Although founded as a Mexican holiday celebrating their 1862 victory over the French, in America, Cinco de Mayo has become a day to celebrate Mexican culture. More specifically, the day honors the food and libations of our southern neighbor. From authentic Mexican meals to gringo-ized bar crawls, there is something for everyone this May 5th.
First, head to SideBAR's (120 East 15th Street) May 4th guacamole-making party. A professional chef will teach you the tricks to whipping up an authentic and outstanding avocado dip. Make an unique fusion from an assortment of ingredients to serve at your own pre- or après- Cinco de Mayo fiesta.
On May 5th, indulge in La Palapa's (77 Saint Mark's Place or 359 Sixth Avenue) home-style Mexican dishes. The holiday special, Chiles en Nogada (walnut sauce), is a dish rarely seen on menus but common in home kitchens.
Lively festivities at Mercadito (172 Avenue B or 100 Seventh Avenue South) and Rosa Mexicano (Lincoln Center) include mariachi music, tacos, tostados, and family-style dinners. Win a month of free food at Baja Fresh by downing their Dos Manos Burrito in its entirety in 10 minutes. The burrito eating contest will be held at their midtown locations (1441 Broadway and 465 Lexington) at 5pm on May 5 (but you need to pre-qualify, so visit ahead of time for details).
Nearly all of Manhattan's bars offer some tip to the holiday, but to keep things festive, join the Upper West Side Pub Crawl. Each bar has a different special for the event, which begins at noon and goes all night long. Some participants are SideBAR, Village Pourhouse, and Disco Sushi.