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Sponsored feature: presented by Milagro Cantinas & Tortería San Cosme
Cinco de Mayo is upon us. While originally a celebration of an 1862 Mexican military victory against the French, May 5 has come to signify a broader recognition of Mexican culture in the US and, increasingly, in Canada.
Whether you’ve grown up with Mexican culture in your life or just want to help celebrate it, this Friday will be a chance to experience a whole host of seasonal festivities happening in Toronto.
It’s tempting to spend the whole evening bouncing between parties, but be sure to also take the opportunity to try some authentic Mexico City-style food on offer throughout the city!
Pre-game tequila tasting. Tequila can be so much more than the part of the night you regret. Before you go slamming back shots this Friday night, check out a proper tequila and mezcal tasting at Kensington Wine Market on Thursday, May 4. Tickets are $40 and there will be samples of blanco, reposado and añejo tequila varieties. More info here.
Mexico City street-style food. Visit Kensington Market’s Tortería San Cosme and enjoy an authentic Mexican torta: a fresh telera bun stuffed with traditional Mexican fillings. There are over a dozen to choose from, including our favourites: Cubana (roasted pork in adobo, smoked bacon, ham, spicy mustard & chipotles), Poblana (roasted chicken with house made mole, crema and cotija cheese) or Milanesa (breaded chicken, sautéed onions, manchego cheese, avocado & tomatoes). While there, also try an agua fresca – sugar cane-sweetened fruit drinks – or corn niblets stewed in butter and epazote topped with mayo, queso cotija and chile piquing powder (called Esquites). Don’t forget to use your NOW Access card for 25-40 percent more spending money.
Magnificent mezcal. While you’re in Kensington, stop in at the mezcal bar and kitchen, El Rey, and try a flight of the spirit that’s too often conflated with tequila. The basic difference? Our drinks writer Sarah Parniak puts it best: “Unlike tequila, which is a type of mezcal made from blue Weber’s agave under a specific denomination of origin, mezcal can be made from over 20 varieties of the agave plant, many of which grow wild.”
Traditional Mexican dining. Visit Milagro Cantinas on Mercer or Queen West for an amazing cantina experience. The tequila and mezcal list is jaw-dropping and there will also be 5 de Mayo specials: $7.50 Tromba Blanco, $5 Jimador Reposado, $11 Herradura Reposado and $6.50 pints of Dos Equis. For the hungry, try a $59 Cantina Platter, a feast for four people served centre table, featuring your choice of three mains: Cochinita Pibil, Pollo en Mole, Lamb Mixiotes or Tinga – all served with a stack of fresh corn tortillas, salsas, refritos, Mexican rice, pickled jalapeños and other sides.
El Caballito kick-off. This King West bar is starting the celebration early at 4:30pm, but the patio will likely fill up quickly. Tequila Tromba and Corona are sponsoring the event, so you can guess which libations might be on special. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. More info here.
Party against cancer. Steamwhistle Brewery is hosting a Cinco de Mayo fundraiser for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. There will be games, DJs and silent auction prizes from the Blue Jays and Ontario Craft Brewers. And, of course, there will be a piñata too. Tickets are $15 in advance online and $20 at the door. More info here.
Fringe fundraising with dance. The Inamorata Dance Collective is holding a fundraiser for their production in this year’s Fringe Festival. Admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the door, with $5 drinks for most of the night. Beginner salsa dancers get a brief lesson before live performances, and there will be a piñata to smash at midnight. More info here.
Luchadores galore. Superkick’d dubs its Liberty Village events as “pro wrestling rock shows.” Their Cinco de Mayo party will feature some familiar faces (or masks?) and some new talent from its wrestling training program. There’s a 150-person capacity limit, so if you’re interested get there before the event starts at 8pm. Entrance is $10 and it’s standing room only. More info here.
Drake One Fifty pop-up. This Cinco de Mayo-themed pop-up inside Drake One Fifty features a $75 four-course prix fixe created by guest chef Donnie Masterson (The Restaurant, San Miguel de Allende). There will also be Altos Tequila cocktail pairings. Things kick off at 5pm and it’s a good idea to book yourself in ahead of time. More info here.
Liberty Village clubbing. The Forty2 Supperclub in Liberty Village will play host to Suáh Entertainment’s Cinco de Mayo party. The warehouse-style space is 5,300 square feet, so expect a trendy club vibe and chic LED lighting. While the doors open at 10pm, this event will likely run into the wee hours so set your party-hopping schedule accordingly. Tickets are $10-15 in advance and $20 at the door. More info here.
May 6 Cinco Fest. Still haven’t had enough fun? For anyone who can’t attend El Caballito’s kick-off party, there’s Cinco Fest. It’s a two-stop bar hop on King West from 3pm to 8pm. Each $25 ticket gets you a couple of drinks, swag and entrance to both venues. More info here.
Milagro Cantina and Tortería San Cosme are NOW Access partners. Check out their offers on nowaccess.ca.