The month of May brings many wonderful excuses for culinary celebrations…Mother’s Day brunches, Memorial Day Weekend BBQ’s, Cinco de Mayo feasts. You’ve probably realized by now that we love any excuse for a culinary excursion, and Cinco de Mayo is no exception. Historically speaking, Cinco de Mayo marks the Mexican victory over the French army during the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Today, as is the case with most holidays, the celebration has – for better or worse – evolved into an Americanized version of the holiday with a heavy emphasis on feasting on Mexican food while sipping margaritas (and most likely a couple shots of tequila). Nonetheless, we find ourselves harboring a major hankering for any combination of beans, rice, cheese and guacamole; all washed down with an ice cold Tecate or Dos Equis. There are several options for Cinco de Mayo revelry on Delmarva, so of course we decided to narrow down our list, round up a few favorites, and prepare our bellies for a feast of epic proportions…
Two locations in OCMD: 1st Street & the boardwalk AND 33rd Street & Coastal Highway
With two locations, Guido’s Burritos is definitely gearing up for the 5th of May with a massive array of food and drink specials. The boardwalk location recently opened, but we have become partial to the 33rd Street space. The renovated restaurant is a welcome addition to the 33rd Street dining sector and a definite go-to if you’re looking for a Cinco de Mayo party. This year’s celebration features a Day of the Dead theme, complete with sugar skull face painting and costume contests. Also included in the festivities are music, prizes, giveaways and specials including $4 Cuervo Silver Margaritas, $3 Sugar Skull shots, $3 Kraken Black Spiced Rum, $5 Cuervo Tradicional Silver/Reposado and $4 Three Olives Orange Crushes. Yep, see you there!
11007 Manklin Creek Road, Berlin (multiple locations)
As a Salisbury University alumni, you can bet I spent many Cinco de Mayo’s at the Plaza Tapatia across from campus. For the Cinco de Mayo diehard that wants authentic cuisine, this is your spot. The menu is massive and the chips and salsa arrives immediately along with that amazing white sauce (you know the one). These days we visit the Ocean Pines location more frequently, although we still mourn for the loss of the West OC location that was a glorious one-minute drive from the office. Service is predictably prompt and friendly at all the locations and the food never disappoints. The fajitas are an easy favorite, arriving sizzling hot on a skillet along with an impressive pairing of rice, beans, guacamole salad, sour cream and warm tortillas.
8101 Coastal Highway, Ocean City
Not up for Cinco de Mayo celebrations? We get it, not everyone wants to battle throngs of twenty-somethings downing tequila shots. For the Cinco de Mayo scrooge that is looking to indulge in a culinary feast at home, stop in La Abueliea for take-out. We wandered into this tiny storefront several years ago after spotting the notably straightforward signage that just reads ‘Mexican Food.’ Sometimes simplicity really is key. Expect zero fuss and fluff here, it’s authentic Mexican through and through. Prices are on point and the portions are large and downright delicious. The ceviche is a must and is hands down the most generous portion you’ll find for the price in OC.
130th Street & Coastal Highway in the Montego Bay Shopping Center, OCMD
It should come as no great surprise that Tequila Mockingbird offers an unparalleled selection of tequilas. Seriously, their website features the list and requires scrolling, scrolling, and more scrolling to get to the bottom. Their Cinco de Mayo specials are definitely calling our name, with $1.25 crunchy tacos, $2 fish tacos and braised short rib tacos, and $4.99 southwestern egg rolls to name a few. Of course there are plenty of drink specials to behold, including $5 house margaritas and $2.50 shots of Cuervo Gold or Silver.
Two locations: Rt. 54 in Fenwick Island and Downtown Rehoboth
The weather forecast is looking particularly fantastic for Tuesday – 75 and sunny – and with outdoor space at both Papa Grande’s locations, you can bet we will be stopping in for a spicy margarita or two. Papa Grande’s is also one of the few places we can seem to find Micheladas – a heavenly concoction of your choice of Mexican beer, lime juice and assorted sauces, spices and peppers. It’s basically a marriage between a beer and a Bloody Mary. For food, Papa Grande’s reels us in with their inventive tacos like Korean Beer Barbacoa, Ancho Rubbed Chicken Thighs, and for the Easter Shore native, Scrapple & Scrambled Egg.
37 Route 113, Selbyville, DE
If you’ve spent years driving past Cactus Café on 113 in Selbyville and never stopped in…shame on you. This place is an old ShoreBread favorite for their authentic cuisine that typically requires an immediate siesta due to the food coma that comes on strong post-feast. Expect all of the traditional favorites along with a few Mediterranean and Latin American influences. Like the Pollo Loco – ½ rotisseries chicken topped with shrimp, scallops, crab meat and champagne sauce.
2810 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD
Another Ocean City hotspot for Cinco de Mayo fun, Mother’s Cantina is a local’s haven. Open in the off-season and bustling in the summer months, we stop in here often for their food and drink specials. Their menu is varied, with a splash of Americana and plenty of options, including vegetarian offerings. For the veggie head, opt for the grilled portabella fajitas. Meat lovers, the chili relleno stuffed with herbs, chorizo and goat cheese is sure to bring on the heartburn but it’s definitely worth it.
18766 John J Williams Highway, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Any restaurant that was inspired by a love of authentic fish tacos is a win in our book. The spot has humble beginnings as a taco stand in the owner/chef’s hometown of Guadalajara in 1997; well before the fish taco craze hit the Eastern Shore…or the US for that matter. Their fish tacos even received a nod in Food Network Magazine! The beer-battered mahi-mahi tacos are the star of the show, but don’t overlook the specials board as there is guaranteed to be something equally as delicious to consider.
137 Second Street, Lewes DE
Further up the road in one of our favorite little Delaware towns you’ll find Agave. To say this place has a cult following would be an understatement as there is ALWAYS a wait to get a table. If you’re the h-angry type, pack a snack in your purse to hold you over because it is well worth the wait. Tequila flows like water here, with options for everyone from the novice taste-tester to those with a well-defined palette for tequila sampling. The food is nothing short of amazing and the atmosphere only serves to enhance the entire experience. Oh Agave, we sure do love you.
Don Chuy Taqueria
411 Academy Street, Cambridge MD
A trip to explore Downtown Cambridge a few months ago led to a pleasant discovery on Academy Street – Don Chuy. We learned a long time ago that the best way to discover prime dining spots is to ask the locals. Sorry Yelp, but we stopped trusting your sources a long time ago. After hearing a few locals pay homage to Don Chuy and its authentic cuisine we gave it a shot. As always, a local knows best. Our favorite part was easily the trio of salsas that arrives with your chips. They ended up smothered on our meals as well.