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“The Strong Buzz Guide to Cinco de Mayo”

New Yorkers love to brag about the Big Apple’s overflow of cultures, languages and international vibe. We like to celebrate them even more! Cinco de Mayo is your latest excuse to party. But before you gear up for fiesta mode, here’s a two-second history lesson: Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo because on that fateful day in 1862 their overmatched army kicked out the French and claimed independence. So now that you know why you’re celebrating, The Strong Buzz team has put together a list of places where you can find the tequila flowing and chefs turning out tacos and much more.

You’ve survived a brutal winter and paid your taxes by now. And with spring-time weather finally creeping into the forecast with summer just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

—Bao Ong


Where: 50 Carmine St. (at Bedford), 212-929-5050, www.cabritonyc.com

On the menu: There’s double the reason to celebrate at Cabrito on May 5 this year — not only is it Cinco de Mayo but this West Village hot spot’s one-year anniversary falls on the same day. With Chef David Schuttenberg’s lead in the kitchen, Cabrito’s Mexican street food has garnered great reviews. You can take advantage of the $9 brunch drink specials (Bloody Mary’s, sangrias or mimosas) at lunch. If that’s too early, the Cinco de Mayo happy hour kicks off at 4 p.m. with $5 margaritas, $3 Coronas and $3 pints/$12 pitchers of Dos Equis. You’ll want some food, so take a look at the special street food menu that includes assorted tacos, flautas and tostada. Drink tokens will also be handed out during happy hour and can be redeemed when the fiesta starts at 9 p.m. — you’re more than welcome to stay all day. The “Nuevo Paseo,” a special cocktail, makes its debut at 9 p.m. and hourly raffles will award winners with four shots of tequila. Then comes time to whack two piñatas with the Mexican hip hop and rock ‘n roll blaring in the background. Enjoy!

Toloache Bistro Mexicano & Tequila Bar

Where: 251 W. 50th St. (between Eight Ave. and Broadway), 212-581-1818, http://toloachnyc.com

On the Menu: Start off your Cinco de Mayo right with a “Margarita Cinco” (1921 Blanco tequila, Grand Marnier and fresh lime juiec) at Toloache Bistro’s “Mariachis & Mole on Cinco de Mayo” event. Chef Julian Media, a Mexico City native, aims to throw a festive, family-style party. Besides a heaping whole-roasted chicken with mole Poblano and sweet plantains ($32), other family-style entrees include pescado a la Talla ($38; a whole three-pound wild sea bass marinated in adobo with a side of jicama chipotle slaw) and alambre de carne asada ($39; sliced skirt steak with poblano peppers, red onion and Chihuahua cheese). This celebration starts at 5 p.m. and ends at 11 p.m. with a live mariachi music starting at 7 p.m.

Rosa Mexicano

Where: There are three locations in Manhattan. 1063 First Ave. (at 58th St.), 212-753-7407; 61 Columbus Ave. (at 62nd St.), 212-977-7700; 9 E. 18th St. (between Fifth Ave. and Broadway), 212-533-3350; www.rosamexicano.com

On the menu: Rosa Mexicano is putting a spin on Cinco de Mayo this year. You’re invited to don a creative costume for giveaways and prizes (the first 200 showing up in costume can down a shot of tequila on the house). All day long you can enjoy fresh fruit-muddled strawberry, mango and lime margaritas made at your tableside to order — with your choice of silver, reposado or anejo tequila. Known for its modern and upscale take on Mexican food, Rosa Mexicana’s Cinco de Mayo menu includes shrimp quesadillas made with garlic and guajillo chile and chile ancho rellano, ancho chiles stuffed with slow-cooked marinated pork. Tequila? Good food? Sounds like a recipe for fun to us.


Where: 265 Elizabeth St. (between Prince and Houston streets), 212-334-2426, www.elizabethny.com.

On the menu: Bring your roll of quarters set aside for your weekend laundry to Elizabeth on Cinco de Mayo. It’ll be a 50 cent festival — shots of Tanteo tequila, tacos and tequila-flavored sorbets! Mixologist Somer Perez will also create $5 Tanteo cocktails such as a “berry spicy smash” (Tanteo jalapeno tequila, mixed berry puree, lime juice, Cointreau) and “tequila lowrise” (a mix of tropical tequila with a bunch of citrus fruits). The reason for the good deal? The team behind Elizabeth wants to recognize the many employees of Mexican descent who cook and work in NYC kitchens. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. and ends with a piñata breaking at 7 p.m. Cash only.

La Palapa

Where: Two locations. In the West Village at 359 Sixth Ave. (between West Fourth St. and Washington Place), 212-243-6870 and the East Village at 77 St. Mark’s Place (between First and Second avenues), 212-777-2537. www.lapalapa.com

On the menu: La Palapa’s Cinco de Mayo mantra? Viva Mexico! Every day between May 1st and 5th, you can celebrate the Mexican independence day from noon until midnight. La Palapa celebrates cocina Mexicana with a menu revolving around the Mexican flag’s three colors: red, white and green. You can order the la bandera de tequila (a trio of shots in colors) or sample the ceviche blanco de camaron y coco (fresh shrimp with a spicy salsa of fresh coconut, gooseberries, green tomatillo, red tomato and chile serrano). A favorite spot for Mexican food, La Palapa is sure to help you celebrate the Mexican national holiday with good food and drinks.

Flatbush Farm (Sunday, May 3 event)

Where: 76-78 St. Marks Ave. at Flatbush in Brooklyn, 718-622-3267, flatbushfarm@gmail.com

On the menu: Flatbush Farm is known for its BBQs, parties, music and drinks. It doesn’t hurt that you can enjoy an outdoor garden patio through it all. On Sunday, May 3 from 4 to 7 p.m., Chef Stephen Browning will serve up a Mexican BBQ menu for Cinco de Mayo featuring carne asada skewers, posole (hominy stew), beef tongue tacos, vegetarian quesadillas, tangy homemade guacamole and the traveling mariachi band Los Coctnaros to top it off. It’s bound to be one of the most festive Cinco de Mayo gatherings in Brooklyn.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! READ IT AND EAT!

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