We decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo a little early this year. We opted for an afternoon party instead of a late night party, so a Saturday with daddy was a must! I wanted my party to be different from the traditional, brightly colored fiestas you often see. Instead, I drew my inspiration from the Mexican flag… green, white, red and the copper brown of the eagle. I wanted guests to feel the heat of Mexico, to see the weathered historic architecture of Mexico, and to sense the warm, inviting culture of Mexico all in an instant. I juxtaposed polished copper with weathered furniture and crisp white with colorful botanicals. The party created everything I had envisioned for a casual, beautiful celebration under the afternoon sun.
My husband and I love Rick Bayless’ recipes. We have all his cookbooks and use them all the time. They are packed with flavorful, healthy meals. This was the first time making these particular margarita and guacamole recipes. Both were delicious and are now on our list of favorites! This was also my first time making this particular tres leches cake. I have made one in the past that completely bombed. It tasted good, but was not the right consistency. This recipe, on the other hand, is AMAZING! It was perfect! Easy to make and so delicious. If you plan on making a tres leches cake, use this recipe from Food52. My husband thought it was the show stopper! I should mention, I baked the cake in individual ramekins instead of a giant cake. I love personal sized food at parties. It is easier for the host/hostess and guests during the party if everything is already dished up. Trust me, DO THIS!
The flowers for the party were absolutely gorgeous! I really wanted Dahlias because they are Mexico’s national flower. Unbelievably, my local flower shop somehow managed to get the beautiful flowers just in time… and in the color red! Perfect for my color palette. The other flowers were chosen to accent the Dahlias and to accentuate my color palette.
The party favors were little Wreck jars of annato seeds placed at each place setting. Annato seeds are used to make achiote. I thought it would be a cute gift, since they are kind of a hard ingredient to find unless you shop at a Mexican market a lot. For our party we used the El Yucateco brand achiote paste to keep things simple. I have made achiote paste from scratch in the past. It was delicious, but watch out for the deep red color… it can stain!
Some of the other decor in the space I actually gathered from around my home. The Mexican blanket I always keep in our vehicle for impromptu picnics, we purchased the clay pot housing the cut flowers in Mexico during our honeymoon and the painting of the Mexican woman was done by my grandmother. She loved Mexico and often visited. The painting was perfect for the party and was a great conversation piece.
To end the party we threw brightly colored confetti in celebration of Mexico’s historic victory. It was such a fun way to end the afternoon! When the party was over, my toddler said, “that was a really fun party and yummy!” Haha! He cracks me up! He thought it was yummy because of the cake… that was basically the only thing he ate. Toddlers! It really was so much fun! I am already thinking about next year! Well… maybe we will have to sneak a fiesta or two in here and there just because it was so much fun!
Components + Credit
- design – Erin Catlin
- photos – Erin Catlin
- floral (not arranged by) – Pistil and Vine
- napkins + placemats + bowls – Crate and Barrel
- margarita glasses – Pottery Barn
- copper chargers – Old Dutch
- confetti bombs – Knot & Bow
- copper LEDs + garland – Food52
- beverages – sparkling water, Negra Modelo, Rick Bayless’ “Cilantro-Jalepeno Margarita”
- meal – Rick Bayless’ “Guacamole with Watercress and Sesame” and achiote fish tacos
- dessert – Coconut Tres Leches