Hola Designers, today (April 30), on what would have been my Dad’s 74th birthday, I am sending out an Early Edition of Body Designs. Don’t expect one this Sunday, Tracy and I have other plans. Besides, Since the topic is obviously Cinco de Mayo, I don’t want you to have any excuses as to why didn’t “Party HEARTY“.
Happy Cinco de Mayo mis amigos!
Believe it or not, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more here in the United States (especially in California) than in Mexico. The holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). Those who enjoy partaking in the “traditional” festivities find themselves eating enormous amounts of Mexican food and drinking endless shots of tequila or bottomless margaritas.
And while we ALL know that consuming too much alcohol, chips, guacamole, cheese enchiladas, refried beans and tamales is a recipe for diet disaster, there are ways and places the celebration and your diet, for the most part, can continue without missing a beat.
First, if you are hosting a party this weekend, instead of serving a spread of the foods I listed above, step out of the box and choose to prepare homemade salsa over opening a can of Ortega. You’ll reduce the sodium level and taste the “essence” of the fresh ingredients. Trash the guacamole and whip up some of Tracy’s black bean dip with a little jalapeno for a kick. Instead of using chips for the dip, chop up some jicama, bake or grill a chayote squash (which I like to grill) and/or clean and prepare some Nopales cactus paddles.
For the main course, “tortillaless” fajitas is the way to go. Just grill-up skinless chicken breast (or tenders from Trader Joe’s), shrimp and/or strips of bottom round steak with an oil-free sautee of onions and bell peppers (use non-stick spray and the water that secrete naturally from the vegetables). Season to taste.
For dessert? Mexicans don’t always eat flan or pastry at the end of a meal. How about some traditional fruit? Be creative, you can freeze some fruit juice in a popsicle mold and a little milk to make them creamy. Sorbet anyone? Use some Mexican flavors like chili powder and watermelon juice, orange and lime or cucumber and mint.
What about the alcohol you say? Skinny or Virgin Margaritas are just what your Trainer ordered! I am not giving Tracy’s recipe away! Tons of recipes can be found online.
There you have it, voila! Hey, that’s not Spanish!! Anyway, your guests will be impressed! And they will thank you for keeping your diet in tact.
Now, if that seems like too much work, but you still want to celebrate, I have two places I’d like to recommend. There is Talapazola on Gateway in West LA and on Venice Blvd. in Venice or Lares on Pico in Santa Monica. Both places have good healthy choices (i.e. Grilled Trout at Talapazola – ask for Joe at Gateway; Surf-n-Turf Fajitas without the tortillas at Lares – great Mariachi on the weekends). Tracy and I will be at one or the other. Guaranteed! Which place has the best margaritas, hands down, Talapazola. The Cadillac comes with a shot of grand marnier and top shelf tequila that the waiter pours in at your table along with one (shot of tequila) for you to down upon the drinks arrival. It can’t be beat.
On this date (May 5) in history? Take a guess…1821, the first independent Mexican government was established and in 1863, the first Cinco de Mayo celebration in California.