Friday Five: Cinco de Mayo

Taqueria MayaTwo big things coming up next week: Cinco de Mayo and Derby. You’ll see some Derby-related posts from me early next week, but I’m in a mood for spicy Mexican, so Friday is devoted to Cinco de Mayo!

In the past few years, there’s been a surge of good Mexican restaurants– no longer the beans/rice/protein, Americanized stuff– you can get all kinds of authentic Mexican food right here in Cincinnati.

1. La Mexicana, my very favorite Mexican restaurant, is a little hole-in-the-wall on Monmouth street. I love their super-fresh guacamole and barbacoa tacos. You can also get more exotic fare, like goat and tripe. I’ve never had a bad meal there.

2. Taqueria Mercado, Downtown. I really love their nachos (I know, American, but very high quality ingredients). In fact, it’s the only thing I get. I’d steer away from their margaritas– the first few times I had them, they were great. Not so much anymore.

3. Taqueria Maya, Mason, which is also owned by the same folks who own Taqueria Mercado. This vibe is much more street-food than its downtown sister, and specializes in tortas.

4. Rio Grande, Newport, which is more of the “Americanized” stuff, but good quality (their fajitas are great) with fast, friendly service– and good margaritas.

5. Cincy Cinco Festival, which is next weekend on Fountain Square, features lots of Latin American food, including Puerto Rican and Central American food from the following vendors:
Taqueria Mercado

Mi Ranchito

El Pollo Locuaz

El Valle Verde

La Plaza Supermarket

El Manantial Latino

Yuerva Buena

It’s May 7 and 8th on Fountain Square, from 12 PM-11 PM on Saturday and 12PM-7 PM on Sunday.  I can’t wait to try it out.