Cinco de Mayo gets bigger every year in America, but it’s sporadically celebrated in Mexico. The holiday commemorates the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, a Mexican victory against French invaders, but the battle was the beginning rather than the end of a war that resulted—for a while—in defeat for Mexico. No matter: Americans have seized the chance to celebrate Mexican traditions—and beverages—every year. Scroll on for a Sarasota guide to drinking, eating and partying in honor of our neighbors south of the border.
Find the Fun
Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce’s Cinco de Mayo Taste of Latin America, Bradenton
The biggest and best Cinco de Mayo party has to be the Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce’s annual event on Sunday, May 4. Thousands of people flood Bradenton’s McKechnie Field for a full day of food, music, games and more. Olé! latinchamber.com or call (941) 580-2169.
Mattison’s Cinco de Mayo dinner specials, downtown Sarasota
Mattison’s City Grille offers Cinco de Mayo dinner specials from 5-10 p.m.—think Aztec shrimp soup, fish tacos, burritos, quesadillas, ranchero steak and more—along with live music and margarita and drink specials. For more information, go to mattisons.com or call (941) 330-0440.
Two Senoritas Cinco de Mayo party, downtown Sarasota
Drink specials, lunch and dinner specials, prizes, giveaways and the opportunity to party until 2 a.m.? Count us in! Now in its 20th year of celebrating Cinco de Mayo, downtown Sarasota’s Two Senoritas sees thousands of people over the course of the day (their busiest of the year). twosenoritas.com; (941) 366-1678.
Tomatillo’s Fresh Mex Cinco de Mayo party, Venice
Mexican food, a 45-foot-long bounce house for kids and a DJ spinning all afternoon are just part of the fun—Tomatillo’s Fresh Mex’s Cinco de Mayo party also promises a free beer tasting for adults, raffles and giveaways and free nachos and salsa. tomatillosfreshmex.com; (941) 412-4832.
Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant Cinco de Mayo party, Sarasota, Venice and University Parkway
This annual party promises a band, margarita and other drink specials and delicious food—and last year the festivities at the University Parkway location also included a mechanical bull, bounce house and burro-pony rides.You’re sure to find just as much fun—and more—at any of the restaurant’s three locations this year. mipueblomexican.com
A Cozumel recipe for gussied-up guac.
Rov Avila, executive chef of YachtSea Grille in Bradenton, shares his personal recipe for guacamole—though he admits it’s gussied up a bit from traditional guac: “‘Authentic’ [guacamole] is a lot simpler,” he says. “Avocado, onion, lime, salt.”
And don’t be intimidated by the amount of lime juice, he adds: “Once you mix in the avocados and the heavy cream, it will even out the flavor. The heavy cream is used as an anti-browning agent for the avocado. That was a tip that I got from a lady in Cozumel, so it can’t get more authentic than that.”
Chef Rov’s Guacamole
1-2 ripe Florida avocados (3 Hass avocados)
Pico de gallo (recipe follows)
Pico de Gallo
4 plum tomatoes, diced
½ small red onion, chopped
1clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
3 limes, juiced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Cut avocados in half and, using a spoon, scoop all avocado from peel and place in bowl. Using a fork or slotted kitchen spoon, mash avocado until a creamy consistency is obtained. Add the heavy cream and pico de gallo and mix thoroughly. If needed, adjust flavor with additional salt and pepper.
Do the Math
Number of U.S. tortilla-manufacturing establishments in 2010 (116 are in Texas). Tortillas—beloved by the Aztecs—are known as the bread of Mexico.
Number of U.S. businesses owned by Mexicans as of 2007 (accounting for 45.8 percent of all Hispanic-owned firms—the leader in all Hispanic subgroups).
Number of U.S. residents of Mexican descent.
Percentage of Sarasota residents who are of Hispanic or Latino descent.
The value of total goods traded between the U.S. and Mexico in 2012. Mexico was the United States’ third-highest trading partner after Canada and China, with crude oil being the main import from Mexico in 2012.
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This article appears in the May 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine. Like what you read? Click here to subscribe. >>