Cinco de Woo Hoo!

Not like you need an excuse to hang out on the patio and drink margaritas all day, but hey, thanks to the victory of the Mexican army over the French some 150 or so years ago, you’ve got one. So grab a glass, some chips, a Cerveza or two and tap into the salsa and mariachi-filled love fest that surrounds. Ole!

When it comes to drinking margaritas (a favorite cinco-ritual) BiteClub has rather, well, simple tastes. Blended, fruity and never on the rocks. The cheaper the pitcher, the better. The more free chips that come while drinking, the better. The more tequila, the better. The more annoyingly inebriated people to watch? All the better. It’s about keepin’ it real, hombre.

Best bets for drinks
Las Guitarras: Folks either adore this Cotati sleeper, or absolutely hate it. BiteClub happens to be a huge fan of the tasty seafood fare and the brain-freezing blended raspberry margaritas. 7384 Commerce Blvd., Cotati, 707.792.4380

El Torito: Hit the bar and get yourself some paper bull-horns (kids usually get them free with dinner). Let the hilarity ensue. Pitchers tend to be a little light on the tequila. So order several. 5090 Redwood Dr., Rohnert Park, 707.206.9100. Outdoor seating: Ole!

Old Mexico: A classic choice for east-county revelers. 4501 Montgomery Dr, Santa Rosa, 707.539.2599. Outdoor seating: Ole!

Chevy’s: Let the kids in on the Cinco-vibe! Hands-down my rugrats’ favorite spot for, uh, chicken nuggets and balls of raw tortilla dough, Chevy’s does the faux margarita oh-so-well. With whipped cream, and in a glass the size of your head. 24 Fourth Street Santa Rosa, 571.1082 Outdoor seating: Ole!

Cantina: Hands down the best people-watching on the Santa Rosa square. Especially if you’re under 25 and wearing a belly shirt. They pack ’em in like sardines, and the beer and margaritas flow like water. 500 4th St., Santa Rosa, 707.523.3663. Outdoor seating: Ole!

Further afield…
Tres Agaves Tequila Bar: Killer margaritas and tequilas in San Francisco.
130 Townsend
San Francisco, 415.227.0500

Mexican in spirit
Russian River Brewing: TUMBAO performs Latin Jazz with Afro-Cuban Rhythms at the Russian River Brewery Company at 9pm Saturday. 725 4th Street, Santa Rosa, 707.545.BEER

Keep it simple. Keep it real. BiteClub’s favorite Mexican haunts-

La Texanita: Located on Sebastopol Ave., Texanita is a perennial taqueria favorite for locals, with constantly changing daily specials. Avoid the obvious: A serious burritophile friend got burned by the lackluster pollo asado. Weekends are for serious eaters, with posole, menudo and goat on the menu. 1667 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, 707.576.8805

Taqueria Las Palmas: Chiles relleno combination plate ($5.80): Deep-fried delight stuffed with cheese. 415 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, 707.546-3091

El Farolito: Fish tacos to die for. 128 Plaza Street Healdsburg, 707.433.2807

Taqueria Santa Rosa: Best bets for killer tacos (not the crispy kind, mind you). Carne asada rocks.1950 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa; 528.7956.

Taco truck tortas: Absolute best carne asada tortas are at the taco truck outside Joyeria Angelica on Sebastopol Avenue, Santa Rosa.

From shredded beef to Mexican bakery items, you’ll find it here. Including, if you should need it, a whole pig’s head (“Cabeza de puerco” is how to ask for it) 440 Dutton Ave # 17, Santa Rosa, 577.8846, or 1680 Petaluma Hill Rd, Santa Rosa, 571.7579.

Raley’s: 12-pack of Mexican beers, $10.99, chili butter, $2.99 and Tia Lupe’s Tamales $3.99.

Pacific Market: Coca-cola, lard and orange juice carnitas. Oh, damn. My heart just lept. You have to make it yourself, but the roast is on sale for $4.99. Recipe is available from Wednesday’s Press Democrat, or at the end of this blog…

Fun events to celebrate Cinco de Mayo

(All events on Saturday, May 5 unless indicated otherwise)

Mariachi Fun!
River Rock Casino: Live mariachi band from 5pm to 9pm. 3250 Highway 128, Geyserville.

Cinco De Mayo at Robledo Family Winery
Chef Maria Robledo prepares authentic Mexican food with Robledo Family wines. Entertainment includes live Mariachi music and Traditional Folkloric Dancers. 21901 Bonness Rd. in Sonoma, Ca $55, $40 for wine club members from noon to 4pm.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on Windsor Town Green (9455 Bell Road). Entertainment: Ballet Folklorica Sarita, Orquesta Borinquen, Children’s Crafts. Free. 5pm to 8pm. Call 707.838.1260 for details.

A thoughtful Cinco
– Take an Eco Tour of the Kunde Estate with Jeff Kunde. And, if nothing else, work off those chips and salsa. $75 and pre-registration is required. 707.282.1531

– Cinco de Yoga Open House
Games, free 45 minute classes and aromatherapy foot massage, plus smile-inducing Laughter Yoga, truly tangled Twister Yoga, yoga pose demonstrations and Limbo Yoga to Calypso guitar by Aldo Mosca. 577 5th St. West, Sonoma.


And, of course, the biggest festival of all will be held throughout the day Saturday in Roseland. Get all the details at

Carnitas, serves 6-8

6-7 pund (boneless or bone-in) pork butt cut into 8 oz. chunks
4 lbs. lard
2 Tbs. sea or Kosher salt
1 cup Coca-Cola (not diet!)
1 orange, juiced and quartered (use peel, juice & all)

Melt lard and carefully bring to a boil in a deep pot or Dutch oven. Carefully lower pieces of pork butt into the pot, a few at a time. Return to a boil, then turn down heat. Simmer uncovered for 2 hours or until meat is ender. Dissolve salt in 1/2 cup water and add it to the pot. Add Coca-Cola and the orange. Cook 10 more inutes. Remove meat from lard and pull meat from the bones. Serve with roasted tomato salsa, fresh tortillas, guacamole, lime wedges, rice and beans.