Join restaurants around the Grand Valley with specials to celebrate Cinco de Mayo
Whether or not you visit the Cinco de Mayo celebration Saturday, May 1, in downtown Grand Junction, you can create a little fiesta on your own.
With dozens of Mexican restaurants in the Grand Valley, the possibilities are rich.
Denver claims to have one of the largest Cinco de Mayo festivals in the United States, second only to Los Angeles. During the first week of May in Denver, you can’t miss it.
Hundreds of thousands of people parade and cruise along Federal Boulevard and dance, nosh and drink for days on end.
On St. Patrick’s Day, everybody’s Irish. On Cinco de Mayo, everybody can enjoy the spicy-hot culture of Mexico.
Cinco de Mayo is often confused with Mexican Independence Day, but in fact it celebrates the victory of the Mexico army over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Other than in the state of Puebla in Mexico, it is a bigger holiday in the United States than it is south of the border. It’s become an ode to Mexican heritage and culture.
Here is just a sampling of the Latino fare available in the valley:
On the Redlands, Dos Hombres Mexican Restaurant is rolling out its spring and summer menu. On May 5, it’s offering Dos Equis draft amber for half price and $1 off all Mexican bottled beer.
Bar manager Jake Sigle recommends the $3.50 Mexican mudslide, a combo of Patron coffee liqueur, vodka and ice cream.
Dos Hombres serves 30 different kinds of tequila. Sigle and his barkeeps can guide you on a tour of regional tequilas, off the beaten path from Cuervo and Patron.
New from the kitchen, iron pot appetizers: Bean, seven-layer or nacho taste-teasers cooked and served in an iron pot.
Los Marias Mexican Restaurant: Run by a mother/daughter team, both named Maria, the spot is known in Grand Junction for its green chile.
Rather than using jalapenos, Los Marias makes it New Mexico style with Anaheim green chiles from Hatch, N.M., co-owner Maria Maestas said. Maestas promises a special plate on May 5.
Paco’s Tacos: The most-asked-for food is the Navajo taco made with Native American fry bread and stuffed with beans, ground beef and covered in green and/or red chile.
In New Mexico, they call the green-red combination Christmas chile and the legislature made “red or green?” the official state question.
At Taqueria Guadalajara, they brag about horchata, a cold, sweet drink made of rice milk, cinnamon and sugar.
Leon’s Taqueria: Customer favorites are the beefy carne asada and the devilishly hot shrimp dish, camerones al a diabla.
Panchero’s Mexican Grill: Staffer Kevin Smith recommends his personal favorite, shredded pork carnitas.
Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant: Buy a margarita during happy hour, 2–6 p.m., and get the second one free.
Aztecas Family Mexican Restaurant: The best-selling item is a margarita. The most popular food item is the fajitas.
The May 5 special is $2.25 bottles of American beer (go figure).
El Tapatia: My favorite Mexican place ... so far. You can have it all with the Tapatia special, grilled chicken, carne asada and bacon rolled shrimp.
For the more adventurous, the Mexican-style tacos include the beef tongue taco lengua or taco buche, pork stomach.
Everything is served with Mexican slaw and loads of fresh cilantro.
SIPS FROM MEXICO: Top-shelf Patron Silver tequila is $35.99 at Crossroads Wine & Spirits.
But ask at the front counter and they recommend a new tequila brand on their shelves, the oak barrel-aged Zapopan Reposado, $15.99.
It is cheaper than the ubiquitous Cuervo, and it’s gotten rave reviews from their customers.
YOUR FAVORITE: What is your favorite Mexican restaurant in the Grand Valley? Best tacos? Best authentic fare? Where do you go with the whole family?
HALF-DOZEN BEAUTIES: Forbes magazine rates these the top six tequilas:
El Tesoro Silver
Sauza Tres Generaciones Plata
El Patron Anejo
Del Maguey Mescal Santo Domingo Albarradas
QUOTE: Do vegetarians eat animal crackers? — Author unknown