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Our Ultimate Guide to Cinco de Mayo

We may have mentioned before that something like 90% of the bad decisions we’ve made in life have been fueled by tequila.  What’s more, many of those tequila-fueled bad decisions have involved the stuffing of our faces with Mexican food past the hour of 2 a.m.  So, it should come as no surprise that Cinco de Mayo is a holiday we love more than the Fourth of July, Halloween, and Christmas combined, given it provides for a solid excuse to drink too much tequila while ensuring there’s Mexican food no more than a stone’s throw away. This year, Cinco falls on a Saturday, which is whoever-you-believe-runs-the-universe’s way of telling us we should get extra stupid this go-round.  Here’s how: 

Start the festivities off with a little pre-party Friday night via Lucha Va Voom at The Mayan downtown.  You can wait until Saturday night to attend, but those of us who are honest with ourselves know we’ll be too drunk.  

For Saturday proper, there are so many options that we truly hope you can bamboozle a pregnant friend into chauffeuring.  In no particular order, our favorites are as follows: 

Pink Taco, Sunset -- The Century City location is also partying it up on Saturday, but Cinco marks the soft opening of the new Sunset location.  Festivities begin at 11:30 a.m. and include drink specials, the requisite mariachis and luchadores, DJ’s, and some giveaways. 

El Carmen -- This Mexican mainstay will open at 12 p.m., a full seven hours earlier than usual, with happy hour prices ($5 margaritas, $6 combo plates, etc.) on offer from 12-3 p.m.  There will, of course, also be mariachis and luchadores on hand to annoy/entertain you. 

Mercado -- While there are few things riskier than untested Mexican food, we’re pretty sure you can trust the goods at Santa Monica’s newly-opened Mercado. On the 5th, they’ll be offering $6 margaritas and $3 beers from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. 

La Cuevita (The Little Cave) -- This is another newbie, and we feel that Saturday is the perfect excuse to check it out (providing that your pregnant DD is willing to drive you downtown).  To further entice you in their direction, The Little Cave will be offering $2 Tecates Thursday through Sunday and FREE tacos all weekend.  

Tortilla Republic -- If you can’t make it downtown or to the beach but are still looking to try something on the newer side, swing by WeHo’s Tortilla Republic. They’ll be hosting a fiesta from 12-5 p.m., with specially priced margaritas, a DJ, and a Cinco de Mayo menu of Mexican small plates.  At 6 p.m., their regular dinner service will commence, but with optional tequila pairings -- sounds like a semi-civilized way to get schmammered, should that be your cup of tea(quila). 

Baja Cantina in Marina del Rey -- This spot is always hopping on the weekends, but this Saturday prepare for pure madness as they’re planning a massive party starting at noon.  Cover is $15, but expect to find lots of boozy deals both inside and spilling out into the parking lot.  We once got can-no-longer-drive drunk from a margi here, so beware! 

Red O --  We’ve mentioned before how fond we are of Red O’s spicy margaritas, but the Mexican hot spot can be a bit pricey.  This Saturday, however, Red O is celebrating with a Street Food Social Hour from 3-6 p.m.  This special happy hour will include specially priced items from the menu as well as $8 margaritas, $7 wines, and $5 craft beers. If you can't motivate to leave your house (or you don't have a pregnant friend willing to drive you around), try making Red O's La Esmeralda cocktail at home using this recipe

Tequila 101 -- Get an education at Public 612, with four courses of tequila and food pairings (whatever Lengua Gordita with Salsa Quemada is, we want it!). Tickets are $40, but the hangover-free Sunday provided by the high-quality tequila will be well worth the price.  

Los Lobos Festival -- Personally, we’d prefer to have a few daytime margaritas and pass out before the sun even goes down on Saturday, but if you’re feeling more ambitious than that we suggest you snag tickets to see Alejandro Escovedo, Los Lobos, and Mariachi El Bronx play The Greek that night.  Remember, however, that drinks aren’t included in the $48 tickets, so be prepared to smuggle a flask of Cuervo in your *sombrero.  

For those of you who don’t believe that Sunday should be a day of rest, here are a few options for getting a little hair of the dog this Domingo:   

El Coyote -- El Coyote has dubbed May 6th “Hangover Day” and is offering drink and food specials to help you out with your pounding head.  One such special includes a hamburger topped with carnitas and jalapenos -- however good that may sound in the moment, we urge you not to do it.  You’ll thank us come Monday.   

Casa Vega -- This Valley favorite will be offering a Seis de Mayo brunch starting at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.  Pair your Huevos Rancheros with Casa Vega’s signature Bloody Marias for just $5. 

*Dont. Actually. Rock. A. Sombrero. 

May 02, 2012 - 08:40 AM

cheap drinks, cheap eats, holidays, Cinco de Mayo
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