Build Your Own Burrito Bar

Burritos? Check. Friends? Check. Festive decorations? Check. But a burrito bar isn’t a party without music. We’ve put together an iMix that you can download from iTunes. Want to add a few of your own tunes? Leave a comment below.

The inspiration for this party came from the famous taquerias in San Francisco’s Mission District, where enormous foil-wrapped burritos, with various types of rice, salsas, beans, and meats, are made to order before your eyes.

Our version’s got two advantages: Ingredients and preparations are superfresh; and guests get to hunker in, buffet style, and build their own. We like to put out bowls of queso fresco (a crumbly Mexican cheese), but you can use whatever you’d like—Jack, cheddar, goat.

Besides serving beer (we suggest Mexican brands Pacifico and Negra Modelo), try one of our three drink recipes. There’s the classic margarita (see note below), and a spiked vodka punch made with Jamaica flowers, the Spanish name for hibiscus. (Don’t throw the used flowers down the garbage disposal, or you’ll clog your sink right before the party.) Finally, there’s a gorgeous spring-green-hued kiwi soda that’s nonalcoholic.

We’ve also added a link to some party music on iTunes, and a diagram on how to fold your burrito. Can you tell we’re overachiever partiers?

This party has been fiesta-tested

CHOW threw this party twice—once for friends and once for the photo shoot. We can’t tell you how many people commented on the food, a great combination of casual grub for a raucous fiesta yet high-quality, inventive, fresh. Funky yet professional. Low-key luxe. And except for the carne asada, all can be made ahead of time.

A word about the cake

People will particularly crave sweets if they’ve been boozin’, so we like to bring out this easy-to-make tres leches cake after a brief pause following dinner. Word of warning: This dessert is popular. Stash a few pieces for yourself and slower-moving guests.

Yes, margaritas are really supposed to taste like that

Our margarita is made exactly how it should be: with real orange liqueur, not Triple Sec; 100 percent agave tequila; and freshly squeezed lime juice. Period. If you’re juicing the limes by hand for, say, a 30- to 50-person party, give yourself three hours. If you want to cut corners, you can use frozen limeade, but the drink will be sweeter. We’ve included recipes for two different blends of seasoned salt for the rims of your glasses, too.

The first time your guests taste the real thing, they may be shocked, and say things like, “This tastes strong!” Just remind them that it only hurts the first time.

Party photographs by Joe Budd and Tom Sicurella. Product photographs by Howard Cao.

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