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Where to do Cinco de Mayo in Miami, now with real tacos

It seems like one of Miami’s 2015 food goals was to fill the taco void we’d long suffered. In a five month span, street-food focused taquerias have sprung all over town like Mexican jumping beans.

Before Todd Erickson payed homage to the unassuming street food favorite by opening Huahua’s Taqueria about two years ago, if you wanted legitimate tacos, you had to drive all the way to Homestead or make the line at Viva Mexico taqueria (one of Calle Ocho’s must-try gems). No other place truly did it justice. And if you wanted to fiesta for Cinco de Mayo in Miami, the best option was Finnegan’s by the river. Yeah, we’re cringing too.

Well folks, the Santa Ana winds have reached our shores and have brought masa, carnitas, and the array of taqueria essentials with them, so you can celebrate the holiday properly.  Speaking of masa, tonight Steve Santana — owner and chef of Taquiza — will take his nixtamalized blue dough wonder over to Pubbelly, where he and chef Jose Mendin have crafted the most exciting Mexican inspired menu you’ll probably experience on this side of La Frontera. We’re talking chapulines, tostada de lengua with avocado, salsa roja and jalapeno crema, and tamales de erizo (that’s sea urchin for you gringos) in bone marrow salsa. WTH.

We’ve also got not one, but two block parties going down. Word on the wire is that Coyo Taco and Bodega have both been in a bit of a lucha libre match, with similar concepts competing for opening dates for both their taquerias and adjacent speakeasies. Let’s taco ‘bout it guys! We’re equally grateful for both establishments considering Bodega has became one of our new favorite craft cocktail destinations, and Coyo our new favorite dancing spot in Wynwood. Yes, there’s dancing, lots of it, but you gotta walk through the secret door.

At Wynwood’s Coyo Taco, the fiesta, ironically enough, will be hosting Mexico’s famed Blue Demon Jr. in luchador matches on the back patio at 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and the grand finale at 8:30 p.m. Mariachis and DJs will provide musical entertainment before a special appearance by Colombian DJ Quantic. (This is another surprising thing about Coyo, they’ve been recruiting some very impressive DJ acts lately.) As for the food, they’ll be roasting a cochinita pibil, but don’t miss out on some of their eskite — corn off the cob, epazote, chipotle aioli, sprinkled generously with cotija; a yellow mound of delight.

At South Beach’s Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, you’ll have mariachis band Fiesta Grande, $5 Modelos and $6 margaritas, and $5 shot specials starting at 6 p.m. And who doesn’t love a tequila-drenched challenge? Dobel Tequila has set up a “selfie shot chair” where two lovely ladies will be pouring tequila shots directly into guests’ mouths for them to document with the hashtag #dobellayback to win a bottle of Dobel tequila. They’ll also have a complimentary churros cart parading around, but if you plan on taking on the Dobel challenge, we suggest you buffer the stomach with some tacos first. You can’t go wrong with either of the spit roasting, twirling, glistening meats, hailing from traditional Mexican roadside outposts. Pork (and bacon) and chicken are stacked and glazed with the dripping juices from the pineapple slices stacked atop each tower of goodness.

If you feel like Cinco-hopping, head down the street to 50 Eggs’ new venture, BTW, which has taken over the old Lime Mexican Grill flagship space. After having sold the franchise nationally one can agree that John Kunkel does know a thing or two about the comforting fare. He upped the ante with this new venture by recruiting Michelin toque Danny Grant to help him craft the concept, turning this taco, burger and whiskey Alton Road casual eatery into a new favorite. Their al pastor tacos are no joke, and will pair nicely with the Olmeca Altos margaritas they’ll be offering in celebration ($5). They’ll also be hosting a ring toss competition that will garner the winner a gut warmer, which could be of use after all the queso fundido with Chihuahua cheese, chorizo, and poblano peppers you’ll be dipping til’ your hearts content.

With these new options, there’s no reason to suffer terrible tacos with your traditional Cinco De Mayo fiesta. No matter where you decide to shake, señora, perhaps you should start telling your boss right now that you might be needing a “personal day” tomorrow. Salud!

EDITOR’S NOTE: We hear you, Miami! Here are some other great taco spots you should check out from our members and readers:

For those who live down south….Guadalajara is bomb!” – Stephanie Shaheen

“The only real mexican style tacos in Miami are @ Viva Mexico my friend! And this is a fatty mexican talking” – David Alvarez Rizo

 

By Paula Echevarria
Born in Madrid, raised in Miami, bred in New Orleans: Paula is a gregarious locavore, cocktail groupie and Emmy award winning culinary producer currently working as a freelance writer and multimedia producer for local and national food and beverage publications and TV shows, including Tasting Table, The Miami New Times, Edible South Florida, MIA Bites and WPBT South Florida PBS's Check, Please! with Michelle Bernstein.