Posts Tagged ‘Cinco de Mayo’

I learned long ago that when life hands me limes, it’s up to me to figure out how to turn them into something tasty.

So when this sunny Cinco de Mayo crept up on me – and me, a margarita aficionado had no plans, I had to spring into recovery mode to turn limes into margaritas.

5 Ideas for Cinco de Mayo Fun (for people like me who lack planning skills)

1. Make Guacamole and cry tears of joy. You can pick up all the ingredients on your way home and whip up a little love in a bowl. Since Guacamole is avocado mixed with anything, recipes vary. I like the simple set up that lets the ingredients stand out. My guacamole/guacrackole/crackamole recipe is:

  • 2 Avocados, mashed but chunky
  • 1 medium onion, white, chopped, about a cup
  • 1 medium tomato, juice and seeds removed, chopped
  • Cilantro to taste
  • Jalapeno to taste
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Liberal dash of love
  • Mix but don’t mush!
  • Eat fast so you don’t have to share!

2. Make Scarlet Margaritas! I found this recipe on myrecipe.com. We have recipe/taste tested and my independent panel of judges approve. The drinks are festive and a taste sensation. Win/Win.

Scarlet Margs!

Scarlet Margs!


3. Make Margaritas from Mix! Ok, I said it. Don’t hate me. Sometimes cutting corners is the only way to celebrate a holiday without adding stress. So if picking up all the ingredients for a fresh-made drink is too much, you can get by with a bottle of tequila and a bottle of mix. For the tequila, I still suggest Milagro. For the mix, you’re on your own. But what ever you do, do not follow the instructions on the mix bottle. Those recipes usually suggest a 3 to 1 ratio of mix to tequila. If you’re looking for a spike in blood sugar, this is the way to go. If you want a reasonable drink, experiment and cut back on the mix and increase the tequila (I suggest a ratio of 1 to 1). Add lots of ice and … a message from my Dad … drink responsibly.

4. Margarita Ice Cream! This is so easy to make you’ll almost feel guilty when your friends worship you for your ice cream making skills.  This recipe is from Nigella Lawson so it makes sense that it’s called Nigella Lawson’s No Churn Margarita Ice Cream. After a rough year that included being choked by her husband, publically outed for a cocaine habit, banned from travelling to the US and getting divorced (well maybe that last one is a good thing) Nigella is someone who needs to turn her limes into something great. So thank goodness she has this recipe!

And this recipe is universally loved. When I made it, I got raves from someone who doesn’t like margaritas (gasp!), someone who doesn’t like ice cream (double gasp!) and someone who doesn’t drink at all (huh?). Everyone loves Margarita Ice Cream.

So check out Nigella Lawson’s site for all sorts of good stuff. I copied her recipe here (and did my best to convert measurements but please check them!)

  • 125ml lime juice (1/2 Cup)
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons Tequila (2T)
  • 3 x 15ml tablespoons Cointreau or Triple sec (3T)
  • 150g icing sugar or powdered sugar (1 1/4 Cups)
  • 500ml double cream (2 Cups Heavy Cream)


Margarita Ice Cream

Margarita Ice Cream – I swear this picture doesn’t do this treat justice


5. Celebrate at a Place known for something other than Margaritas.  I’m turning my limes into an outing to Butter (NYC). Butter in Midtown is a cool space. It’s set underground and its high ceilings reach the street to let light shine into the restaurant. And they have Parker House Rolls – or at least what I remember as slightly sweet rolls, with a little salt on the top that were amazing (but maybe not Parker House shaped). And while I don’t exactly equate drinking margaritas with eating rolls, anything goes for this non-traditional Cinco de Mayo celebration!

Butter NYC

Margarita & Flowers, Butter NYC


Here’s wishing you turn all the limes in your life into the best margaritas ever!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!



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For many, Cinco de Mayo celebrations last as long as the meal and the hangover that follows. I like to spread out my fun so for me and a few margagogo National Correspondents, Cinco de Mayo was a four-day journey of food, drink and more Maine travel.

