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Food

Late Night Eats: Cinco De Mayo

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I love Tito’s Tacos, and you love Tito’s too. The lyrics to their jingle could not be more true. Everyone loves Tito’s, that’s why you always have to wait in line for at least thirty minutes before you can even order. Tito’s is an establishment, a landmark, which is why we deal with all the crowds and chaos when we eat there. But why am I talking about Tito’s Tacos, which closes at 11:30 PM, when this is a Late Night Eats post? The answer is simple my friends. Right next door to Tito’s is the lesser-known and equally loveable Cinco De Mayo. This Mexican food stand has no lines, a huge menu, kitschy but fun décor, and is open 24 hours a day. Cinco De Mayo may not have the fame and glory of Tito’s, but it does have everything else. So maybe the song should go “I love Cinco De Mayo, you love Cinco too!”

Continue reading about the wonders of Cinco De Mayo after the jump!

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Cinco De Mayo has the biggest menu ever. I kid you not. The stand may be tiny but they serve up over 100 dishes twenty-four hours a day, including breakfasts, burritos, tacos, tortas, seafood, tamales, enchiladas, chile rellenos, pupusas, and even hamburgers. Yes, even breakfasts! If you order a burrito, taco or torta you have a bevy of protein choices like carnitas, al pastor, chicharron, carne asada, fish, lengua (tongue), and cabeza (head/cheeks). Or you could get a shrimp, abalone or octopus cocktail. And while you might think, “hrmmm a little, ‘hole-in-the-wall’ Mexican stand might not be the safest place to order seafood” let me tell you that I have tried their shrimp cocktail and it is delicious. And what’s more, is that it stayed comfortably in my tummy.

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Yes, the menu is so vast that it can be hard to figure out what you want. Hopefully I can give you some “what to order” pointers. See with a menu so grand, often times not everything is delicious. Let’s face it, what cook can make 100+ items all equally fabulous? The result is that some food at Cinco is tremendous, while other dishes leave something to be desired. For me, the egg dishes rule! I love breakfasts, especially late at night. And Cinco’s Huevos Rancheros and Spanish Cheese Omelet rock. Served with yummy rice, cheesy refried beans, tortillas, and salad, their breakfasts are a totally satisfying meal at any time of day. Their tortas—particularly their al pastor tortas—are another tasty treat. Served up like a hero sandwich, these tortas are sloppy but oh-so decadent.

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On the other hand, their burritos are fine, but not the best I’ve ever had. And the cheese tamale I ordered was pretty awful—totally dry and over cooked. What a shame. The key to eating at Cinco is this: try multiple things, and keep an open mind. If you don’t like what you ordered, I guarantee there is something on the menu that you will like. And, once you find that dish that makes your taste-buds sing, order it over and over again!

Cinco’s atmosphere is relaxed and eclectic. The walls display the aforementioned, incredibly large menu, as well of photos of many of their popular dishes. People of all ages, sizes, and ethnicities sit at the formica picnic tables. There are always a few people eating, but the place is never crowded. The mood is never fervent, which makes it a nice place to stop by after a loud and crazy night.

Now there isn’t much nightlife nearby, but Cinco De Mayo is right off the 405. So, you just might pass by Cinco on your way home from a club or party. Cinco’s location isn’t the only thing that makes it convenient. They have a large parking lot behind the stand, which always has spaces available. It’s virtually stress free compared to the bumper car rink that is the Tito’s lot.

All in all, Cinco De Mayo has a wide variety of good food and a great deal of character to offer. The antithesis of it’s famed neighbor, Tito’s Tacos, Cinco has no crowds, easy parking, a gigantic menu and is open all day and all night. Next time you get a Tito’s craving, or want west-side Mexican food at 3:00 AM, you should definitely give Cinco De Mayo a try. It’s always a fun experience, and is always very easy on your wallet. Remember, I love Cinco De Mayo and you’ll love Cinco too!

Cinco De Mayo
11204 Washington Pl
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 391-5354
24 hours a day
Accepts major credit cards- $10.00 minimum