I swore to my friends I wasn’t going to blog about this. “But what do we wear?” they kept asking. “Oh, anything really. It’s super casual,” I said. “But will you blog about this?” they asked. “No, no, this is just for fun! This isn’t going on the blog!” Famous last words. The fact is, I decided on Friday to have some friends over for a casual backyard BBQ for Sunday Fun-day. I realized on Saturday that Sunday was Cinco de Mayo. I hosted my Captain Marvel dinner party on Saturday night and swore I was going to keep Cinco de Mayo casual. I walked outside to drink my coffee Sunday morning and this just sort of happened.
My mom wanted me to tell you all of that to illustrate the point that entertaining can be spontaneous and casual and still be beautiful. Many people were shocked to see me hosting a party the day after another party but honestly, entertaining two days in a row isn’t twice as hard. My house was already tidy, the bathrooms scrubbed, clutter picked up, and I even had gorgeous floral arrangements from the night before that I repurposed for Cinco de Mayo.
I kept the menu simple: build your own tacos plus a couple of easy Mexican side dishes. On Saturday I baked my tres leches cake and grilled veggies for a Mexican street corn salad. On Sunday morning (Cinco de Mayo!), I threw pork in the crock pot for my pork carnitas – a delicious and inexpensive way to feed a crowd – and I finished my street corn salad. That afternoon I grilled chicken, set out taco extras (cotija cheese, tomatoes, avocados, cilantro, onions, etc) prepared Mexican zucchini, and threw the chicken on the grill. Done! The food was a hit and was my easiest party to date.
I also made a pitcher of mango margaritas. My friend Anthony brought over sugar cane – actual sugar cane – that he whittled for us to use as a garnish and stir stick. I’m not even kidding! I’ve never had sugar cane before. What a fun treat! Get the recipe here.
As for decor, I used this wonderfully colorful tablecloth that my mom got in Cancun many years ago. I worried the red flowers wouldn’t match but part of the charm of Cinco de Mayo is how incredibly colorful the holiday is. I hung some of the fiesta fans that i used at my Coco dinner party and Mulan dinner party on the fence behind the table.
I also attached some orange puffs to a white frame I keep on hand for parties for a festive photo op. I highly recommend having a lightweight painted frame if you throw a lot of parties and it took no time at all to tie something colorful to it to make it on-theme.
We hung out in the garden all afternoon, eating, drinking, and playing croquet. That’s right! Croquet! Have you missed it as much as I have? I used play croquet nearly every week of the year but my ancient (20+ year-old) croquet set bit the dust last year. I’m finally the proud owner of a new, portable croquet set. Lawn games add so much to a party. I don’t have a big yard but I use every inch of it. If you learn one thing from me, learn this: you don’t have to have a big backyard to have a killer backyard.
It was such a fun evening that I had to share a few photos with you guys in case you want to recreate the menu next year! This would also be a great menu for a pool-party or any summer gathering. It’s quick, easy, inexpensive, delicious, and reminded me what I love about entertaining: there’s nothing as great as laughing the day away in the garden with friends.
Cheers to that,