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Three Must-Visits in the Valley for Mexican Independence Day

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Let's get one thing straight: Mexican Independence Day is not Cinco de Mayo as many Americans believe (seriously, stop doing that!). It is the 16th of September, or Dieciseis de Septiembre, and a day when Mexicans across the globe celebrate Mexico's independence from Spanish rule.

Unfortunately, Mexican Independence Day is blurred this year by the start of Arizona Restaurant Week, which begins on Saturday, September 15. But that doesn't mean there aren't a few spots in the Valley where one can fiesta proper. Here are three of our favorites:

El Palacio of Chandler

This local chain is celebrating Mexican Independence Day at its Chandler location in the Crossroads Shopping Center from 2 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 15. The outdoor festival will feature mariachi music, a homemade salsa competition, live entertainment, local art, and authentic cuisine (plus, Paletas Betty will be there, too) with all proceeds benefiting local Chicano art programs at Xico. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased for $8 here or at the door for $10. Children 12 and under will be admitted free.

MIM (Musical Instrument Museum)

Partnering with the Consulate General of Mexico in Phoenix, MIM celebrates Mexico's independence from Spain during its two-day Fiestas Patrias event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 15, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 16. Guests can enjoy music, live performances, and experience the museum's newly opened Mexico exhibit as well as pop by the cafe for a Fiestas Patrias menu featuring dishes like pork pozole stew, mole spiced braised beef oxtail, and Mexican wedding cookies. Tickets are free with museum admission.

Barrio Cafe and Barrio Queen

Starting today, Valley tastemaker Silvana Salcido Esparza will be bringing the classic Mexican dish chiles en nogada, to both Barrio Cafe and Barrio Queen. Esparza's version ($24) features apricots, pecans, golden raisins, onions, garlic, chicken, and red wine in a roasted poblano pepper served with an almond cream and a pomegranate garnish.

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