Mexican for a Day: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With Delicious Cuisine

Trio of downtown restaurants offer authentic fare, music and food to mark the day Americans celebrate Mexican heritage and pride

Ask a Mexican immigrant what Cinco de Mayo is and you'll get an uncertain answer. That's because the day mostly celebrated in the United States isn't really feted in Mexico. Some will even go as far as saying Cinco de Mayo is like St. Patrick's Day — an excuse to drink and eat a lot of food.

Cinco de Mayo is the day some Mexicans in America celebrate the Mexican army's victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Fortunately for Middletown, there are three Mexican restaurants downtown — all within three-quarters of a mile. Puerto Vallarta is in Metro Square at 200 Main St., La Boca, 520 Main St., and Iguanas Ranas Taqueria is at 574 Main St.

The gaily decorated Puerto Vallerta family restaurant today will offer meal and drink specials, prizes, bottle shots of tequila. They'll be fajitas, enchiladas, burritos, tostadas and taco salads and, of course, margaritas sweet and sour served — from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

La Boca restaurant is open from 4-9 p.m., with food and drink specials, giveaways and live music at 8 p.m. The cantina offers appetizers until 12 a.m. This month's specials include Partida agave nectar and pink grapefruit margaritas, Corona beer-battered shrimp, grilled mahi mahi tacos with avocado-lime crema and mussels Provincianos (white wine, garlic, butter).

La Boca goes beyond what is traditionally considered Tex-Mex by offering authentic Mexican favorites like chimichangas, tamales, flautas and rice and beans round out the menu.

Iguanas Ranas Tazueria owners Polo and Angelica Martinez, originally from Oxaca, Mexico, have been running their little place in the North End for nearly three years. A large menu board lists the burrito types (and be warned, they're truly grande) and for Cinco de Mayo, several new additions will be introduced.

The Toluca burrito is made with green chorizo, the Oaxaca contains Oaxaca cheese, which is a Mexican string cheese, and grasshopper sauce. The Gulf is shrimp and tilapia sauteed in a lime-tequila sauce. Other new menu items include the Hungry Iguana, a six-bean vegetarian salad made with black, pinto, kidney, garbanzo, red and white beans.

And don't forget the fish taco ($3.50 for a generous portion), battered and fried tilapia, adorned with a mound of freshly seared red cabbage and chipolte mayonnaise atop two soft corn tortillas. Served with a dollop of spicy red sauce and completed with a icy cold Corona with a slice of lime — sublime!

Nicole Drasdis May 05, 2011 at 06:58 PM
They all sound so good! Will have to check these out!


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