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Our Top Cinco De Mayo Suggestions

By Lisa White in Food on May 5, 2014 9:20PM

Photo via Facebook.

Ask many people “celebrating” Cinco de Mayo what the holiday actually commemorates and you’ll likely get a blank stare or the incorrect answer of “Mexico’s Independence Day.” For many it’s a day for consuming too much tequila, eating mediocre tacos and cherry picking certain stereotypes of a culture many people know absolutely nothing about. So we suggest that you basically don’t be that drunk jerk rocking a sombrero tonight while trying to greet people in broken Spanglish. Just don’t do it.

That said, we love any excuse to drink tequila and enjoy a few food specials to cure a case of the Mondays once quitting time hits. Here are some of our favorite ways to indulge this May 5, sans cultural appropriation.

-Head down to Pilsen where Dusek’s and Punch House will host some delectable specials tonight. From 5 to 7 p.m. Dusek’s will host their first Oyster Happy Hour. Their house Rappahannock oyster will be $1 each. Wash that down with $3 Astra, $2 Tecate or $6 flutes of Mistinguett Cava Brut. After you get your fill of oysters stop by Punch House for their special $5 Monday Margarita Punch. Knocking back a few rounds in Punch House’s rec room style basement is worth the Tuesday hangover.

-The recently remodeled Table, Donkey and Stick usually has an excellent set of rotating specials on Monday night. Since Cinco de Mayo fell on a Monday this year, they are throwing some Mexican flavor into the dishes this evening. A special onion rellenos with duck chorizo can be yours for $5. Pair it with a $5 burger or their $5 latkes bravas and wash it all down with $3.50 micheladas.

-We enjoy celebrating any holiday in the form of pie. Stop by on your way home after work before Bang Bang Pie Shop closes and grab a slice of their “Cinco De Pie-O” special. The specialty slice is a salted tequila key lime. Sounds like the perfect pie to wash down with a big margarita.

-And speaking of margaritas, most places, even our favorites, will likely be buzzing with folks celebrating this evening. We'd rather avoid the crowds and enjoy dining in another night. Instead we suggest stopping on your way home, buying some fresh ingredients and making your own margaritas. One of our favorites is Chicago Chef Rick Bayless’s tart and fruity blood orange margarita recipe. Sip a few of these, grab some takeout tacos on your way home (here is a list of some of our favorite taquerias to check out) and let your Monday melt away. Holiday or not, it’s always a nice way to start the week off right.

-Try authentic food from the Puebla region (Cinco De Mayo celebrates Mexico's victory in The Battle of Puebla) at the delicious Cemitas Puebla in Humboldt Park. The Cemitas sandwiches may be their most famous product, but don't miss other specialties, like the tacos árabes.