Cinco de Mayo—the tequila-soaked holiday the U.S has come to associate with Mexico’s independence—actually celebrates Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. But never mind the facts, here on Long Island Cinco de Mayo has taken over from Memorial Day as the symbolic start of the summer. And what is more summery than an early escape to to Amagansett for a stop at La Fondita?
This year the calendar cooperates beautifully. Cinco de Mayo falls on Thursday and La Fondita in Amagansett—a favorite for casual Mexican picnic-style dining and takeaway—has once again put together a special Cinco de Mayo menu to open the season. You have many options, but our money in on the tamales: labor intensive packets of sabrosura (deliciousness) that La Fondita only makes for special occasions like Cinco. This menu is only available on May 5.
“The Cinco de Mayo holiday is about traditions,” says chef Juan Gerónimo. “Food is a big component of any Mexican holiday, and for Cinco de Mayo we like to bring out some traditional Mexican dishes. This is our 16th Cinco de Mayo at La Fondita and our customers look forward to our tamales. They take a lot of time to prepare, which is why we save them for holidays, but they are always a popular special.”
Go for the tamal de pollo en salsa verde, filled with chicken in a green sauce or the tamal de rajas con queso, stuffed with sautéed poblano peppers, tomatoes, onions and jalapeño. If you want to try something new, “The chiles en nogada is a newer special, but also a traditional Mexican dish,” says Gerónimo. That is a stuffed poblano pepper with picadillo topped with a walnut cream sauce and pomegranate seeds, served with rice and refried beans.
“Have some of our delicious house-made churros for dessert and you will be very happy,” says Gerónimo.
And, if you want to take some La Fondita flavor to spice up your own dishes at home, pick up a bottle or two of their homemade salsas ($9 each). We asked the chef for some pairing advice and he gave us a rundown of his favorites:
“Salsa Verde #3 is mild flavorful salsa that I like to use more like a sauce, for instance my platillo de costillas which is now on the specials menu. It is a sauce I use for my enchiladas de pollo and in chilaquiles. It is a versatile salsa.
“Salsa de Pipian #5 pairs well with fish, especially our fish tacos, and Salsa de Chipotle #7 is great on pork dishes like tacos al pastor and tacos de carnitas. Salsa de habanero #8 is the one for people who want to add an extra kick to anything.”
So buen provecho (bon appetit) as we ring in the summer Mexican-Long Island style!