Given the holiday's popularity among gringos, Cinco de Mayo might as well be celebrated in an Irish pub, at a diner, or next to a hot dog stand. In fact, it often is. Even a French bistro would be quite appropriate. Why? Because Cinco de Mayo (not “the Mexican version of Independence Day,” as a transplant in San Francisco's Mission District once informed us) commemorates Ignacio Zaragoza's May 5, 1862 defeat of French occupying forces led by “emperor” Maximilian. While the French occupation of Mexico continued on for another five years (at which point, Maximilian was executed), this scrap, the Battle of Pueblo, boosted morale considerably.
Morale will be high on the streets of Los Angeles this evening as well, largely because much of the population will be bandy-legged on bottomless margaritas, tequila shots, and discount tacos, not necessarily the glow of victory.
We're not going to advise you to dive into some gaudy sombrero-crowned scrum in the interest of securing a few deals. No, that's not us. If you're into crowds, head to Olvera St. You may also be inclined to visit one of Border Grill's locations for $5 margaritas, $3 tacos, and $5 quesadillas. The truck will be at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, dishing up ceviche and quinoa fritters to match the free music and art workshops. Still, if you're just inspired to eat Mexican food of some ilk, you could stop by Tacos Baja Ensenada for fish tacos, El Borrego de Oro for pit-roasted mutton, or Tinga for a sloppy, fantastic pork loin torta–and pray that holiday-minded revelers will let you eat in peace.
Or scuttle convention altogether, and head over to Comme Ça and tuck into a plate of steak-frites. Wash it down with a jug of Côtes du Rhône, and savor the flavor of defeat, French-style.