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Tasting your way through Cinco de Mayo

Posted by on May 5, 2015

As a Mexican-American, I’m proud to celebrate my culture in many different ways. Cinco de Mayo, however, leaves me a bit unsatisfied. Too often it is confused with Mexico’s Independence Day (Diez y Seis de Septiembre), and many here in the U.S. don’t know that it isn’t a national holiday in Mexico. It’s regionally celebrated in Mexico, but in the U.S. it’s more of an industry-created holiday, like Administrative Professionals day or Mother’s Day. It’s the Hallmark holiday of mi gente in America, more used as an excuse to drink a lot than noting the historical significance of a fierce battle. I’ll tell you what doesn’t leave me unsatisfied, though, and that is the abundance of great food in Austin, for #CincoDeMayo:

La Condesa pulls out all the stops tonight with their annual Cinco De Mayo Block Party. Street food from the restaurant will be stellar, and among the entertainment is rising star Gina Chavez, and my new hot favorite, Bidi Bidi Banda. Actually, I love all the entertainment, which includes Mariachi Relampago, Cilantro Boombox and Celsius. Cazadores Tequila, Dos Equis and Tecate are bringing the libations. The event is on W. 2nd Street, between Guadalupe and San Antonio, from 5pm – 9pm, with free entry.

El Chilito is bringing the fiesta to E. 7th Street (at Chalmers) with a free pig roast tonight from 6pm – 8pm. Chef Anselmo Sanchez is roasting a whole pig, and will serve up crispy pork tacos until it’s gone. With free beer, aguas frescas and ice cold watermelon, expect this event to be packed. Tunes provided by DJ Boyfriends, and there will be El Chilito gift cards given away during the party. Family friendly, dog friendly patio. While you’re there, try the frozen sangria. It will become your Austin summer soother.

La Mancha (2203 Hancock Dr.) has its normal bargain of a Taco Tuesday special: $2 tacos at lunch, and happy hour from 3pm – 6pm. That translates to $3 house margaritas, $4 sangria ritas, well drinks are $3.50, and beer will run you $3 or less. Casamigos Tequila will be conducting a sampling, and there will be giveaways. La Mancha is super family-friendly, and one thing I love on their kids’ menu is the Veg & Queso entree. Steamed veggies are served with a side of queso for dipping, rice and beans. Queso is now a gateway drug to good nutrition. Eat your veggies, child!

Uber has teamed up with Vivo, Fork & Taco, Taco Flats and Curra’s Grill to promote responsible Cinco de Mayo partying. Ride Uber to any of the four restaurants and show your receipt for $1 margaritas. Vivo‘s Cinco menu includes 2 for $4 tacos (choose from shrimp, spinach, carnitas, mushroom, and more), $2 beers, and $5 brisket tortas.

At mi casa, we’ll celebrate Mexico’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla with enchiladas, rice and beans. Perhaps I’ll mix up a batch of margaritas, and toast General Ignacio Zaragoza SeguĂ­n, and his famous quote, “Las armas nacionales se han cubierto de gloria.”

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