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Cinco de Mayo

One of my favourite traditions is our annual Cinco de Mayo feast.

Mid-April, I start thinking about succulent steak, flavoured and grilled to perfection. In late April, thoughts of creamy, garlicky guacamole enter my mind. By May 1, I am scouring the stores for fixings to have an incredible Cinco spread.

Finally, the big day arrives. I refuse to eat anything after 1 p.m. so I can get my stomach ready for what’s about to come. Here is our typical menu:


My gentleman friend prepares the steaks with his special secret marinade early in the day, so they have loads of time to absorb that deliciousness. He then grills them ever so slightly, so they get a nice char on the outside, but remain pink and juicy on the inside.

Peppers and Onions

We cut the vegetables in half, lightly brush them with corn oil, season with GSP (garlic, salt, and pepper; thank you BBQ Pit Boys for that handy acronym), and grill until they’re lightly charred but still firm. I usually cut them into strips or chunks so they become finger food.


I don’t even know where to start with professing my love for this dish. I use a mortar and pestle to get this bad boy going. The way it smashes the garlic and jalapenos into a smooth paste makes it so much easier to distribute evenly through the mostly-mashed, still-kinda-chunky avocado. Salt, pepper, lime zest, and lime juice finish it off with lip-smacking goodness.

Pico de Gallo

This dish is so simple, but the flavour and texture it brings is amazing. It’s a simple combination of equal parts tomato, onion, and jalapeno, finished with lime juice, salt, and pepper. Now, I am someone who loathes raw onions of any kind. But, this dish only needs to sit for about 10 minutes or so before the onions lose some of their rawness (the lime juice almost pickles them). However, it still has just enough bite to keep you interested. I can tell you this is a tasty condiment that you don’t want to pass up.


I prepare a big dish of Mexican-inspired rice with homemade taco seasoning, tomatoes, and corn. This gets added to our fajitas, but also serves as a base for deconstructed fajita bowls the next day for lunch (basically everything except the tortillas).


These include the incidentals that we don’t make from scratch, like sour cream, salsa, and tortillas.

But perhaps the most important part of the meal, the kick-off to the gorge fest, the piece de resistance: we do a shot of tequila as a toast to the meal we are about to share.

This year presented a slight difference, however. The reality of my fading youth hit me in a big way: I completely forgot the proper consumption order of lime/salt/tequila.

Embarrassing, but everything tasted so damn good, I didn’t care that much.

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