We might associate it with mariachis and margaritas, but what is Cinco de Mayo? A little history lesson: the day commemorates the Mexican army's victory over the French in 1862’s Battle of Puebla (though Mexico was already independent from Spain, France came to take advantage of their political unrest). Though they were outnumbered and ill-equipped, the Mexican soldiers defeated the French on May 5. The country has been annually cheering the victory ever since, and this year, the fiesta falls on a Saturday. Here’s what local restaurants are doing to celebrate.
781 Seventh St., NW, 202.393.2929; Modernmexican.com
Special margaritas will represent the colors of the Mexican flag: red is frozen hibiscus, white is citrus juices and spicy rum, and green is green apple puree. Drinks range from $10 to $12. A disc jockey will spin contemporary and electronic Latin music from 6:30 PM until 1 AM.
701 14th St., NW, 202.393.3983; Ceibarestaurant.com
A four-course prix fixe menu ($39) is offered now through Saturday. The menu includes oysters baked with Parmesan, spinach and tortilla chips, herb-braised beef tips, and salmon grilled with lemon thyme topped with stewed tomatoes, capers, olives and pickled jalapenos. A specialty drink for the occasion, the Oaxacan Delight ($9), blends hibiscus lemonade and pressed sugar cane.
405 Eighth St., NW, 202.393.0812; Cafeatlantico.com
Special dishes highlighting avocados–tuna ceviche wrapped in avocado; baked avocado; even chocolate cake with avocado and passionfruit–are on the menu now through Saturday.
Mie N Yu
3125 M St., NW, 202.333.6122; Mienyu.com
Tonight (Thursday), a $35 Mexican beer (Modelo Especial, Negro Modelo) and tequila tasting (Cielo Blanco, Gran Centenario Reposado) includes appetizers. Buy three tickets and the fourth is free.
575 7th St., NW, 202.783.5522; Rosamexicano.com
Special dishes, including crema de chicharos (spring pea soup with dried shrimp fritters and cilantro salsa) and empanadas de langosta (lobster-filled empanadas with avocado-tomatillo salsa), show up Saturday at brunch and carry on throughout dinner. A mariachi band performs at night.
648 Elden St., Herndon; 703.471.1156; Thetortillafactory.com
On Saturday, they're discounting a handful of entrees by $1, and margaritas will be $1 off starting at 5 PM.
1727 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703.807.0840; Waheeyo.com
Free tequila shots, jello shots, and even tee-shirts will be passed out to diners.
Taqueria el Poblano
2503A N. Harrison St., Arlington; 703.237.8250; Taqueriapoblano.com
Saturday menu additions include crab quesadillas, pork tamales, and grilled mahi mahi ($11.95 to $13.95).
4515 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202.686.3588; 8130 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301.656.0888; Guaposrestaurant.com
At the Tenley and Bethesda locations of this Tex-Mex chainlet, celebrations are on Friday and Saturday. In DC, Mexican beers will be on special–and Corona girls will be hanging out–and gold margaritas will be $2 off. Saturday, a mariachi band will play from 4 PM until closing, and a DJ will spin on the second floor from 7 PM until closing. In Bethesda, most appetizers will be half-price and you can mix-and-match any five beers into a bucket for $20. Expect a DJ and karaoke tunes from 7 PM until closing.