Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cinco de Mayo – Any Excuse For a Party

I’m happy to know that I’m not the only person in the USA who will use any excuse for a party.  We Americans have taken a minor happening, in a foreign country, that pretty much ignores the event, and turned it into a reason to celebrate.

Per YahooNews, “here's what Cinco de Mayo has become in the U.S.: a celebration of all things Mexican, from mariachi music to sombreros, marked by schools, politicians and companies selling everything from beans to beer.

And here's what Cinco de Mayo is not, despite all the signs in bar windows inviting revelers to drink: It's not Mexico's Independence Day, and it's barely marked in Mexico, except in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is rooted in a complicated and short-lived 1862 military victory over the French.

Often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day (that's Sept. 16), Cinco de Mayo commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla between the victorious ragtag army of largely Mexican Indian soldiers against the invading French forces of Napoleon III. Mexican Americans, during the Chicano Movement of the 1970s, adopted the holiday for its David vs. Goliath storyline as motivation for civil rights struggles in Texas and California.”

I had a full day of Mexican dishes planned, but after three days of BBQing, I couldn’t get motivated to make breakfast and Bev really wanted to go out and eat, so she went online in search of a place to go.  She found Cinco Amigos in Lenoir City (also one in Cookeville, Tn)and it seemed perfect as it was on the way home for Wende, got high marks from food raters Urbanspoon & Knoxville City Search, and was a place we’d never been.

The restaurant is most of the first floor of the Day’s Inn and we found it to be warm and friendly with a very good wait staff - we went about 3:30 to avoid the crowd and make it easy to have a two-meal day. 

There were also a couple of young ladies giving away Jose Cuervo and they took a shot of us.

We began the meal with the usual chips and salsa and a pitcher of margaritas and we all liked each of the items – Bev especially bragged on the Ritas.  SIL, Pat, had two taquitos served with rice and beans - no shot of it.

Wende had Pollo Enquesado which was grilled chicken on a bed of rice and topped with queso blanco sauce.  She stuffed her tortillas like fajitas and said it was very good.

Bev had the full blown Cinco Amigo Combo with a chile relleno*, beef tostada, enchilada*, taco, burrito*, and taquito - it required two plates to hold it.

She usually buys the big meals so she can get two more meals at home from the leftovers, bringing home those with *.

I’d wanted to cook enchiladas with salsa verde, so I ordered Enchilada Suizas which was four chicken stuffed corn tortillas topped with tomatillo sauce, cheese, and sour cream.

Everyone liked there meals and Bev said it may be her new favorite Mexican restaurant.  I enjoyed the flavors of mine but will get beef next time as the chicken in the stuffing was way too done for my taste – not totally unexpected.  I believe this was the first place I’ve eaten where every meal didn’t come with rice, beans, or both. 

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

Two years ago:  May’s BBQ Day



  1. Looks like you got Cinco celebrated in style. I think all the food looks really good. Like that first plate, I'm trying to think what the blanco part of it is. I took it upon myself to read about the meaning of Cinco a couple years ago, and yes any excuse to party. I even used Kentucky Derby this last Saturday. :)

  2. Sorry that we missed you...didn't get there until 6PM....full house but the owner had our table ready for us. Looks like you had a great meal as we did. Love the margs...and this time I had the Pirate of the best meals ever in East Tennessee.

  3. Looks like the perfect way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Larry!

  4. I love chili verde sauce so Enchilada Suisas is usually my first choice...I have been comparing them from place to place for a long time...sometimes the chicken is so-so and sometimes the sauce lacks the punch.

    It does look like a great meal all the way around.

    With an extra "shot" or won't notice the chicken next time!

  5. I think everything looks so good! I like how Bev thinks... get a huge meal so you can take the leftovers home :).

  6. What a feast and a nice restaurant, too! Everything looks scrumptious and I just love a good Margarita, too. Down here, I always order the Seafood Burritos (crab, shrimp, and crawfish) and Crab Stuffed Jalapenos, when I'm in the mood for Mexican. :)

  7. Larry, Laurie and I will have to try this place. Our favorite Mexican restaurant in Lenoir City to date is Ayala's...but we're always looking to try new places! It is strange that the meals weren't accompanied with refried beans or rice... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  8. it isn't too big where I live. Though at my store I work at, there was good number of people buying from our taco displays and it's side items.

  9. Sounds like a great Mexican place. We had a great Mexican restaurant at the bottom of our hill when leaving the lake, but it closed this season. Bummer. I'm a fajita gal myself. Glad you guys had a good Cinco de Mayo celebration.

  10. @ Lea Ann: Blanco means white. So it's got the traditional Mexican white cheese sauce like you get when you order a bowl of queso dip. It was nice. It had a little bit of heat in it. Enough to make things interesting.

    I didn't think my chicken was overdone, probably because it didn't get cooked twice in preparation like Dad's probably did. The waitstaff was friendly. The food was good. There were items on the menu that were not the standard thing found on every Mexican restaurant you go to. The margaritas were tasty. All in all, it was a very nice way to spend my Cinco de Mayo. Then I got to take home a couple of bags of smoked chicken. Even better! Thanks, Dad!

  11. it's a great way to take a break from your own kitchen and enjoy another...Love Mexican food-Especially good Mexican food.


    P.S. Garden is doing well. Just started picking cukes and cherry tomatoes....Potatoes were not as bountiful as I though but, good enough for a first try. Did you plant this season?

  12. I think the funniest thing I read about Cinco de Mayo was a Mexican national writing about it's basic insignificance and he said, "besides...what is there really to celebrate about defeating the French?" ha ha

  13. Having an awesome Mexcian restaurant and cantina close to you is a true BLESSING! We don't fix Mexican food at home because we're seriously spoiled with our local Mexican eatery. Looks like you've got a winner too from your photos and descriptions!


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