Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexican Independence Day—it’s actually the commemoration of a smaller victory: the Mexican army’s defeat of the French in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. Interestingly, the holiday isn’t that big a deal throughout Mexico. In fact, the day is more popularly celebrated here in L.A., where festivities have extended beyond Mexican-American communities over the years, giving Angelenos of all stripes a great excuse to get stuffed on tacos and drink muchas cervezas. Here’s a list of some of great places to celebrate next Tuesday.
Petty Cash Taqueria
Not just one, but five days of Cinco de Mayo will be going off at Petty Cash Taqueria, starting this Friday. Festivities will include specialty cocktails, events, and tastings. For the grand finale on Tuesday, they’ll open their doors at noon and launch their secret Instagram menu. There will also be a DJ and adult balloon man in the evening. Los Angeles magazine’s own Bill Esparza will be hosting a tequila tasting on Monday, May 4, from 6-9 p.m..
Petty Cash Taqueria, 7360 Beverly Blvd., 323-933-5300; find out about that secret menu on their Instagram.
Chef Jimmy Shaw will be celebrating with his new Taco About Tuesdays program, which launched this week. The Tuesday specials are served family-style–dishes like chicken al pastor with crispy potato skins, stewed red onions, and pineapple are placed at the center of the table along with tortillas and all the fixin’s. The Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Studio City locations will also host live mariachi music.
Loteria Grill has many locations. Check their website to find the location nearest you.
Mercado’s three locations will offer all-day food and drink specials. Margaritas, beer, and a special Cinco de Mayo cocktail will be available as well as nachos, carnitas tacos, tamales, and their decadent Choriqueso dip. Reservations are recommended.
Mercado, 1416 Fourth St., Santa Monica, 310-526-7121; 7910 W. Third St., 323-944-0947; 3413 Cahuenga Blvd. W., 323-512-2500
La Monarca Bakery
If drinking margaritas isn’t quite your thing, you can get a different kind of tequila fix at La Monarca. The bakery, which has locations from Boyle Heights to Santa Monica, will be serving a Tequila Lime Cake, with tequila-infused vanilla sponge cake layered with vanilla chantilly cream and lime zest. Meringue and toasted coconut flakes top it off. The cake is seasonal and usually only available during the summer months, so it’s recommended that you pre-order full cakes. Slices will also be available while they last.
La Monarca Bakery has many locations. Check their website to find the one nearest you.
The ever-expanding taco shop is playing it low-key this Cinco de Mayo while they work to open the doors of their new West Hollywood location, which, they tell us, they hope will debut by Tuesday. They are planning a little something special, though: fresh-made carnitas tacos at all locations.
Guisados has many locations. Check their website to find the one nearest you.
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo Oaxacan-style with some mole and tlayudas in Koreatown. Guelaguetza will have live music and specially priced micheladas. And don’t forget their huge selection of mezcal.
Guelaguetza, 3014 W. Olympic Blvd., 213-427-0608
Cinco de Mayo is also a five-day affair at Pez Cantina. All day long from Friday to Tuesday, the Downtown seafood restaurant will have beer, wine, margarita, and food specials. On May 5, they’ll also have live salsa music from 5-8 p.m. on their patio.
Pez Cantina, 401 South Grand Ave. (on the the first floor of the Mellon Bank building), 213-258-2280
Dia de Campo
Starting at 3 p.m., this Hermosa Beach spot will have live music, a Casamigos tequila tasting, and $1 dishes, including street corn, oysters, and build-your-own tacos. Beer will be $5, and cocktails will go for $8.
Dia de Campo, 1238 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach, 310-379-1829
Both locations of Border Grill will be running specials. In Santa Monica, they’ll have $5 sangria, tequila flights, and other specialty cocktails, plus $5 tacos. Downtown, they’re really doing it up with more drink and food deals, including a pig roast on the patio, taco station, oysters, and a ceviche bar.
Border Grill, 1445 Fourth St., Santa Monica, 310-451-1655; 445 S. Figueroa St., 213-486-5171
The Toluca Lake restaurant will be serving their Signature Margarita, featuring Arette Blanco tequila with lemon, ginger, and orange for $8 (they’re usually $10). They’ll also be doing $4 shots of tequila, $10 Tecate-tequila shots, and $5 micheladas. Selected tacos will be $2 off. If you party too hard on Tuesday, they’re running “Hair-O de Perro” (translation: hair of the dog) specials the next day to help you recover.
Cascabel, 10717 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, 818-927-4210