During my days in advertising, both in OC and LA, Cinco de Mayo was a day when we went into work but we were all in the mood to party instead. Sometimes we skipped work to celebrate early. Hey, when your boss is the one passing around the tequila poppers, you pretty much had a hall pass. Southern California on May 5th always had an "ice-cold-Pacifico-margarita-on-the-rocks-with-salt-mariachi-band" feeling to it. For anyone not familiar, it's like Chicago on St. Patrick's Day. Ahhhh - you know what I mean? The feeling of cheerfulness all day long.
Since I haven't been in So Cal for the last 18 Cinco de Mayos, I try to do my best to bring that feeling to wherever we live - Chicago, Fort Lauderdale and now Minneapolis. This day REALLY matters to my family because it's my hub's birthday - born and raised in LA. Exactly a week and three years ago from today I hired a taco truck. All the neighbors and friends came out for tacos, margaritas, cake and the kids took a swing at the piñata. With the sun out and feeling the warmth (literally and figuratively), it couldn't get any better than that. Except, at the very same time, all the way out in So Cal, while we were eating tacos in Minneapolis, my nephew Colton was born into our world. AND THAT WAS THE BEST Cinco de Mayo EVER!!
Bring some fiesta spirit to your space with a thoughtful pinch. I've got two that are fun to give out to co-workers, friends, family, ANYONE. Homemade salsa and Mexican Coffee Ole. Of course a bottle of the finest tequila can be an appropriate gift also. But think easy, inexpensive pinches. For the DIY in you, try these out:
Lawry's New Taste of Mexico Mexican Coffee Ole: In a small bowl mix together 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Pour 4 mugs of freshly brewed coffee. Stir the mixture evenly into each cup and stir to dissolve . Top with whipped cream and/or a shot of brandy. Que Bueno!
Ginger Scott's Recipe for Salsa (yes, the same friend as the Irish Creme): Boil 12 tomatoes with 4-5 peeled cloves of garlic and 8 jalapeños (stems removed) until the tomato skins break. Peel the tomatoes. Blend 10 tomatoes with the garlic leaving 2 tomatoes out to blend with the jalapeños. Pour the tomato/garlic mixture in a large bowl or the pot used to boil tomatoes. Pour the tomato/ jalapeño into the same bowl. Mix with desired amount of salt. Let it cool. Chop 5 additional tomatoes and as many scallions and as much cilantro you desire (we recommend 3-5 scallions and 2 cups of cilantro). When the blended tomato mixture has cooled, toss in the chopped tomatoes, scallions and cilantro. Serve with mucho tortilla chips. Si, por favor!
*The phrase uno mas por favor - is a term used frequently when asking for another beer, another taco, another song sung by the mariachi band. It's a saying that I translate as "I'm having fun, so I want to keep on going with one more, please?" No matter where you live, making another holiday special, even if it celebrates a country you have no ties to, brings traditions and people together. Next Tuesday, 5/5/15, you can always do something thoughtful with friends and family. Have fun saying, "Uno mas por favor" - even if you're just ordering from Taco Bell.