When asked about her plans for the Cinco de Mayo celebration, restaurateur Janet Bravo of Made in Mexico responded, “Absolutely, we’re going to celebrate. We celebrate it every year.”
The fun and lively restaurant on Main Street in Newmarket offers a Mexican getaway right here in town. “When people come into our restaurant, they want to feel like they’re on vacation,” says Bravo.
Of course, Cinco de Mayo is an extra special occasion as it brings an opportunity to celebrate the Mexican culture. Made in Mexico will feature a live Mariachi band and Mexican folk dancers, and the staff will be dressed in traditional blouses. “And there will be plenty of tequila and margaritas,” says Bravo.
Margaritas have become the signature drink of Cinco de Mayo. Traditionally a blended cocktail mix of tequila, triple sec and lime juice, served in a salt-rimmed glass, the tropical beverage now comes in many different flavours, served frozen with a tropical touch. Mojitos are also a popular drink of choice – the bartenders at Made in Mexico make everything from scratch, muddling the mint and lime to keep it deliciously fresh.
The kitchen at Made in Mexico will feature a range of traditional dishes for the celebration, including Pozole soup – a tomato-based broth with pork and hominy (Mexican style corn), topped with fresh radish, shredded lettuce, avocado and a squeeze of lime. They’ll also be doing a chocolate-based Mole, which is a smooth salsa with around 20 different ingredients. The Chiles Rellenos is another popular dish, featuring a poblano pepper roasted and stuffed with cheese, then deep-fried and topped with red salsa and sour cream.
The English translation of Cinco de Mayo literally means “five of May.” The date commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. It’s Mexico’s own tale of David versus Goliath. “They may have been small in numbers, but they were big in heart,” says Bravo, co-owner of Made in Mexico. “As a Mexican, it’s a very prideful time to celebrate this victory.” The victory became an inspiration for Mexican Americans during the American civil war and they began to celebrate the fifth of May in full Cinco de Mayo spirit.
“Cinco de Mayo – it represents unity in the Mexican community,” says Estuardo Alvarez, owner and chef of Dos Mariachis – a restaurant offering authentic Mexican cuisine and culture in Aurora. Alvarez opened the doors to Dos Mariachis only 10 months ago, after selling his Carnita Tacos and Churros at the Aurora Farmer’s Market for the last three years. Both of these signature dishes will be featured on his Cinco de Mayo menu. “Carnita Tacos are a very traditional dish in Mexico. It’s a pulled pork taco, and it’s mild,” he says. Still, most people come to Dos Mariachis for the Enchiladas (chicken wrapped in a warm tortilla blanket and smothered with cheese, green salsa, and sour cream). “That’s our most popular dish,” he says.
Finish the night with one of Alvarez’s infamous Churros – a deep-fried pastry and popular Mexican dessert. There will also be plenty of Margaritas, Pina Coladas and cold Mexican beer flowing.
Similar to St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo brings the community together to eat, drink and celebrate cultural pride. Enjoy a grand fiesta at your favourite Mexican spot.
Lynn Ogryzlo is a food, wine and travel writer, international award winning author and regular contributor to Look Local Magazine. She can be reached for questions or comments at www.lynnogryzlo.ca.
by LYNN OGRYZLO & CHARLOTTE OTTAWAY
Made in Mexico, Newmarket
Dos Mariachis, Aurora