December 7, 2021

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Cinco de Mayo from home? Tips to celebrate another holiday under coronavirus shutdown

Celebration proves difficult, or at the very least much different from normal, during a global health pandemic.

Tuesday marks Cinco de Mayo. Gov. Gavin Newsom during a Monday news conference announced “adjustments” coming later this week to the stay-at-home order that will affect some businesses and allow for modified reopening, but bars and restaurants will remain closed to seated dining for another holiday.

Some restaurants have been doing business on a takeout-only basis since just before St. Patrick’s Day. Then came take-home Easter meals; Mother’s Day brunch boxes are on the horizon.

But first comes Cinco de Mayo, which is often celebrated by the consumption of Mexican food and margaritas.

Here are some tips and ideas for those planning to celebrate in the Sacramento area.

Support a local restaurant through takeout

A number of Sacramento’s Mexican restaurants are open for delivery or curbside pickup.

Zocalo in midtown, which dubbed Tuesday “Cinco de Quarantino” in social media posts over the weekend, offers both pickup and delivery, and continues to offer its taco Tuesday special, which includes a margarita, taco bar, chips and salsa, serving two for $25.

Mayahuel, downtown on K Street, is open 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily, offering a variety of meals as well as cocktails to-go. Its menu is available online.

Chando’s Tacos is also open at its locations on Arden Way, Power Inn Road, as well as in Roseville and West Sacramento. Following last week’s modification to Sacramento County’s stay-at-home order, which allowed food trucks to resume operation, Chando’s has sent its truck back out on the road: It made stops over the weekend in Carmichael, Roseville, Rocklin, Sacramento and more. Chando’s hasn’t released a schedule for this week yet, however.

Make your own guac, mix your own margaritas

For those who want to do it themselves, Cinco de Mayo is one of the easier holidays on the calendar. (Hot dogs for the Fourth of July are tough to beat, for ease.) Guacamole has lots of variables, but there’s a secret: Add bacon. Not just any bacon, but some good bacon. Cook the bacon, chop it and add it after you’ve assembled your favorite guacamole recipe. How much bacon should you use? About 12 ounces of uncooked bacon can be added to a batch of guacamole made with eight large avocados and it’s not too much bacon.

Of course, you’ll need to wash down all that bacon — er, guacamole — you’ll want a beverage. If you’re making a margarita, perhaps before your first Zoom call of the day, fresh citrus juice makes a huge difference. Start there. For a smoky variation of a margarita, try subbing out half the tequila for mezcal. Or you can use a chili-infused simple syrup to add a spicy kick to your beverage.

Go the fast food route

Taco Bell last Friday rolled out its “At Home Taco Bar,” which serves six people for $25. It is also providing recipes for some of its most popular menu items on its blog.

Chipotle, meanwhile, is offering free queso blanco with the purchase of any entree Tuesday.

Coronavirus shutdown has put damper on holidays

Holidays have been a test of social distancing mandates. Newsom issued his stay-at-home order March 19, but concerns were already elevated enough for Sacramento to cancel St. Patrick’s Day festivities two days earlier.

Concerns swelled again, from Newsom and other government and public health officials, as the religious observances of Easter, Passover and Ramadan came in April. And cities such as Davis have already canceled fireworks shows and other July 4 events more than two months in advance.

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