Get Your Cinco On!

Did you know that the United States celebrates Cinco de Mayo more than Mexico? And thank goodness for that, because not only is it a great way to celebrate spring but it’s a great excuse to spice things up with a healthy dose of the Mexican culture. Chester County is chock full of places to get some great Mexican cuisine.

For authentic, delicious Mexican food in Phoenixville, try Los Mariachis Mexican Restaurant located in a bright yellow building at 201 Gay St., Phoenixville.

This spot has all the basics and much more. Try the $2 tacos with traditional fixins’ (cilantro and chopped onion) or prepared “tex-mex” with lettuce, tomato and sour cream. Tostadas are $3. Hungry and want to try a variety? Get the Cominaciode Tex-Mex platter for $15 and choose three of the following: quesadilla, chile relleno, 2 soft taquitos, 2 enchiladas, 2 tamales, 1 tex-mex taco, 1 chalupa or 1 tostada. Oh – and everything is made to order. Ole!

I may be biased because it’s the closest to where I live, but I’ll be celebrating the holiday at Don Gabriel Restaurant at 611 W Strasburg Road, West Chester (610) 431-3212. It’s kind of a tradition for me to grab a fun 40-oz. beverage at the nearby Sam’s Pizza Island and head to the converted Wawa, then Food Pantry, now Mexican restaurant (hence my nickname, Chi Wa Wa). It’s part restaurant and market and could quite possibly be the only place in the county where you can get a pinata, a burrito and a cell phone all in one stop.

You cannot go wrong with any flavor of tacos for $2, although my personal favorite is the el pastor taco (pork and pineapple) with a little of the special green sauce (always on the table) and some guacamole. Want to try a Mexican sandwich? This is the place to do it. Tortillas for $5.50 come with any of the fillings you’d get in a taco and are served on sweet, soft bread with mayo, lettuce, tomato, onions, hot peppers and avocado. Yum. Specials change daily if you want to mix it up and get a dinner platter like the chorizo, onion and cactus grilled and served with sauce and cheese (platters range from $10 to $15).

For a really sweet way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, you’ve gotta go to La Michoacana Ice Cream located at 231 E State St., Kennett Square (610) 444-2996. La Michoacana has more than 50 flavors of authentic Mexican ice cream and sorbet. With amazing flavors like corn, rice pudding, avocado and chili made with real-deal ingredients, you can’t be bored. Kids will love to eat their veggies if it’s ice cream.

They are always willing to give samples so you can try before you commit to a whole order. So, go on, go outside your comfort zone and let your palate play with traditional Mexican ingredients in a sweet, scoopable way. Pops are $1.50 and scoops range from $2.25 to $5.50 (for 3 scoops). Visitors come from as far away as Lancaster and Harrisburg to get their hands on mango with chili, rice pudding, or (my personal favorite) corn ice cream with a sprinkle of cinnamon. If you aren’t brave enough to get something out of the box they make sundaes with strawberries, hot fudge, or you can order hard chocolate to coat any flavor on a stick you want and add sprinkles or pecans. Co-owner Juvenal says that they also have more than 125 freezers with their products throughout Chester County and Maryland.

Cinco de Mayo Festival in Kennett Square

Join in the celebrations of Cinco de Mayo on Sunday, May 3, on the Main Street in Kennett Square. This year there will be a fashion show with 32 young ladies (32 represents each state in Mexico) and one will be crowned the queen of the festival.

It is free to attend and will include dancing, music and a Mexican Ballet. Authentic Mexican food and arts and crafts will be available for purchase.

For more information contact Festival Chairman Carlos Navarro at 302-766-4698 or 610-392-8980.