Ah, Cinco de Mayo. We finally learned the backstory this year. Apparently, several decades after Mexico gained independence from Spain, France sent 6,000 of its soldiers to invade Mexico in 1862. On May 5th of that year, 2,000 ill-equiped but passionate Mexican citizens defeated the French army. Every year, on May 5th, it has been traditional to honor those brave fighters by partaking in a night of music, tequila and authentic Mexican cuisine, and we are here to help you do so.

- Mercadito is offering a special Cinco de Mayo "Taquiza" feast from 11:00 am - 6:00 pm, featuring all-you-can-eat tacos for $25 and $5 Margaritas. After midnight, a mariachi trio adds a little music to the mix. At Mercadito's original East Village location, 179 Avenue B between 11th and 12th Streets.

- El Bocadito is featuring classic Mexican dishes including the Huarache (which will be served in the colors of the Mexican flag – red and green salsa and white crema), Sopes (which are like smaller round huaraches on a corn tortilla), classic Tacos el Pastor, Carnitas and Pescado. As for drinks, they'll be offering Micheladas (a glass of Sol beer served on ice with limejuice in a salt rimmed glass - either regular or spicy with hot sauce added), Horchatas (a classic Mexican cold rice drink), Mexican Hot Chocolate, and of course, their delicious margaritas (we're particularly fond of the acai one). They're opening at 3:00 pm on Friday, May 5th and serving food until 11:00 pm; the bar closes at midnight. Happy Hour prices will be extended from 3:00 pm to 7:30pm: House Margarita is $6, tap beer $3, bottled beer $4 and wine $5.

2006_05_food_cocktail.jpg- Sister restaurants Maya and Pampano are offering a special botana appetizer platter to share for $9 per person featuring sopes de pollo en salsa verde (salsa verde chicken), quesadillas vegetarianas (cheese and poblano rajas quesadillas), tacos de chilorio (mexican style pulled pork on a soft flour tortilla), tostada de pulpo (octopus escabeche on a crispy tortilla), and ensalada de nopalitos (cactus salad). They're also offering two special cocktails, including the Sandia de Mayo for $11. This cocktail reflects the traditional colors of the Mexican Flag, and chef Richard Sandoval and Beverage Director Ian Nal were kind enough to share the recipe with us:

1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
1 oz Sour Mix
1 oz fresh Watermelon Puree
0.5 oz Midori

Combine all ingredients and shake over ice. Pour into a rocks glass. Add the Midori so that it settles out at the bottom and it shows the red and green layers. Garnish with a thin slice of watermelon.

For more Cinco de Mayo ideas, try the Citisearch roundup. Where are you having your fiesta?