Mexican food is definitely one of my favorites, especially Oaxacan cuisine. I love the intricate spices, sauces, and textures, such as anything Mole, washed down by a smokey Mezcal Cocktail.
I crave the classic dishes just as much, like Enchiladas Rojas, or a Shredded Beef Taco with mounds of Shredded Lettuce & Cheese.
Here's where to celebrate these dishes on Cinco de Mayo. They're listed in order from LA to OC and San Diego, you know, heading closest to the Mexican border.
Best Queso Fundido – Mercado, Santa Monica (LA)
- hits the spot, velvety 'n spicy with a red salsa that perfectly complements adding acid & smoke, Choriqueso Dip with Melted Cotija, Parmesan, Oaxaca Cheese, House Chorizo, Poblanos, Mushrooms & Fresh Chips $7
Best Enchiladas Rojas – Loteria Grill, Los Angeles
- if only I had a spoon for this thick, spicy, incredible red sauce, Enchilada Rojas with stewed shredded Beef, Red Chile Guajillo & Queso Fresco
Best Carnitas Taco – Lola Gaspar, Santa Ana (OC)
- the best taco I ever ate, I had an outer body experience, complex sweet 'n smokey flavors, uniquely light 'n thin handmade tortilla, Carnitas Tacos with Salsa Negra, Avocado, Cream & Pickled Chili $10
Best Modern Mexican – Taco Maria, Costa Mesa (OC)
- best dish of the night, crispy skin, fatty, sweet crunch, wanted more thick 'n spicy sauce, Pollito Con Mole with Guinea Hen, Roasted Carrots, Spanish Peanuts, Medjool Dates & Mole Sauce
Best Taste of History – El Cholo, Corona del Mar (LA + OC locations)
- crispy, spongey, spicy, A Taste of History (1996) with Cheese Enchilada, Rolled Beef Taco, Chile Relleno, Pork Tamale, Refried Beans & Spanish Rice $15.25
Best Tacos Al Pastor – Carmelitas, Laguna Beach (OC)
- ginormous chunks of pull-apart-tender Pork bathed in spicy red sauce, Tacos Al Pastor with stewed Pineapple, Corn Tortillas, Fresh Chopped Onion & Cilantro $13
Best Large Margarita – Casa Guadalajara (San Diego)
- fit for three, ridiculously oversized, if you can imagine it still could have been stronger La Natural Margarita with Fresh Lime Juice, Lemon Juice, Agave Nectar, Triple Sec, and Hornitos Silver $35 (yes, it's true)
Happy Cinco De Mayo, Cinco De Drinko, and Salud!