A common question among Off the Grid Catering clients is how to plan a Mexican menu for their catered team events. Thankfully, we love talking about Latin food in all its delicious variations and we work with incredible creators that can satisfy any craving.
The key is building a balanced menu that includes a mix of flavors and textures while staying true to some staples of Mexican cuisine. Savory meats are the perfect counterpoint to tangy lime, while creamy avocado can tame spicy chiles. Throw in a dash of cilantro for verdant flair and some tortillas to wrap everything up, and you’re on the way to a feast that your entire team will love.
Whether you’re celebrating Dia de los Muertos, want to add some spice to your Halloween fiesta, or just want to make your employee appreciation event more festive, read on for ideas on how to add sabor to your next company celebration with appetizers, main dishes, desserts, and drinks that feature south of the border flair.
Tantalize with Apps & Sides
If you’re in the mood for seafood, try Caldo de Mariscos from Sabor San Miguel. Praised by Mission Local for a light and refreshing approach to Mexican favorites, they’re a perfect option for team events that aren’t immediately followed by a food coma. Sabor San Miguel’s Caldo de Mariscos soup delivers bites of perfectly cooked prawns, mussels, and baby octopus in a flavorful broth with cilantro, garlic, and bell pepper to warm the stomach and the palate.
Tangy, briny ceviche from COOL!NARIA is an absolute must for any Mexican celebration. Seafood and vegan options are both served in a coconut shell, bringing a little extra ambiance to any occasion. Plus, this light but satisfying dish helped secure COOL!NARIA’s spot on the San Francisco Chronicle’s list of Best Bay Area food trucks.
For passed starters that pack a big punch, turn to Oaxacan Kitchen Mobile. Their Molotes de Papa con Chorizo wrap potato puree and mouth-watering Oaxacan sausage in crispy corn dough and their Empanadas de Flor de Calabaza incorporate delicate squash blossoms into rich cheese empanadas. These irresistible bites set the right tone for any catered occasion where Mexican food is the main event.
Looking for vegetarian or vegan options that don’t skimp on flavor? Look no further than Cielito Lindo MSK. From spicy Soy Chorizo tacos to fresh Vegan Fajitas to Champiniones con Queso (sauteed mushrooms with creamy cheese), they offer a variety of options that can be double as small bites.
Looking for something a little bolder? Try Elotes Chidos, a playful creation from La Santa Torta. It mixes everything you love about Mexican street corn—the sweetness of ripe corn, the salty tang of cotija cheese, and the creamy coolness of mayo and lime—with the spicy crunch of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The SF Chronicle called it “an exciting melange of textures and flavors” and we couldn’t agree more.
Dig into Entrees
When it comes to bringing the flavors of the Yucatan to the Bay, it doesn’t get better than Cochinita’s signature dish: cochinita pibil. Pulled pork is marinated in earthy achiote paste and baked in banana leaves that keep the meat moist and impart a subtle fruity fragrance. While this dish is delicious in plain corn tortillas, we prefer it on salbut, puffy fried corn tortillas that add a pleasant crunch.
There’s no way we can talk about Mexican food catering without mentioning tacos. Taqueria Angelica’s version of tacos al pastor is a classic take that regularly sells out at Off the Grid Markets. Of course, if variety is what you’re looking for, Taqueria Angelica’s has you covered with an array of street tacos, including carne asada, cabeza (beef cheek), carnitas, and pollo. Regardless of which you choose, cilantro, onion, and spicy salsa complement this crowd favorite.
We don’t use the term “flavor bomb” lightly, but it’s the best way to describe Cielito Lindo MSK’s chimichanga. A crisp flour tortilla envelops spiced meat, creating a package your guests will love to devour. Though it comes with sour cream and guac, we recommend adding some of Cielito Lindo’s salsa. But be warned: with over half a dozen options, finding your favorite pairing may result in a seriously full belly.
For Cuban flair, we recommend Gondo Fusion. Their hearty Cuban Burrito wraps up Cuban pulled pork with fried plantains, rice, and black beans. Caribbean pico de gallo delivers the fresh sweetness of mango, the ideal complement to the burrito’s richness. While it’s tempting to devour an entire burrito, consider offering half-size portions so guests can sample everything you have to offer.
Need a vegetarian option that even carnivores will fight for? This portobello tostada is the kind of fine-dining-sans-the-frills that COOL!NARIA is known for. Succulent mushrooms are topped with cherry tomatoes for a bright pop of flavor and roasted pumpkin seeds add a smoky crunch. Make sure to order extra: even the most dedicated meat eaters are guaranteed to adore this dish.
Celebrate with Sweet Treats
No Mexican catering menu would be complete without churros. La Santa Torta has elevated this perennial favorite by filling them with cajeta, a goat milk caramel that adds a creamy nuttiness and that pairs beautifully with the crisp cinnamon confection. And as if that wasn’t indulgent enough, these churros come with a side of dulce de leche sauce that borders on sinful.
For a dish that straddles the line between dessert and side, look no further than Rellenitos de Platanos from Sabor San Miguel. A play on traditional platanos con crema, plantains are mashed and formed into nuggets around a center of sweetened black refried beans. Once fried to a gorgeous golden brown, they’re ready to be dipped in crema for a sweet and savory treat.
Having trouble deciding between desserts? Oaxacan Kitchen Mobile has you covered. A trio of tres leches, churro, and Mexican mocha cupcakes means there’s something for everyone. Our only advice is to plan for more than one cupcake per person, as your guests are sure to want to sample them all!
Finally, we couldn’t talk about Mexican-themed events without mentioning flan. Taqueria Angelica’s version is one of the best we’ve had, its smooth texture delivering delighted smiles to everyone who eats it. It’s a sweet and creamy way to cap off any fiesta.
Raise a Glass
To really impress your guests, carry your event’s Mexican theme all the way through to your beverages with Gordo Fusion’s horchata. They offer classic cinnamon and trendy matcha versions, both of which pair wonderfully with their rich Cuban fare. A bonus: Though they have a creamy mouthfeel, these vegan drinks will be adored by your entire team.
Equally delightful in appearance and taste, aguas frescas make catered team events feel all the more special. Cochinita’s brilliantly colored beverages are Instagram fodder, but catching a photo before they’re slurped down is sure to be a challenge. We love every flavor on the menu, but we’re currently obsessed with pitaya (dragon fruit) because we can’t get enough of its delicate taste and vibrant pink color.
From traditional tastes to innovative offerings, it’s easy to create a Mexican-inspired feast with creators of this caliber. Our best advice: choose a must-have item and build around it to create a variety of flavors and textures that make for one seriously delicious event.
Ready to start planning your next fiesta? Contact Off the Grid Catering today for help with everything from menu ideas to staffing to permitting!