The annual alcohol-fueled celebration of Cinco de Mayo takes place this coming weekend and it seems every restaurant and bar has some sort of fiesta planned for the occasion.
While most Mexican joints are content to trot out the Mexican kitsch and offer cut-rate prices on whatever cerveza they have in stock, a few eateries and other Valley establishments will offer special dishes and unique festivities -- ranging from tortilla-making to tussles between luchadores.
Here's our list of some of the coolest restaurant events and special eats to be had around town.
Distrito The "Cinco de Milagro" affair on Saturday, May 5, will feature a special chef tasting menu for $35 per person with an additional $15 tequila pairing available. Meanwhile, $2 Tecate and $5 margaritas will be offered and luchadores will battle from 2 to 6 p.m. in a wrestling ring that will be setup inside the restaurant. Call 480-970-4444.
Kitchen 56 Carne asada tacos and other street vendor-style Mexican food selections will be served up by chef Lorenzo Lopez and his staff for $5 apiece during a Cinco de Mayo outdoor patio party starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 5. Bands will also perform throughout the day and the bartenders will mix up $5 margaritas and pour $3 Mexican beers like Corona and Negro Modelo. No cover. Call 480-994-5656.
Las Glorias Grill A variety of tacos -- including your choice of beef, chicken, fish, and mariscos -- will be served for $1.25 each from Thursday, May 3, to Saturday, May 5. Drink specials and 99-cent margaritas will also be available. Tequila tastings and an appearance by the Milagro Girls will also take place on Cinco de Mayo. Call 602-944-8457.
Blue Agave Mexican Cantina Executive chef Gus Jickess will whip up special menu items starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 5, in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Patrons can also partake in $3 Dos Equis drafts and a number of liquor promos and giveaways. Call 480-419-6375.
El Pedregal Marketplace The chefs from Spotted Donkey Cantina, the Palo Verde at the Boulders Resort, and more than a dozen other restaurants will create spicy specialty concoctions for the annual Cinco de Mayo Salsa Festival at the Carefree shopping center's amphitheatre from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 6. Herradura Tequila will provide samples, Arizona Wines will conduct vino tastings, The Bakery Café will sell traditional Mexican deserts, and an outdoor grill will offer tacos al carbón and tostada de carnitas. Admission is free. Call 480-488-1072.o
La Hacienda The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess' in-house Mexican eatery will feature an outdoor Fiesta Marketplace starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, where patrons can partake in a tortilla-making station, salsa sampling, and street-style tacos while sipping any of 240 different varieties of tequila. The afternoon event also includes strolling mariachis, Latin bands, and the chance to get pictures with "Pepe the Beer Donkey" from 6 to 8 p.m. Happy hour selections like $5 margaritas, $4 cervezas, and half-price appetizers can also be had until 7 p.m. Admission is free. Food and drink prices vary. Call 480-585-4848.
Los Dos Molinos The agave wranglers of Cruz Tequila will conduct a special tasting of their selection of locally distilled premium tequilas from 2 to 5 p.m. during a Cinco de Mayo block party on Saturday, May 5. Live entertainment and other drink specials are also planned. Reservations requested. Call 480-969-7475.
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Blues, Bruise & BBQs Cinco de Mayo Festival The Westside Sports Complex hosts an all-day extravaganza of blues bands and barbecue eats on Saturday, May 5. More than 60 different restaurants and eateries will serve sumptuous meat slathered with sauce during the event. Bourbon, wine, and Beers from such local vendors as SanTan Brewing Company and Papago Brewing will also be on tap. The Slap the Gator Music Festival also is scheduled take place. Gates open at 10 a.m. Tickets are $8 presale, $10 at the event. Food and drink prices vary. Call 623-308-2860.
Cien Agaves Tacos & Tequila Enjoy $1.50 tinga tacos filled with chipotle-marinated chicken, $3.50 Cien Agaves margaritas, and a variety of other drink specials from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 5. Call 480-970-9002.
El Santo Cantina y Mas This new North Scottsdale cantina (which boasts its own swimming pool and numerous posh cabanas) will celebrate its grand opening starting at noon on both Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5, with plenty of Baja-style Mexican creations prepared by chef Tim Fields and various drink specials. Call 480-584-3801.