
- your favorite tortilla shells, hard and soft
- Cauliflower Tortillas (recipe below)
With respect to the Cauliflower Tortillas, there were several recipes and videos on the internet that looked intriguing, but I have not made them yet. I have made cauliflower mashed potatoes and they surprised both my husband and I with the flavor. They were actually better than the classic mashed potatoes. I’m including a recipe for the cauliflower tortillas below which is a very slight adaptation from this one at slimpalate.com A similar one can be found at empowered sustenance and Tasty Alternative.
Well, there you have it. I’m going back to Denver in June and have another go at the Agave before I have my final Taco Bar party this summer. Maybe I’ll be convinced to search out some more authentic Mexican Street Taco ingredients before my own party. If not, I don’t think anyone in Minnesota will be disappointed in this Taco Bar.