Your Guide to the Guides: Cinco De Mayo
Photo by maveric2003 via Flickr
Know the Basics
Totally uncertain what Cinco de Mayo is about? Not sure how to celebrate? Fear not, grasshopper. Start with some fun facts, including that Cinco de Mayo is more popular in the US than in Mexico, Mexican Independence Day is actually in September, and Vancouver, Canada is home to an unusual Cinco de Mayo tradition. You can dazzle your friends with this info when you meet up to celebrate here in Los Angeles. And if how to do that stumps you, we feel a little sorry for you, but can direct you to the eHow page for this very matter. Hint: Go out and eat and drink.
Food and Drink
If you're venturing out to eat tonight at a Mexican restaurant, be prepared for crowds and chaos. That said, the LA Weekly's Squid Ink blog has a respectable roundup of beloved restaurants, like perennial faves El Cholo, El Compadre, Loteria, and more. One guide you can skip, though, is the poorly curated Ole!: The Haute 5 Mexican Restaurants in Los Angeles which, despite being published on the Haute Living blog, features delicious but totally non-gourmet picks, including a couple the Squid Ink-ers cover. For the basics of restaurants and margaritas (and a few bonus event listings) hit up Citysearch.
Not all eating and drinking needs to be done at home, though. The Pasadena Star-News ventured into the Valley to talk to Christina Vega Fowler, who is the daughter of Rafael, "Ray" Vega, founder/owner Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks. She's got 5 steps to a tradtional fiesta, which includes recipes for some Mexican celebration basics, like guacamole, chicken fajitas, and margaritas.
Basically, we have one word of advice: Mariachi. There are hundreds of mariachi bands in Los Angeles, many of which will be out in full force tonight at restaurants and events. Yelp has an index of where to find some, but if you're feeling more academic, a man named Bob Diaz has the most staggering resource page you can imagine.
Well, it's a Wednesday, which means the really big events are taking place this weekend, or they happened already. If you've absolutely got to get out and experience comunidad today, head to Olvera Street. Most of today's events are food-and-drink-centric (see above).
If you do head out tonight, and if you plan on drinking, be smart and take public transit, program some taxi company numbers into your phone, or have a designated driver. The LAPD isn't messing around tonight and this weekend when it comes to drunk drivers.