You may not know what Cinco de Mayo commemorates (Mexico’s 1862 victory over the French, duh). But you’re well versed in its venerated customs (chips, guac, tequila flights).
This year fiesta yourself silly at Mercado, a new Santa Monica cantina opening tomorrow.
The brainchild of Jesse Gomez and chef Jose Acevedo, the industrial-chic space (raw wood floors, tile walls) is the third installation in Gomez’s budding Mexican resto empire (El Arco Iris, Yxta Cocina Mexicana).
Warm up with shareable plates like beer-battered white fish tacos and fried pork skin salsa verde. Hearty entrees like sweet shrimp enchiladas and slow-roasted carnitas, a generations-old recipe, test even the most elastic of waistlines.
Drinks range from caliente (the jalapeno-garnished La Picosa) to dulce (Margarita de Jamaica with fresh hibiscus) — and there are 70 premium silver, reposado, and anejo tequilas to choose from.
So you can party like there’s no to-Mayo.
Mercado, 1416 Fourth Street, at Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica (310-526-7121 or mercadosantamonica.com).
Photo: Courtesy of Mercado