I’m only going shopping once a week now–6:00 AM Thursday mornings for special senior hours at Harris Teeter, where EVERYONE wears a mask, customer or staff. Therefore, last night I was making my grocery list. Realizing that Cinco de Mayo was next week, I was trying to decide what special Mexican dish I would make for that night. (I know that Cinco de Mayo is basically just an American made-up holiday, but I like celebrating almost anything.) I was debating whether I would acknowledge the American nature of the holiday by making a Tex-Mex dish, which has little resemblance to actual Mexican food, just like the holiday has little to do with Mexican history. Or should I do something more authentic, like carnitas or even chicken with a mole sauce?
Then I realized what would make this holiday REALLY special. We could go to our favorite Mexican restaurant!
Just for take out, of course; like most of the country, North Carolina restaurants are only allowed to provide curb side or take out right now. Still, we NEVER go to a Mexican restaurant on Cinco de Mayo because we don’t enjoy having a meal in a loud, rowdy atmosphere. And if there’s a mariachi band–forget it, my husband is out of there!
Eating at home, we could have Mexican restaurant food in a quiet environment on the holiday itself. However, what would make it really special is that we would be helping support one of our favorite local restaurants, which are struggling for survival during this pandemic.
To be honest, I don’t go out to restaurants that much. I enjoy cooking, and my food is cheaper, usually healthier, and often even better than restaurant food. I do most Mexican recipes pretty well, although there are a few that I prefer at restaurants. But I love that Mexican restaurant experience: the colorful decorations, the festive music, the warm, freshly-fried tortilla chips and salsa with a cold Dos XX amber beer in a frosty mug or a delicious margarita on the rocks. This restaurant, which is one of a small local family-owned chain, has been the site for many a birthday party, girls night out, end-of-class lunch, or other family outings. My mother was from Southern California, and although she is dead now, we remember her each year by following my childhood practice of going to a Mexican restaurant on Christmas Eve. So how much would I miss it if my local restaurant went out of business? I would survive, of course, but I would be losing a part of our family history and tradition.
Therefore, I will be getting take out on May 5 as my way of supporting them. It’s not much, but if a lot of us do it, it adds up.
If this sentiment alone is not enough to get those of you with some disposal income to patronize your favorite Mexican restaurant, how about if I throw in a little Jose Cuervo? Maybe not in the way that you expect….
Alcohol is one of the few growth industries in this time of economic downturn due to our stay-at-home orders from the epidemic (see my recent post about online Happy Hours). However, Jose Cuervo is sharing the wealth. The company is donating ONE MILLION DOLLARS to help those in need. It is splitting its contributions between:
CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees), a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the children of food and beverage service employees who are faced with a health crisis or a natural disaster and in need of help.
World Central Kitchen #ChefsforAmerica movement, a team of food first responders, mobilizing with the urgency of now to get meals to those who need them most, including children, families and seniors, as well as frontline healthcare workers
But that’s not all. Jose Cuervo also believes you should be supporting your local Mexican restaurants for this holiday. To encourage more of us to do so, Jose Cuervo is running a contest in which it may even pay for your meal!
From April 28-May 5, people who get take out from a LOCAL Mexican restaurant can tweet a copy of their receipt to @JoseCuervo and include the hashtags #CincoToGo and #CuervoContest. Jose Cuervo will have a random drawing to PAY that receipt for up to 250 winners EACH DAY. That is, Jose Cuervo will pay for up to a total of $200,000 in meal over the nine days, but only for small, local restaurants. It can’t be part of a national chain or restaurant group, it can’t be publicly treated, and it can’t have more than 10 sites. So my favorite restaurant counts!
I love this idea! I had already decided that was the best way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo before I found out about it, because I only discovered this contest when doing some Internet research for this post. I’m not on Twitter, so I won’t be participating. But it is a great way to leverage some publicity and more support for our struggling local restaurants, on top of a generous donation to support unemployed restaurant workers and the wonderful work that chef José Andrés and his team are doing through World Central Kitchen. To echo singer Shelly West, Jose Cuervo, you are a friend of mine.
So if you are able, go support your favorite Mexican restaurant. Then if you are on Twitter, enter the contest at: https://cuervo.com/cinco-to-go/. If you win, you can always go get another meal and support them twice!