First, you need to liven up your party space. Get that Cinco de Mayo feel with decorations that will inspire a shout out of “Viva Mexico!”
has stocked their store with festive decorations—sombreros, colorful platters, plates and cups, ceiling and wall decorations and more.
already sold out of their decorations, but is expecting another shipment any day. Check with this store for the most affordable decorations in town.
You gotta have music!
If you can afford it, live music really injects some energy into a party. We have some wonderful mariachi bands in Santa Cruz County—the perfect music for your Cinco de Mayo party. The horns, guitars, accordion and singing will really get the party going.
Mariachi California de Javier Vargas has played at the Watsonville Strawberry Festival and other local events. Listen to them perform on this YouTube video.
You can get a taste of the music of Mariachi Imperial .
If the bands are booked or too pricey for your pocketbook, pick up some CDs of mariachi, salsa or other Latino-themed music. Guaranteed—your guests will not be able to sit still.
Comida y Bebidas
Food and drinks are the most important ingredients for a successful party, and you’ll want to focus, of course, on Mexican fare.
Check your favorite liquor store or market for sales on tequila and domestic or imported beers, including Mexican, for the holiday. Pick up some aguas frescas—Mexican fruit drinks—if you can find them. We have lots of taquerias in town, and most of them stock agues frescas. They may be able to sell you a case or two. If not, they’re easy to make—see the recipe below. Any in-season fruit can be used. Two classic agua frescas are cantaloupe and watermelon.
For food, make it easy on yourself and leave the main dishes to a caterer. If you like to cook, prepare some of the easier side dishes. A colorful and tasty Mexican Chopped Salad recipe is below.
Tampico has a catering menu that includes most of your Mexican food favorites: chile verde, fajitas, enchiladas, flautas, rice, beans and more. They have a 10-person minimum, and require only 24-hour notice. Check out these other restaurants and taquerias. They may do catering or take large to-go orders as well.
Guacamole, chips and salsa are easy. I like to make a simple guacamole by mashing together avocados, a few tablespoons of salsa, salt and pepper and maybe some garlic powder or fresh garlic. Leaving out the mayo or sour cream lets the avocado flavor shine.
Agua de Fruta (Fruit Water; also called Agua Fresca)
2 cups chilled and diced seasonal fruit (remove any seeds)
5 cups cold water
¼ cup sugar
Put the diced fruit in a blender, add water until fruit is just covered and blend.
Pour into a pitcher and add the rest of the water and the sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. You can strain the drink if desired, but it’s not necessary.
Mexican Chopped Salad
Ingredients for salad:
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and well drained
1 cup chopped seeded tomato
1 cup peeled chopped jicama
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (can use feta as a substitute)
Ingredients for dressing:
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T honey
2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro (parsley or basil can be substituted)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 t chopped jalapeño pepper (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. In separate bowl, mix dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over mixture and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Feliz Cinco de Mayo!