Sunday, May 06, 2012
Un Feliz Cinco de Mayo
mexicanos, originally uploaded by chavezonico.
Yesterday was my second Cinco de Mayo celebration in New York. Admittedly I have turned it into quite a thing for myself, even though I have no Mexican heritage or connection (save for having spent three glorious days laying very still on a pool chair in Puerto Vallarta a number of years ago).
When I celebrated Cinco de Mayo last year, K's mum was staying with us and we did a bit of a neighbourhood crawl until we found barstools we liked (ironically, we found them at the awesome Mexican place right next door to my apartment).
This year I had less of the drunken 2007 celebration and more of the home-style 2008 one. And I had two friends from work over to make sure the fiesta stayed on the straight and narrow. Plus I didn't invite Patron or Jose Cuervo to the party, so we did very well.
Admittedly I cheated a bit with the menu, opting to assemble many of the dishes from pre-prepared ingredients rather than starting from scratch myself. A shout-out to the good people at Fresh Direct for their help on that front. The groceries got delivered early yesterday morning, so I had the whole day to relax and psych myself up slowly to the evening ahead
On arrival, the girls and I enjoyed some spicy guacamole, with carrot stick & celery dippers, as well as those devilish and SUPREMELY addictive Doritos corn chips with lime. You know the ones. The French champagne we enjoyed with it was hardly Mexican, but it was amazing. Hey, perhaps we had the bubbles in memory of Napoleon and his French troops, who (as you surely know) got their ass kicked on May 5th at the Battle of Puebla, which gave rise to the whole Cinco de Mayo celebration in the first place? Yes, let's go with that rationale.
Next up was entree (or "main course", if you're playing along at home). I had bought some thick and firm tilapia fillets and wanted to roast them in some spicy salsa verde. But the jalapenos in the salsa verde were SO intense that the sauce was just too hot. This is clearly one of the downsides of buying pre-packaged food. So I improvised and mixed it with some tomato puree instead. I roasted the fillets for 25 minutes and they came out of the oven perfectly cooked, flaking beautifully, and not at all spicy. I served the fish with some creamed corn (2.5 minutes in the microwave, thank you Jesus) and some home-made Mexican rice (the only home-made element of the menu!). The plates were colourful, healthy and the meal all came together so quickly. The French white wine complemented the meal beautifully and gave us another reason to think of Napoleon.
Dessert was neither Mexican nor French. Instead one of the girls took us to Italy by bringing along delicious Talenti gelato in three flavours - chocolate; coconut; and raspberry. The combination was amazing and even though none of us were all that hungry, we managed to find enough belly room for several spoonfuls each.
By the time the meal was through and our conversations had solved all the problems of the world, it was after midnight. The evening had gone so fast, but I had a really great time and I hope the other girls did too. I reckon we all had a happy Cinco de Mayo and on reflection, I don't think any of us minded the absence of margaritas, tequila shots, or mariachi bands much at all.