Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cinco de Mayo: Fiesta on the Brink of Summer

Cinco de Mayo: Fiesta on the Brink of Summer

Reennactment in the city of Puebla, Mexico Photo: Eduardo Verdugo, AP

Cinco de Drinko. Drinko de Mayo.  Whichever you call it, Saturday was a day for feasting and drinking.   For many it is a "drinking holiday" just like St. Patrick's Day, where anyone feels right scarfing nachos and slamming tequila shots.  

Un poco de historia...

Not be confused with Mexican Independence Day (September 16th), Cinco de Mayo commemoratess the 1861 Battle of Puebla, in which Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza drove the occupying French from the city of Puebla, in a symbolic win for the liberal Mexican government.  Cinco de Mayo became popular in the US in the 1960's during the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, and has since become a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.




Back to the food...

Just off Franklin Ave. in Los Feliz, a good friend's parents held a last-minute fiesta on their front porch, a great place for conversation. (Anne Stothard thinks so, too!)   On the menu: tacos, guacamole, beer, and tequila.  As I arrived my friend Julia was busy de-pitting avocados and mincing garlic.  Grillmaster Richard was prepping the grill for the array of meats.  There is no rest for the vegetarian at this house.  There was Flank Steak, Argentinian & Mexican Chorizo, and Carnitas al Pastor.

Al Pastor means "shepherd style" and is a Shawarma-inspired spice mix adapted by Lebanese immigrants in Mexico.  The recipe includes roasting the meat with pineapple, leaving it to marinate for days, making the meat sweet, acidic, and ohh so tender.  Our batches were purchased for $2.99/lb at the Produce for Less Market on Melrose.  It's just one of the thousands of mercados and carnicerias scattered across Los Angeles.

We warmed up on Cerveza and shots of Tequila Reposado.  We snacked on slices of chorizo covered in lime juice and chopped cilantro.  After I assisted with the grilling of the flour tortillas, we ate.  Freshly grilled meat, smooth avocado, and the cool spiciness of mango salsa always makes a pleasant bite.  Que bueno!  To the first of many cookouts this season!

Photo credit: Salman Jafri

To the brink...

There's a mystery to this time of year.  Just before the heat of summer,  the wind blows the scents of burning charcoal, rosemary, and jacaranda blossoms down LA sidewalks.  Driving towards Downtown after dinner, with the orange Supermoon rising over the metropolis, I could already feel the bittersweet hope of summertime. 


1 comment:

  1. I loooove Chorizo. Sadly, it's very hard to find on the East Coast (well, at least GOOD Chorizo), so I usually end up paying out the nose for it. Now granted, I've only ever had REAL Chorizo once (so I've been told) when I was in Texas. I guess that's what I get for considering Chi-Chi's "authentic" Mexican cuisine...