Party in the comfort of your own casa
El pasado y presente ("The past and present")
Cinco de Mayo dates back to Mexico's victory against would-be French colonizers in the 1862 Battle of Puebla in Mexico City. French President Napoleon III, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, tried to set up a monarchy in Mexico as a way to undermine the United States, which at the time was wrapped up in the Civil War. Mexican troops at Puebla held the French army back despite being outnumbered by a ratio of three-to-one, and the Battle of Puebla became a symbol of Mexican autonomy. (Remember, May 5 isn't Mexican Independence Day — that's September 16.)
In the late 1700s, Mexican crew members of a Spanish expedition were responsible for establishing the first non-Indian settlement in Washington state, which is now Neah Bay. Mexicans have steadily migrated to Washington state since the 1850s, with a surge beginning in the 1940s due to labor shortages during World War II. To read about current Latino issues in Spanish, check out Herald sister publication La Raza NW.
Make yourself dinner
Start by checking out this Pinterest page, which has a ton of great recipes (there's also a lot of Cinco de Mayo crafting projects if you're with kids).
Herald blogger Rose McAvoy has a tasty recipe for tomatillo-apple guacamole.
For those who aren't exactly superstars in the kitchen, RealSimple.com has a list of 11 quick-and-easy taco recipes. One of them even has spaghetti in it.
If you don't feel like cooking, try takeout from Mucho Burrito on Highway 99 in Lynnwood. I recommend a burrito with chips and queso (make sure to get the orange burrito sauce). You'll be able to enter to win one of five seven-night trips to Mexico, as well as TVs, iPods and an Apple TV. Learn more here.
What to drink
Corona, Pacifico and Dos Equis are the favorites, but try a light or dark Modelo if you make a trip to the liquor store.
As for hard alcohol, here's a blue 12th Man margarita that was conceived during the 2006 Super Bowl run:
1 3/4 oz tequila
3/4 oz blue curacao
sweet and sour
2 lime halves
And this recipe for a rhubarb mezcalarita caught my eye:
1 cup rhubarb, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 shots mezcal
1/2 cup limes juice, about 4 large limes + more for garnish
If you're hosting others or just want to set the mood for your own pleasure, a little mariachi music is good place to start. MTV Iggy has a cool list of seven groups to check out, ranging from classical to punk-y.
For something more mainstream, try the grunge-rock band Guillotina. If you use Panodra, they can be used to create a soothing playlist of contemporary Latin rock. If you're on Spotify, start with the song "Ridículo."
Watch Mexican movies
Mexico is home to some powerhouse filmmakers, including the "Three Amigos of Cinema": Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth"), Alejandro González Iñárritu ("Babel") and Alfonso Cuarón ("Gravity"). If you have Netflix and you're all adults, check out Cuarón's twisted "Y Tu Mamá También," which follows an erratic and erotic road trip taken by two young boys and a free-spirited older woman.
Drink in Ballard
If your friends are convinced that you have to go down to Seattle to have fun, tell them they're wrong. If they persist, suggest Ballard. The Matador, BalMar and Ocho are on the same stretch of Market Street. All the usual rules apply: Have fun, be safe, try not to waste all your money and find a way get to work on time tomorrow. And don't ever refer to today as "Cinco de Drinko."
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