Tres de Mayo:  Always working, we fit in a margarita while waiting for a flight in the JetBlue terminal at JFK.

margagogo at work courtesy of @mscharlies

Revolucion lured us in with a chalk message on a sign board and the promise of quac. The dream of guacamole wasn’t realized and the margarita was a near miss since the bartender was MIA. As we weighed the pros and cons of self-serve, a harried guy ran into the scene, took our order (two margs, rocks, one with salt and one without) and in a brave attempt to deliver our request, grabbed a salt shaker to shake table salt on a glass. The salt specs  skidded off the sleek, dry surface to coat the counter. We give the bartender and “A” for effort, helpfulness and humor.  For execution, I need to work out a grading curve for airports.  This drink is a classic example of mix abuse – eye-popping sweet and the Milagro tequila he used couldn’t save it. But how high should expectations be in an airport bar?

We ended the day in Maine at home making dinner including Scarlet Margs and margarita ice cream. True, these margaritas aren’t traditional but they are happiness in a glass. And the margarita ice cream? I made it late in the afternoon so it wasn’t quite frozen, making it more like a margarita parfait and giving me a new recipe tip – allowing the full freezer time is optional.

Quatro de Mayo: The rain didn’t stop the ramp up in fact, it accelerated it. Guacamole, movies and more Scarlet Margs followed by dinner at The Dolphin Restaurant and Marina in Harpswell, Maine. I’ve met lots of people who’ve never been to Maine. If you’re one of those people, the lobster stew at The Dolphin is reason to get in your car now and start driving north. It’s cream and butter and lobster and amazing. I suggest you get a cup (not a bowl) because it’s rich and it comes with a blueberry muffin. If it will make you feel better about yourself, get a salad. But Whatever you do, don’t get the margarita. It was a startling show of mix abuse. I think a pint size serving of margarita is a sure sign of trouble.

Cinco de Mayo: El Camino, 15 Cushing Street,  Brunswick, Maine garnered raves from the Independent Panel of Judges.

El Camino, Brunswick, Maine

El Camino, Brunswick,Maine

Velvet Bronco + Year-Round Tinsel Tree

El Camino embraces the decorating I recommended in my last blog post, they make a mean margarita offering all kinds of tequila and margarita choices and the food is great. I think the group favorite was the special Fundido de Camarones. We aren’t sure how they made it but we’re really glad they did. The only problem with El Camino is the hours. It was open from 5PM – 9PM. But when it Maine, do as the Mainers do. You can eat, drink and be home before the sun sets.

Seis de Mayo: @Foodista tells us that May 6 was “National No Diet Day.” I was thrilled to hear this especially since May is also “National Hamburger Month” but I was fooded out from the Cinco de Mayo ramp up and celebration and I couldn’t take full advantage. So let’s eat to “National No Diet Day” happening more than once a year.

Ocho de Mayo: For any of you who are wondering, the margagogo West Coast Bureau Chief sent in a Cupcake Royale (Seattle), Margarita Cupcake picture and review. I think the umbrella alone sells this treat but the review is mixed.  My WCBC says, “I may stick to my cupcakes in chocolate form and my margaritas in drink form, but it certainly added a little extra something to my Tuesday afternoon.”

So there you have it – Cinco de Mayo wrapped up with an umbrella on top.

Coming soon:  Peruvian food in NYC.

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I spent a month in Mexico.

Floating Band Xochimilco, Mexico City

Quetzalcoatl, in Teotihuacan













I explored the country, colors, culture and flavor of Mexico and printed the experience in my memory – a beautiful slide show I have the luxury of flipping through and sharing.  Cinco de Mayo brings the pictures out, literally and figuratively and since much of my Cinco de Mayo celebration is internal, I don’t have a lot of planning to take care of. One of my favorite Mexico memories is sitting in Plaza Garibaldi listening to dozens of mariachi bands play and watching limos pulled up, strike deals and whisk bands away to  gigs. The night was full of music and costume and joy and I was gifted with an amazing pick up line. A man told me, “You are very attractive because you’re a little fat.” That line was later topped by the man who told me that he wanted to be with  me because my nose isn’t too big and the next man who said he loved me because I reminded him of his horse. We can dwell on that mixed message all day. But instead –  Cinco Cinco de Mayo Celebration Ideas for procrastinators!

