Omnivore - Restaurant forgets mariachi band on Cinco de Mayo

Holy Taco does it right


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As we all know, Cinco de Mayo is a holiday more celebrated in Los Estados Unidos than in Mexico. Here, it's become an excuse to guzzle margaritas and eat Tex-Mex food while being tortured by mariachi bands. It has also allegedly become a means by which Mexican-Americans express pride in their heritage.

Generally, in short, it's all about preserving stereotypes. But who can resist the campy, boozy fun? (Even former President George Bush, pictured, loved las senoritas of Cinco de Mayo.)

Wayne and I decided to head out for the holiday last night. In years past we've usually visited nearby Mi Barrio, which has been fun if not very tasty. But we drove by this year and decided to head for my latest obsession, Holy Taco. I was sure they'd have an interesting take on Cinco de Stereotype.

Kinda sorta: there was not a mention of the very special day anywhere to be found. Even the menu, rather than being kitsched-up with some extra-special stuff, was actually abbreviated. "Have y'all cut the menu back," I asked the server, thinking that this was maybe a new permanent menu.

"Oh no," she replied. "We cut it back so the kitchen can survive. We always do this on holidays and festivals. We couldn't handle the volume otherwise."

I thought this was extraordinarily cool — the Anti-Cinco de Mayo. The place was packed and nobody seemed to be complaining about the lack of mariachi music. Not a serape or sombrero in sight.

I ordered elote, as usual, but deviated from my usual sandwich made with short ribs. Instead, I chose the one made with pork belly, radishes and jalapeños. I gotta say I'm sticking to my usual henceforth. The pork belly is supposed to be fatty, of course, but it was overkill for me. (I know lots of people who prefer it over the short ribs.)

Wayne also ordered elote, along with a quesadilla filled with fried squid and tarted-up San Marzano tomatoes.

By the way, the taqueria's new restaurant, the One Eared Stag, will be opening very soon in the former location of Shaun's on Edgewood Avenue in Inman Park. The restaurant actually opened during the Inman Park Festival for a few days, giving visitors a taste of the New American and Spanish/Basque tapas it will be serving.

They are hiring, by the way.