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Monday, April 27, 2015

Cinco Celebration

Restaurant owners prepare for May 5 festivities

On May 5, 1862, Mexican Army forces achieved an unlikely victory over French forces in the historic Battle of Puebla under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin in the State of Puebla in Mexico. In Mexico, this victory is largely celebrated in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is called El Dia de la Batallia de Puebla (Day of the Battle of Puebla). In the United States, this celebration has commonly become known as Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) signifying the date of this decisive battle. This date of celebration is often mistaken to be the day of Mexican Independence, which is incorrect. In this country, it has become a festive day of celebration originating with Mexican-Americans but is now celebrated by everyone though, admittedly, not all Americans know exactly what they are celebrating. Husband and wife restaurateurs, Rigoberto and Blanca Angel celebrate the historic date at both locations of their popular El Mariachi Mexican Restaurants in Bossier City. The Barksdale Boulevard location (at 3500 Barksdale Blvd.) was opened first in 2004, and the Airline Drive location (at 2369 Airline Drive, Suite 500) was opened four years later in 2008.  Though Blanca is a native of Guatemala in Central America, Rigoberto is actually a native of the state of Puebla in Mexico, the actual site of the historic victory over the French troops in 1862. Happily married for 22 years, the Angels are making their restaurants a true family business with their daughter, Patricia, and son, Leonardo, joining in the management of the two restaurants. This May 5, both restaurant locations will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with happy hour stretching all day long from the opening at 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. These are the daily operating hours of both locations seven days a week. They will also feature bilingual singer/keyboardist Eddie Eddie at the Barksdale Boulevard location. Eddie Eddie is a regular entertainer featured in rotation at both El Mariachi Restaurants, but this day he will only be performing at the Barksdale Boulevard location.  Though most Shreveport-Bossier City residents enjoy Tex-Mex cuisine, the Angels want to make a distinction between the food found at their restaurants and the usual Tex-Mex fare. “At El Mariachi, one thing that distinguishes us is the freshness of our dishes,” Blanca said. Certainly, El Mariachi offers many dishes that can be found in most Tex-Mex establishments such as tamales, tacos, enchiladas, burritos and fajitas. However, they also have many house specialties such as their jalapeno pork chops, cocktel de camarones and tequila camarones. The cocktel de camarones is the El Mariachi version of a shrimp cocktail, which, in this case, is served in a tall glass with the cocktail sauce in a more liquid form than usually found in seafood establishments in the South. Instead of the camaraones ringing the edge of the glass, they are swimming in the liquid sauce along with chunks of avocado, onions and cilantro. The tequila camarones are large shrimp marinated in tequila and grilled to perfection (obviously, the tequila evaporates during the grilling process). Other house specialties include the alambra, which is a choice of fajita beef or chicken with bell peppers and onions and baked topped with cheese, and the mileneza, again, a choice of fajita beef or chicken that is deep fried after being breaded. Both of these dishes are served with beans, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole. Another house specialty is the bistek ranchero, which is tender beef tips stewed with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and spices. This is also served with pico de gallo, guacamole, rice and beans. The guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo and beans (either refried or charro) are all freshly created in-house. For dessert, El Mariachi offers cinnamon fried ice cream, sopapillas, homemade flan and apple or peach fried quesadillas.


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