(No photo here. As we have mentioned, food photography is a profession, and some delicious foods -- even if attractive in person -- look terrible in photos. A quick image search on Google suggests that even professionals cannot make taco salad photogenic. Glad we did not try.)
Taco salad a la Hayes-Boh offers a variety of textures and colors, and lets each diner choose which ingredients to include, and how much of each! Here is what we had, starting from the bottom (according to my salad-building strategy; how exactly to build a taco salad is a somewhat personal decision).
- Chips, crunched on the plate -- early rounds Xoxitl chips brought by our guests, later rounds Santitas $2 Only. I think the Santitas are better for dipping heavy salsas, and the Xoxitls better for these salads.
- Vegetarian refried beans, heated in an indispensible cast-iron skillet
- Sliced mushrooms, sauteed in a mix of olive oil and truffle oil; when the mushrooms were well-cooked, I poured a healthy dose of mezcal (tequila) into the pan, and let it boil off.
- Chicken breasts: boiled, then shredded with two forks, then browned in olive oil and heavily seasoned with chili powder. Chicken thighs would be better, but we had the breasts on hand, and they worked well.
- Shredded Cabot cheeses -- mostly Monterrey Jack with a little sharp cheddar.
- Green-leaf lettuce, washed and torn
- Hydroponic tomatoes, chilled and diced
- Freshly made pico de gallo, brought by our guests
- Freshly made guacamole, also brought by our guests
- Plain yogurt
- Tabasco sauce
We are also between home-brew batches, so instead of home-brewed IPA this was served with Mayflower Pale Ale (local), Negra Modelo (Mexican), and Barolo (home-vinted). All of these pairings worked very well.
Dessert was a bit of good vanilla ice cream. Some of us topped it with Kahlua, others with blackberry-ginger balsamic from L.O.V.E., our favorite emporium.
Pam made some nice omelettes with the leftover chicken this morning; along with some Oromia coffee, it sustained us through a chilly morning of signature-gathering for her campaign to be elected as a library trustee.