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slides: Holy ‘Mole! 5 Great RI Cinco De Mayo Celebration Spots

Thursday, May 01, 2014


You might assume that the holiday of Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, but it was actually established in the American West by Mexican Americans, during the first years of the Civil War, as a way to show support for the cause of freedom and democracy. Not to be confused with Mexico’s Independence Day – September 16 -- the fifth of May is a day to celebrate and be proud of your Mexican heritage, if you have any. And by latest count, many of us do… more than half of all the families moving to Rhode Island in the last decade were from Mexico. With them comes their rich and tasty culture and zest for celebration. In 2005, the United States Congress issued a resolution calling on the people of the United States to “observe Cinco de Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” We’re certainly not going to disobey the U.S. government…and neither should you! So celebrate with a delicious meal and some drinks! We set out to find 5 perfect places for you to indulge and came back with these...


Related Slideshow: 5 Rhode Island Restaurants to Celebrate Cinco De Mayo

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El Rancho Grande, Provide

This is the antidote to everything that Taco Bell has pounded into our consciousness. This is the way Mexican is supposed to be: fresh, local ingredients prepared simply and deliciously. Mother-and-son team Maria and Joaquin Meza have brought all of their family love to the top spot on our list. The flavors of the food are pure Mexican soul food, highlighted by the enchiladas with mole poblano. The sweet and spicy mole is the definition of depth of flavor. The bar features an array of craft margaritas that you can customize with a tequila of your choosing.

311 Plainfield St.



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Perro Salado, Newport

Our winner back in 2012 stays strong today with its unique concoction of food and drink and location and history. Located in an historic house that once was one of the state’s top French restaurants and may or may not be haunted gives Perro an added air of mystery to go with the deliciousness produced by Dan Hall and his wife Andi. Start with the blood orange margarita and sticky pork ribs and move on to local fish and meats and vegetables. All are delicious. The avocado fries with chipotle mayo are pretty delicious too.

19 Charles St.



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Cafe Ole, Providence

So, this was our Spinal Tap moment. Until a week ago, this restaurant was called the Barstow. We ate here on a Thursday, wrote about it the following Tuesday and it was closed when the story came out that Thursday. So we recommended a closed restaurant – an epic fail for food writers! But then, another blink of an eye: it is now called Cafe Ole! We wandered in, perplexed and asking questions, and honestly found some of the best simple Mexican food we’ve had, all in the capable hands of Chef Kurt Galloway. The queso and salsas are made daily and delish. Pulled chicken burritos are full of juicy white meat and smothered in an addictive mole, among other house-made sauces. Bartender Matt Carletti made a perfectly-balanced margarita. So while it’s normally a faux pas to review a days-old restaurant, we’re confident this one will stick around a while!

800 Allens Ave.


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Taqueria Lupita, Central

The first time we walked into Taqueria Lupita we knew we were in for a treat. The restaurant smelled heavenly, and the food is fresh and flavorful and very reasonably priced. The most expensive dish on the menu is $12.99. Most of the entrees are $9.99 and you can even get freshly made tamales for $2! We flipped for the chicken mole and the very interesting pineapple. We were surprised by how well the the pineapple flavor melded with the corn masa. It is wrapped in a corn husk and steamed and we loved it. If you are in the market for lunch, how can you beat a fresh Mexican lunch with salad, rice and refried beans alongside a choice of 7 other items for $6.50? Exactly.

765 Dexter St.



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El Azteca, Rumford

Our East Bay fave lands here for the authenticity of their flavors and their feel. We love to settle in with a pitcher of margaritas, order some nachos to split and then grab a couple of things from the “Especialities” section of the menu. This is where the flavors get really good. We are hooked on their mole ranchero. The flavors are top notch and the chicken is tender. We also love the carnitas Estilo Guerrero. The pork and rice have the perfect amount of bite to them.

335 Newport Ave.




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What a shame we don't have stories on Rhode Island history on Rhode Island Independence Day. Rhode Islanders declared their independence from the Great Britain on the 4th of May 1776, the first colony to do so.

Twelve years earlier RI'ers felt they were Taxed Enough Already firing cannons from Fort George (Goat Island) at royal revenue ships HMS St. John and HMS Squirrel.

On July 19 1769 HMS Liberty's (stolen by the British from John Hancock in 1768) captain, Captain Reid was confronted by a group of RI'ers that boarded, scuttled and burned the Liberty off the north tip of Goat Island.

In 1772 on June 9, the British revenue ship HMS Gaspee ran aground off Warwick, while chasing a RI merchant ship into port. RI'ers rowed out to the stranded vessel, promptly shot the Captain (just wounding him) took the crew prisoners, and burned the Gaspee to the waterline. This was a year and a half before Boston had their Tea Party.

A very happy and joyous Cinco de Mayo to everyone of Mexican decent or just Mexican for the day and let's not forget the spirit of freedom that RI'ers from any country, should be proud to share on RI Independents Day.

Comment #1 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 05 07

You missed some other really good ones.

Comment #2 by Marie Dawn Christie on 2014 05 07

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