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Cinco de Mayo Fun

The Procrastinator's Guide to Cinco de Mayo: Where to go for serious Fiesta-ing

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Hugo's Houston Mexican restaurant Sunday brunch
The usual buffet at Hugo's is always impressive, but this Sunday will be more festive than usual. Hugo'sRestaurant.net
where to eat right now, June 2012, El Gran Malo, Margarita
With award-winning margaritas, El Gran Malo packs serious Cinco party pedigree.  Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
Leyenda Dance Company Mexican dancers
Celebrate Mexico’s rich, vibrant culture with a stunning performance by Leyenda Dance Company at Miller Outdoor Theater. Leyendadc.com
Terry Flores and Lily Hernandez of Bocados and Red Ox Grill
Terry Flores, left, and Lily Hernandez are closing Bocados with a big Cinco de Mayo party on Sunday. Photo by Whitney Radley
El Pueblito Place, Patio
Popular local band Mango Punch will entertain diners on Saturday at El Pueblito and Los Otros will make you dance your margarita buzz off on Cinco de Mayo. And the food is great, too! El Pueblito Place
Hugo's Houston Mexican restaurant Sunday brunch
where to eat right now, June 2012, El Gran Malo, Margarita
Leyenda Dance Company Mexican dancers
Terry Flores and Lily Hernandez of Bocados and Red Ox Grill
El Pueblito Place, Patio
Darla Guillen, head shot, column mug, November 2012

The Mexican victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla still gives us reason to shamelessly indulge in mass amounts of discounted margaritas and tacos instead of foie gras and champagne at least once every year. Be grateful and imbibe, but do so selectively.

Since Houston’s culinary scene is teeming with the nation’s best Mexican dishes, parties and cocktails, you can afford to be choosy when it comes to this holiday. Below I’ve compiled a list of the best cocktail-ready parties, celebratory banquets and cultural shows for Cinco de Mayo.

El Gran Malo

With award-winning margaritas, this Heights-area bar and taqueria packs serious Cinco party pedigree. The only thing better than the tasty, palate-shocking drink creations here (think habanero-infused tequila with vanilla and blueberries)—might be the names they choose for events.

This Sunday is all about Malo Cinco de Mayo Part Deux: Welcome to the Thunderdome with Randy Rucker putting a Cinco spin on crawfish, Karbach Brewing Co. pouring their beer onsite and liquid nitrogen frozen margaritas to quell the heat from Bravado Spice’s kick-filled bites. The party starts at 11 a.m. and continues until closing time.   

Hugo’s

Mindful celebrants are welcome to take a preemptive strike at Monday morning hangovers with the best holiday food spread in town. The usual buffet at this Montrose institution is always impressive, but this Sunday will be more festive than usual. Stop by and enjoy one of the best brunch menus in the city with live music and a family-friendly start to the day.

Anvil

This might be the only time to find $3 gin-spiked micheladas and frozen mezcal margaritas at this upscale Montrose cocktail staple, so get there when the doors open at 4 p.m. In addition to Anvil’s top secret margarita recipe, the nationally acclaimed bar will also offer a one-day-only special menu featuring drinks The Rosita, The Mafioso and The Tepito.

 Anvil owner Bobby Heugel warns that anyone who asks for salt and lime with their mezcal will be required to pay double. 

Owner Bobby Heugel warns that anyone who asks for salt and lime with their mezcal will be required to pay double. Rightfully so, anyone chasing the premium tequila at this bar with anything has a lot to learn about Mexican libations.

El Pueblito

Cinco de Mayo is a year-round celebration here, but the colorful, lively cabana-filled patio on Richmond Avenue will be especially fiesta-ready. Popular local band Mango Punch will entertain diners on Saturday, and Los Otros will make you dance your margarita buzz off on Cinco de Mayo. The cabanas are up for reservation with a $25 minimum bill per guest.

Miller Outdoor Theatre

Believe it or not, Cinco de Mayo isn’t all about tequila-filled cocktails and spicy food. Celebrate Mexico’s rich, vibrant culture with a stunning performance by Leyenda Dance Company presenting ballet folklorico from different regions of our neighboring country. You’ll learn the difference between a traditional dance from Veracruz up to Nuevo Leon’s more contemporary style.

This family-friendly event is free but ticketed for those who prefer covered seating, so get your tickets in advance or prepare to sit on the hill for the show.

The Brewery Incubator

For beer nerds who want in on the Cinco de Mayo parties but refuse to put down their pints, Brewery Incubator is hosting a hoppy good fiesta with plenty of cerveza, Mexican bites, Brew Ritas and probably the only beer piñata in town.

Chef Joel Benavidez from Adela’s Mexican Kitchen will be on hand to pair authentic food with in-house brewed beer that you can only find at this downtown spot. Try the Café de Olla porter if it’s the only beer you have. The party starts at 11 a.m. Sunday and continues until closing time. 

Bodegas Taco Shop

Last but not least, there’s no better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with a block party—the typical Mexican lifestyle practically lends itself to any community-driven event. This party by the Museum District will be hosting a mariachi band, mechanical bull and plenty of food from this esteemed little taco shop. The party “launches” on Friday and continues through Sunday, where it culminates in Cinco festivities.

Bocados

Owners Terry Flores and Lily Hernandez are shuttering their beloved Montrose restaurant after 15 years and they're going out in a memorable way — with a big Cinco de Mayo closing party Sunday from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. It includes an all-you-can-eat Mexican buffet ($11.95) and $4 margaritas. 

A celebrar, queridos! Viva Mexico en Houston!

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