Okay, so I just like that title. The reality is, the beef is usually the least tasty of all the meats offered by a taco truck. That aside, the wisdom I am offering here after hosting such a shindig is how not to throw a taco truck party in your back yard.
My beef was really with the gardener. Then the guest list. And ultimately only myself. It started like this: “Honey, instead of hosting a dinner party that’s so much work, why don’t we just hire a taco truck and have everything outside so we can actually talk to people?” Sounds innocent enough, right? A great idea, and so simple! My spouse agreed, so I got a taco truck referral from a friend. That was the easy part.
Next up, I sent out the invitation via email to our friends. We extended the number of people because the taco truck had been so reasonable. I listed what the taco guy would be providing, and as an afterthought asked if there were any dietary restrictions. This resulted in a barrage of emails about what ingredients could and could not be consumed in amazing detail. I found myself having to do more planning and prep work than a formal dinner party would have required. And of course I also had to learn how to prepare new dishes I had never made before. Always a good idea to make something you’ve never tried for a party. The savings from the taco truck were dwindling.
Then I hired a gardener to come clean up the back yard. When my neighbor and I heard the roar of the pruning implements cease, we walked outside to survey the progress. A fly almost flew into my mouth as it fell open and stayed that way for quite some time. My friend was at no loss for words, however. “What the hell happened to your back yard?!”
Indeed, it looked like a barren field with more dirt than grass – of which I think the weeds were prettier. The beautiful bougainvillea had been cut so far back all the flowering bits were now residing in a sad pile. The trees had been trimmed within an inch of their life, and the branches had fallen into the planters, breaking the ornamental pots and decor I had strategically placed. The fountain was clogged with debris. My mouth still wasn’t working properly when the gardener asked for his check. My neighbor’s was, however, still in peak form. She told him under no uncertain circumstances that the breakage would come out of his paycheck. Okay then. So the taco truck’s backdrop of foliage had been replaced by a leaning fence.
As I sat on my steps making yet another grocery list, my lovely neighbors began hauling over potted plants, tablecloths, chairs, anything to cover up the ravaged yard. They were truly warriors. By the time dusk began to fall and the taco truck arrived, the dustbowl really had undergone enough of a transformation that the butchering was hardly noticeable.
What was noticeable once the party guests had all arrived, was that they had arranged themselves in clusters of groups who knew each other, yet seemed too scared to mingle with anyone else. It reminded me all too clearly of a high school dance. Exhausted, I gave up trying to introduce them all and started drinking margaritas.
The highlight of the evening, however, had to be when the cat decided to run through the back yard with a dead rat in his jaws – drop it in the center of a huddle of taco fans, and vomit all over their shoes.
- Get a taco truck that has good beef, as well as the chicken and pork – and don’t skimp on the beans and rice for all those people who won’t eat anything with a face.
- Never hire a gardener to come the same day as the party. Leave enough time in case things need to grow back a bit. Better yet, don’t leave them unsupervised. EVER.
- Don’t invite groups of people who are very disparate and expect them to talk to each other. Maybe host a couple smaller gatherings! Otherwise, it will be like your wedding all over again.
- Don’t allow your pets to roam. For God’s Sake, spring for a pet hotel for the evening.
- Most important of all – don’t ask about dietary restrictions. Say, “I’m hiring a taco truck! Hope you like guacamole!”