It all started with a Chocolate Tacolate and an invitation from Salt and Straw to check out its take on the choco taco ice cream novelty, in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Salt and Straw ice cream maker Tyler Malek made just 300 of the cool treats for the Larchmont store, shipped directly from the company’s headquarters in Portland, OR.
The next step was to find someone to help with the taste test…and who better to consult than Carlos García De Alba Z., Consul General of Mexico, who happens to live in nearby Fremont Place?
But first, I was invited to stop by the Mexican Consulate just a few miles east of here, at 6th Street and Park View, for an impromptu flashmob of Mexican-Americans from Puebla, Mexico, re-enacting the famous battle of Puebla, in which Mexican liberal forces defeated an occupying French army and its Mexican conservative allies during one of Mexico’s serial 19th century civil wars. According to historian José M. Alamillo, a professor of Chicana/o Studies at California State University Channel Islands, that’s what we are commemorating on Cinco de Mayo — not Mexican Independence Day, which is actually September 16.
The flashmob was organized by the Richardo Hervera, Director of Casa Puebla in LA as part of Mexico in LA, a year-long program of events at the Consulate highlighting the various states of Mexico. More than100 events are planned throughout the year, focusing on culture, economy, community and education, offering Los Angelenos an incredible opportunity to experience the best of Mexico without leaving LA.
The Cinco de Mayo re-enactment startled visitors to the consulate Friday morning as they witnessed the “battle,” which took all of 12 minutes, according to Consulate staff.
“It’s important for our young children to know what Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates,” explained Hervera.
Alamillo invites everyone to enjoy and celebrate the holiday, “But when you do, take a moment to reflect on the evolution of this holiday that commemorates the Americanization of a Mexican diaspora eager to assert its own identity — and, increasingly, the Mexicanization of mainstream U.S. culture as well.”
For those who prefer to eat their celebratory calories, instead of drinking them, stop by Salt and Straw today before all the chocolate tacolates are gone. The handmade taco shaped waffle cone shell with cinnamon and ancho chili ice cream, covered with Woodblock Chocolate, and topped with Bitterman’s Sel Gris was a hit with our official taster, Gaby, assistant to Mr. De Alba.
Thanks to all for my most memorable Cinco de Mayo and certainly the most informed one!