Tacos are an essential component of Central Coast cuisine and you should be making them at home just as often as you're out visiting your favorite taqueria. Most importantly, your tacos don't have to be boring or unsophisticated.

Here are four changes you can make to your at-home tacos that will turn your next party or family dinner into a crowd-pleasing affair.

1. Make Your Own Tortillas

Whether you're at home or eating out, fresh tortillas beat bagged, store-bought ones every time. Making your own corn or flour tortillas is actually quite easy. Not only that, but its a great way to get your dinner guests–be it adults or kids–get involved and help.

You can find our recipe for homemade corn tortillas here (or watch the video). We also love this flour tortilla recipe from the NY Times.

2. Lose the Shredded Lettuce

I love lettuce ... in my salads. But in my tacos I find it just takes up real estate and ruins the presentation. Not to mention it adds zero flavor. Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't add some green to your tacos.

Cilantro & radish instead

Instead, let cilantro and radishes be your go-to lettuce replacement. Roughly chop the cilantro and thinly slice the radish on your mandoline. Throw it on your tacos and no one will care about the iceberg.

Of course, some people can't handle the taste of cilantro due to some bad genes. If that's you or your guests, give arugula a try.

When it comes to fish tacos, add some finely shredded cabbage to the mix as well.

3. Lose the Bagged "Mexican Blend" Cheese

It's fine for quesadillas and nachos, but I find pre-shredded Mexican blend cheese (usually a combination of jack and cheddar) boring when it comes to my tacos.

Instead, I go for real queso fresco. It's a mild cow's milk cheese that crumbles perfectly on your tacos. Because queso fresco is fresh, it adds that creamy, fatty taste to your tacos without the overpowering tanginess of aged cheeses.

You can find queso fresco in most Central Coast grocery stores or your local Mexican market.

4. Lose the Tub of Sour Cream

I find your standard tub of sour cream too thick and hard to work with–especially if you're making smaller street tacos. Instead I reach for authentic Mexican or South American crema. It's still sour cream, but it's thinner and more versatile.

The great part is you can quickly elevate it further by mixing in sriracha, minced cilantro, lime zest, or just about anything else you can think of.

Pour it into a sqeeze bottle and you're ready to roll.

Crema + sriracha = a great taco topping

Hope you found this helpful and I hope your next taco party is a hit.