Recalling the 1862 Battle of Puebla happens in myriad ways around Southern California come the fifth of May each and every year, with some revelers wanting to ponder the historic beginnings of the celebration, with remembrances of Mexico besting French forces, and some revelers looking to the cultural, arts, and edibles side of the soiree.
Wherever you land, you're in the land of plentiful Cinco de Mayo parties, festivities that encompass the dance and spirit and history of the day. Absolutely, margaritas, that beverage most associated with springtime holiday, will be on the flow, but you can make for El Pueblo for a richer approach to what the holiday represents.
And, yes, for sure, Olvera Street serves up some excellent tequila-based libations.
Where will you be, day or night, on Tuesday, May 5?
Olvera Street: The party starts a few days ahead of Cinco in this 18th-century quarter, with dance, carnival rides, so much music, and the chance to swing by beloved cantinas like Los Golondrinas for a margarita on the rocks, with salt. The Cinco celebrations are set to run from 10 a.m. to 10 at night.
Gracias Madre: Ready to nosh upon sprightly appetizers priced at five bucks all day long on May 5? This Melrose outpost has 'em. Look for guac and chips, an empanada stuffed with roasted root vegetables, and sweet potato flautas. Also look for $10 Tequila Mule Snow Cone. Tequila. In a snow cone. Who says childhood treats are enjoyed into adulthood as well?
Border Grill: Looking for a patio-based pig roast on May 5? The downtown Border Grill will be going that route, as well as serving $5 margaritas. If you're at the Santa Monica restaurant, you can plunk that fiver down and get a sangria. No pig roast there, but plenty of food specials for the holiday.
Longitude Bar + Restaurant: Another Santa Monica spot is going a different route for Cinco in terms of what's in the margaritas. "Ghost peppers" is the correct answer, if you head for Le Meridien. Called "excruciatingly spicy," you'll need to sign a waiver before the bartender will slide it your way. This is true.
Mercado Restaurant: The boutique tequila-posh chain is dubbing Cinco de Mayo the "party of the year," with specials aplenty that'll be on discount all day on May 5 (and not just during happy hour). Carnitas tacos are eight bucks, a Reposado shot is seven, and you may, if you want to secure a table in Santa Monica, West Third, or Tinseltown, best get on the horn pronto, Cinco revelers.