Cinco de Mayo Survival Guide

On St. Patty’s Day we’re all Irish and on Cinco de Mayo we’re all Mexican. It’s that time of year to be Mexican again. Are you ready for tequilas, cervezas, fish tacos, and sombreros? Joonbug loves a well-made tequila cocktail and also loves sipping on some good tequilas. You can't beat a day of Mexican food, drinks, and culture as I’m sure many of you embrace on this festive day. Cinco de Mayo started with Mexican-Americans on the west coast celebrating democracy and freedom at the start of the American Civil War. So how do we survive celebrating the holiday? Well Joonbug doesn’t want you to just survive. We want you to relish. So here are some tips on what to include in your celebrations:

Wahoo's is in NYC, Dude!

Wahoo's Fish Tacos, the prominent West Coast chain restaurant, has arrived on the East Coast. The surfer-friendly, fast-casual spot opened its New York doors on Monday in the Flatiron District.

West Coast transplants and NYC locals-alike will find the standard Wahoo's menu in place. Of course, patrons can expect Fish Tacos (grilled white fish on a soft corn tortilla topped with cheddar and jack cheese, cabbage and homemade salsa), Burritos (including the "Wet" option which is topped with cheese and Wahoo's Green Sauce) and other surf style-inspired fare.

Diners can also enjoy one of six beers-on-tap, including a local one from Brooklyn-basked Kelso Brewery.

So lock up your board and head over soon. No doubt the lines at this ever-popular locale will soon be gnarly.

Eatin' Good in Lincoln Square

In an age of molecular gastronomy and small plates, a true neighborhood restaurant, serving up honest food with lots of personality is hard to come by. Perhaps that’s why people are so taken with the understated charm and delicious menu offerings at Rockwell’s Neighborhood Grill in Lincoln Square. Owner’s Bryan and Kathy Crelly, Texans relocated to Chicago, opened the place in 2004 and since then have been giving customers reliable, down-to-earth cuisine at prices that don’t break the bank.

Rockwell’s is the perfect spot for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The Bears game is on television, they’re serving Bloody Mary specials (generously garnished with blue-cheese stuffed olives, pepperoncini, and pickles) and the Tex-Mex inspired menu options are tantalizing. For breakfast try the Chapin Platter (eggs with refried beans, avocado, pico de gallo and fried plantains) or the Bourbon St. Tacos (with andouille sausage and sautéed peppers and onions).

El Rey

El Rey serves up home-style Mexican fair with a little twist. Chef Dionicio Jimenez, formerly Chef of Xochitl, heads the kitchen. The menu appears rather simple but is filled with confusing language that leaves diners leaning on the staff for translations.

As you ponder over the menu options, order the Guacamole and Salsa as a starter (both are perfectly seasoned). For an entree consider the Fish Tacos. The clean flavors make your mouth water but whatever you do, skip the Chile en Nogada. The stuffed pepper includes a ridiculous number of conflicting ingredients including cheese sauce topped with pomegranate seeds (awkward).

Cheap Eats: Fish Tacos

Food from south of the border is becoming more popular- and as Taco Bell comes up with new ways to exploit the taco, its nice to know some places still do it fresh. Places like Pinche Taqueria, who is known for their Taco de Pescado.

At $3.95, the fish taco is a house-made corn tortilla with fried mahi-mahi, cabbage slaw with cilantro mayo, guacamole, chopped onions and fresh cilantro. There’s also battered and fried fish in there. Not your average taco, but a perfectly light flavor for summer outings in the city.

If the fish isn’t for you, you can try the Taco de Polla Asada, which is a charbroiled chicken taco. With the same toppings, the choice is yours, whether you like fish or chicken better. However, if you have a more sophisticated pallet, Pinches Taqueria also has shrimp tacos. I’m sorry, Taco de Camaron. Critics say this one is amazing and the shrimp is fried perfectly.