Cinco de Mayo (MSP)
We're planning to take the kids to the West Side of St Paul to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. Do folks recommend we eat at one of the many restaurants (if so, which one) or eat from vendors on the street (if so, what's the crowd favorite).
We've never been so any help is greatly appreciated!
If you are looking to NOT go to District del Sol, look to Minneapolis. Mercado Centrale does not do a specific Cinco de Mayo event, because Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater's May Day parade is always about the same time. The parade is on Sunday May 6th this year. The Mercado will be open as usual on 5-5. There will be a festival/food/street event at about 4th and Lake on Saturday, so maybe that is what you are looking for.
I've went to Mercado Central a couple of times for Cinco de Mayo, and it's dead there. They don't do anything to celebrate, so it's pretty much a ghost town. It's actually why I go - no big crowds so it's easy to get a table, and the service is fast. Granted, there are no festivities. but I am exclusively interested in the food so I walk away happy.
Hmmmm.... When I went to a Cinco de Mayo celebration in the District del Sol a few years ago, it was extremely difficult to find actual Mexican food. There were lots of mini donuts, funnel cakes, lemonade, french fries, and corn dogs. The lines for the three-count'em-three Mexican food vendors were unbearable.
Perhaps things have changed for this year, but I fear that this festival has gotten too popular to be interesting. Foodwise, it's not that different from any other street festival in the Twin Cities. But the music and dancing might still be good - not to mention the low-rider show. But plan to park way, way far away. And go to one of the permanent restaurants for food (such as El Burrito Mercado), not one of the festival food booths.
Me, I would head to Lake Street & Bloomington, in Minneapolis, for hopes of more authentic food and a less commercial Cinco de Mayo experience. But that's just me...