Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th, the anniversary of the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, is one of the most popular festivals among San Jose’s large Mexican community. Local celebrations include lots of traditional food, originating from the various regions of Mexico. Most of these dishes feature the strong spices characteristic of Latin American cooking. While beer or tequila tends to be more popular in San Jose on May 5th, tea – especially iced tea – goes really well with spicy food.
Black, green or any other true tea make wonderful, refreshing beverages to accompany a spicy, rich meal. The tannins in the tea cool the tongue by washing away those fiery hot pepper oils, and when the tea is icy cold, it’s that much more refreshing. If you want to drink a familiar Latin American tea, try one of the many traditional tisanes, like yerba buena (spearmint), or canela (cinnamon). Flor de jamaica, or hibiscus tisane, is another traditional Mexican beverage. You can buy it at Mi Pueblo Markets in San Jose, or go to an American grocery store and look for Red Zinger herbal tea from Celestial Seasonings; it’s basically the same thing!
Want to go out for lunch in San Jose on Thursday? Unfortunately, the Cinco de Mayo parade and San Jose city festival has been canceled this year, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on. Most Mexican restaurants in San Jose are expected to offer specials and deals on food and drink all day. Check out Mezcal Restaurant or Tres Gringos Baja Cantina downtown for their Cinco de Mayo deals, or try local favorite La Victoria Taqueria on Santa Clara St. for an affordable, delicious, fresh meal, with your iced tea. In any case, tea and herbal tisanes are both healthy and tasty additions to a great Cinco de Mayo menu!
Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach.
For more information:
“Cinco de Mayo” from Wikipedia
Cinco de Mayo in San Jose
“Cinco de Mayo in SF — bargains, buys and celebrations”
“San Jose Downtown Farmer’s Market Friday May 6: pick up flowers for Mom”
Tres Gringos Baja Cantina Cinco de Mayo 99.7 live broadcast
“Mexican food and tea for Cinco de Mayo”
“Street taco recipe for tea with Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo”
Celestial Seasonings Latin Flavors teas
“San Jose’s Cinco de Mayo parade dies”
“Cinco festivities” by Angelo Scrofani
“Iced tea and how to make it”