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Food and Cakes

Taco bar--tasty or tacky?

maryemoomaryemoo Fort Wayne, Indiana member
100 Comments 25 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
edited November 2013 in Food and Cakes

I know that there are a few threads out there already, but I feel like they're missing some details.

We're thinking about doing a taco bar for our reception. If we go this route, we would most likely do both hard and soft shells, beef and  refried beans for filler, and cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and possibly guacamole for toppings. We would also probably do a veggies/dip bar and a snack bar with things like chips/chex mix/gardettos/etc.

Does anyone who's hosted this type of reception or attended one have any tips for doing so?

ETA: We're having culinary students help us prepare/set up our reception (whether it is a taco bar or something else); would we have them make sample batches to try as a tasting (of the filler...the toppings would just be bough, not prepared)?

Amyzen83
«1

Re: Taco bar--tasty or tacky?

  • Yum!  The only reason I'd say no to a Taco Bar is if the event is like super formal and it would seem out of place. Otherwise, if your properly hosting, go for it!  
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    How are you going to handle it logistically?  It takes some time to make each taco.  And if each person does at least 2, there is going to be a long wait in line for your guests.

    I also think having just beef and refried beans as fillers seems a bit limited.  I would at least add chicken and a veggie option.

    Personally, I'd skip the taco bar (or do it for the rehearsal dinner!) and go with something that is a bit less time consuming.


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  • maryemoomaryemoo Fort Wayne, Indiana member
    100 Comments 25 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    JoanE2012     There would be multiple tables set up so that it wasn't one big line...for veggies as a filler, what would you suggest?
  • @maryemoo can you include rice so rice and beans together would make a good vegetarian protein option. Maybe fajita veggies would be a good option for vegetarians as well (an meat eaters will like this too). 
  • maryemoomaryemoo Fort Wayne, Indiana member
    100 Comments 25 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    mrspizanotobe     I was considering rice, but I don't want to do a Mexican/spicy rice for people who don't like spicy/strong food...what type of rice do you think would go well?
  • natswildnatswild The F-f-f-rozen N-n-north (Northern Alberta) member
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    basmati rice is a good option

  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    A taco bar can get very messy rather quickly, and spoils the appetizing look.  If possible, I would suggest putting some of those fillers (cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream) in individual containers.  It would keep the bar neat in appearance and expedite your serving line.
    PolarBearFitz
  • maryemoomaryemoo Fort Wayne, Indiana member
    100 Comments 25 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    mobkaz    I'm confused; do you mean in individual serving size containers, or in separate containers as in the cheese isn't in the same container as the lettuce?
  • I am thinking of doing a nacho bar, so I don't see anything wrong in a taco bar. I agree with the other ladies, have a few more options with maybe chicken or pork, and fajita veggies, some people are picky. Also make sure both sides of the table where the food is are accessable with multiple serving spoons so people can go from both sides.

    If you are having it catered I was in a wedding where the caterers put on the beans and meat then handed the already done ones to the guest, and then there was a table that had the other fixin's for it (lettuce, cheese etc.) where guests could add their own toppings.

    I think Mobkaz means have them in little plastic containers with lids so people can grab them and then add them at their table. Instead of being in open big containers on the tables. Think of like a little to-go container of salsa you'd get from a mexican restaurant.

  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
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    Babebet said:

    I am thinking of doing a nacho bar, so I don't see anything wrong in a taco bar. I agree with the other ladies, have a few more options with maybe chicken or pork, and fajita veggies, some people are picky. Also make sure both sides of the table where the food is are accessable with multiple serving spoons so people can go from both sides.

    If you are having it catered I was in a wedding where the caterers put on the beans and meat then handed the already done ones to the guest, and then there was a table that had the other fixin's for it (lettuce, cheese etc.) where guests could add their own toppings.

    I think Mobkaz means have them in little plastic containers with lids so people can grab them and then add them at their table. Instead of being in open big containers on the tables. Think of like a little to-go container of salsa you'd get from a mexican restaurant.

    Yes. Thank you.
  • maryemoomaryemoo Fort Wayne, Indiana member
    100 Comments 25 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Ah, okay, I thought so but wasn't sure. I will look into that!
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I've never encountered a Mexican rice that was noticeably spicy.



    Amyzen83
  • Viczaesar said:
    I've never encountered a Mexican rice that was noticeably spicy.
    I have encountered many a Mexican rice made with chicken broth, so please consider having a separate plain rice for your vegetarians or making sure the flavored rice is made with vegetarian ingredients.

    Amyzen83
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Viczaesar said:
    I've never encountered a Mexican rice that was noticeably spicy.
    I have encountered many a Mexican rice made with chicken broth, so please consider having a separate plain rice for your vegetarians or making sure the flavored rice is made with vegetarian ingredients.
    Now that I have seen.  But I think leaving it off because it would be too spicy is not really a valid concern.  Definitely make sure it's vegetarian, OP.  Same with the refried beans, by the way, which are often made with lard.



