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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Best Cinco de Mayo and Kentucky Derby Parties This Weekend

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2013 at 11:40 AM

click to enlarge LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante

Cinco de Mayo: Hecho en San Francisco

Where: CUESA Kitchen at the Ferry Building (south end, near Market Bar)

When: Sun., May 5, 1 p.m.- 5 p.m.

Cost: $55, buy tickets online

The Rundown:

This weekend brings a host of opportunities to enjoy the good weather with celebrations for both the Kentucky Derby* and Cinco de Mayo. While I enjoy an ice-cold mint julep and margarita equally, I cleared out my calendar for the event I look forward (honestly) to all year: Hecho en San Francisco.

Partly because I don't find much joy in dressing up in seersucker or have much of a large hat fetish, but mostly because the last two Hecho en San Francisco events have been much fun, with some outstanding tequila cocktails and an assortment of some of the best Mexican food. Held outside in front of the CUESA Kitchen (now on the south side of the building), you'll get to eat and drink while basking in our unusually nice weather.

See also: La Paloma at Mosto is Must-o

La Palma and Rancho Gordo Collaborate on Heirloom Corn Tortillas

Drink of the Week: Getting Swept Away at Padrecito

The tequila will be flowing with five different brands pouring their wares in cocktails, but hopefully also alone. With this collection of brands would allow you to compare the differences between Lowlands (usually more vegetal) tequilas like Casa Noble, Herradura, and El Jimador and Highlands (typically fruity) brands like Don Julio and Olmeca Altos. Don't like tequila? The Corona and Victoria beer will be flowing as well.

The food last year was a collection of hand food perfect for walking and eating, like the exceptionally tart and fresh ceviche from Nopalito, spiked with enough fresh chile heat to make you sweat and cool you off. Tacos are the centerpiece: La Palma sets up two huge griddles and make fresh blue and yellow corn tortillas for the fabulously festive Tacolicious fillings that include a rich chicken mole or a vegan braised asparagus and potato filling. This year, get into the act by pressing out your own masa into tortillas at one of the interactive stations this year, or make your own salsa to take home.

Finish off with a reposado tequila sundae from Frozen Kuhsterd before you head home. Feel that glow? No, it's not sunburn (though seriously, put some sunscreen on) or the tequila, but the feeling of having enjoyed yourself while supporting CUESA and La Cocina. Doing good never felt or tasted this good.

Additional Cinco de Mayo fun on Sunday: Blackbird bar will be featuring special Tequila Brambles ($8, tequila, Amaro Ciocarro, blackberries, jalapeño, lime, yuzu), Elixir Saloon will be pouring rare tequilas and drink specials, and in Oakland, Bocanova will be serving an amazing three-course dinner ($28, drinks are a la carte) that includes ceviche, roasted pig, Mexican rice with spring vegetables, and avocado ice cream sandwiches.

*If you prefer to get down and Derby instead as your party of the weekend, the Starlight Room will be hosting another Kentucky Derby Brunch that is all inclusive for $50 on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. or pop by Elixir Saloon from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. for a special mint Julep menu.

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