1. Geek out on history:  Beside the commercial pull of the holiday ( Google alerts advised me more than once that I better buy Cinco de Mayo supplies before they run out) there’s history behind the celebration.  Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day but a celebration of the Mexican victory over the French in The Battle of Puebla in 1862. The victory was short-lived as it gave Napoleon III a reason redouble his invasion efforts. But in a chaotic and uncertain time, it gave the people of Mexico something to feel good about and rally around. So along the theme of unity see #2.

2. Camp it Up: Grab your friends and family and decorate to the nines, Mexico style. When I was in San Miguel de Allende helping the family I lived with decorate for Easter, I went for perfection, biting my lip as I cut colored strips of paper to hang in the windows. My house mom looked at me with wide eyes and said “Nothing in Mexico is exact!” and then she cut the paper with crazy speed, making a multi-colored beautiful banner in minutes. So go for it. If you have kids, they’ll be all over it. If you don’t, you might enjoy decorating more if you add drinks. See #3.

3. Scarlet Margaritas:

I found this recipe on myrecipe.com and my independent panel of judges approve. The drinks are festive and a taste sensation. Win/Win. And a little home cooking (see Margarita Ice Cream and Margarita Cupcakes) can save you from dealing with #4.

4. Restaurant Roulette: Let’s face it, if you’re in a city whose populus embraces Cinco de Mayo, you must be creative and focused if you want restaurant Mexican food on the 5th.  In NYC, all my favorites are booked.  So the options – Try for a walk-in table. Go early, wear comfortable shoes and bring a snack because the bar seats might be full and there might be a wait. Try a lesser known, neighborhood joint. Or, be like me and try #5.

5. Flee:   Find a place that hasn’t gone loco for Cinco de Mayo. I’m heading to Maine and when I called the restaurant I want to try on Saturday night, they told me that they don’t take reservations, are open from 5PM – 9PM and on a Saturday night, the wait could be 40 minutes. I’m not sure if Cinco de Mayo crossed the mind of the person who took my call. And no, 9PM is not a typo – they really close that early. So I think post dinner, I’ll have my friends back to my place for #2 & #3.

Cinco de Mayo is knocking on your door!

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There’s something in the air – maybe Cinco de Mayo excitement?

Two different people living on opposite sides of the country sent me emails about Margarita Cupcakes.  Coincidence? Maybe, if you believe in coincidence. What I’m sure of is that as of today margagogo went from having obligated friends, alert readers and maybe even a fan to having National Correspondents.

My sister-in-law (AKA West Coast Bureau Chief) sent me a picture of a sign in her Seattle local – Cupcake Royale – offering up a May 4th Margarita Cupcake tasting.

My good friend (AKA CT Editorial Director) sent me a Margarita Cupcake recipe with this note:  “Can you even stand it?  This makes me hungry and thirsty all at the same time!!”

No, I can’t even stand it. This is just so amazing!  Fate, or Cinco de Mayo excitement or my newly appointed editorial board demands Margarita Cupcakes. The recipe below, as submitted by the CT Editorial Director is from Chic Style Modern. It’s written by Ashley a Chic Style Modern contributing editor and it’s from 2011 –  I’m sure it’s as tasty today as it was then.

Cupcake Royale - Will the Cupcake of the Month be the Margarita Cupcake?

Margarita Cupcakes
9 ounces Margarita Mix
3 ounces tequila
3/4 ounce Grand Marnier
1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix
3 large egg whites
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon lime zest

Lime Buttercream Icing:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 to 6 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons lime juice, fresh
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lime zest

If you’re in the Seattle area, please go check out Cupcake Royale.  Not only is their tag line, “Keeping it Royale” funny, but I’ve had the pleasure of sampling a cupcake or two and they’re yummy. And if you’re in a kitchen and so inclined, whip up a batch of Margarita Cupcakes and let me know how they are. (Just be sure to visit Chic Style Modern for the full instructions.)

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