  • I like tacos, but, honestly, I wouldn't want to make and eat them while wearing a dress. I also agree you need some more options to make your menu vegetarian friendly.
  • For a rice option, maybe you can have a cilantro lime white rice like they have at chipotle? If not, maybe you can have a mexican rice but have them make it mild? 
    Amyzen83[Deleted User]
  • I love the individual cup option!!!! LOVE!
  • Amyzen83Amyzen83 member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer First Anniversary
    edited November 2013
    We're going that rout by doing a bbq taco bar! Traditional "wedding food" catering is super expensive and we're trying to save as much money on our wedding while trying to keep it nice and properly hosted. I think it's an awesome idea! I think it's great because you can cater to the people with food restrictions because they can have whatever they want on their taco.

    When fi suggested this, logistics of it sprung to my mind, but I think people who are concerned about the messiness of it, could simply go the taco salad way?
  • i am not a fan of a taco bar at a wedding there are other ways to save money and host a really nice dinner or do a heavy appitizer reception.

    some options would be like pasta dishes not just pasta and sauce you could do 3 kinds of pasta 3 kinds of sauce offer meat chicken and veggies for your toppings 

    do a meat lasanga and a veggie one. 

    have some kind of chicken dish and for a veggie dish you could do a veggie pasta or a stacked veggies on a bed of rice pilaf or polenta. 

    add sides like salad. mac in cheese, potatoes and a veggie use ones that are in season if its summer use broc, zuucini and summer squash. if its fall winter use winter squash, yams turnips etc. 


  • I think a taco bar sounds really good.  I LOVE tacos.  However, I don't know how practical that is for a wedding.  I'm just thinking of how messy tacos are and no matter how casual your wedding, you'll still have people dressing a step up form their normal everyday clothing. 

    You have to eat tacos with your hands and juice usually drips out the end from the meat or salsa.  Even if you fold up the end (which you can only do with soft shells), the liquid usually saturates the end of the tortilla before you finish the taco.  And there's always little pieces dropping out onto the plate and such.  I don't think tacos are the best food for dressed up guests.

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I love tacos, but they are messy, so they aren't going to be the best foods for a formal wedding reception or for dressed up guests, as @lovesclimbing says.

    If you do this, be sure to have utensils so that people aren't forced to use their hands.

    I also agree with the advice of PPs to make sure that you have vegetarian-friendly and non-spicy options for those who want/need them.
  • I think a taco bar sounds really good.  I LOVE tacos.  However, I don't know how practical that is for a wedding.  I'm just thinking of how messy tacos are and no matter how casual your wedding, you'll still have people dressing a step up form their normal everyday clothing. 

    You have to eat tacos with your hands and juice usually drips out the end from the meat or salsa.  Even if you fold up the end (which you can only do with soft shells), the liquid usually saturates the end of the tortilla before you finish the taco.  And there's always little pieces dropping out onto the plate and such.  I don't think tacos are the best food for dressed up guests.

    LOL very true- this reminds me of a cruise my parents took me on when I little. They have formal night where you must be in formal wear to enter the dining room and it was also lobster night since many people coorelate lobster with "high class/ formal". The entire time my father was complaining because we're all cracking these lobsters open with juices and butters flying across the table getting all over our formal wear hahaha. Even when I eat tacos at my house I put my hair up and roll my sleeves up!
  • If it fits the formality of your wedding, why not? I like the pre portioned little cups with the extras, or you could do it Chipolte/Qdoba style where one person asks what type of shell & meat, then next server gets a 2-3 other options & then the next server gets another 2-3 items. It will help keep the line going. Or had the servers do the shells, meat, rice & beans and then at the end of the buffet have a table where people can break up into two lines to get the salsa, lettue, sour creme, etc.
  • I considered this also, a taco bar. But we ended up going with a whole hog roast and all the standard bbq food stuffs like potato and pasta salad, rolls, baked beans, you name it. I don't think a taco bar is tacky at all. If it's more budget friendly and that's what you want then go for it!!!
  • I'm doing a taco bar because its my favorite food. We are also doing lasagna because its his favorite food. Then we are also doing crab rangoon because that's our middle ground of what we both love. So I say go for it!
  • The taco bar sounds really awesome, IMO! You should totally go for it. I would absolutely love to have a taco bar and burger bar with a veggie burger option but can't find vendors that offer either of those. But if I went to a wedding where this was offered I would be super thrilled.


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  • A taco bar sounds amazing! Our venue actually offers it as a late night station! :)

  • crackktheskyycrackktheskyy Stars Hollow member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    Taco bars can be totally fun depending on the formality of your wedding. They're also great because they're versatile: they can accommodate many different dietary restrictions.

    Like others have mentioned, you might want to safeguard against messiness. Things always look more appetizing when there aren't toppings all over the place :) Tacos can also be difficult to eat when you're dressed up!

    If you want a more formal wedding or even just less messy foods but still want to stick with Mexican style, you could always serve some fancy appetizers like braised beef quesadillas with some sort of crema drizzle, ceviche, chicken tortilla soup shooters, fried plantains with queso for dipping, or even some kind of chip cup with mango salsa. These would all be bite sized and avoid the mess. You could also incorporate the theme into a cool plantain garnish or a flan dessert. 
    image
  • Sounds like a cool, non-trad idea as opposed to stuffy, bland catering! I dig it!
  • We are having a Taco Cart at our destination wedding meet and greet. We have actually turned it into a full on fiesta with margaritas, coronas, and even a pinata and a mariachi band! Granted it isn't our actual wedding, but we think it will be a world of fun!

    I say go for it. Tacos are SUPER YUMMY and I wouldnt side eye a taco bar at a wedding.

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