Panama City Beach – Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on Thursday with Mexican-inspired dishes at home or at local restaurants. “Thanks to Jan Waddy of the News Herald for the article,” said Jerry Eyler of Best Panama City Beach Condo Rentals at Celadon Beach Resort www.bestpanamacitybeachcondo.com “I also think that Jan’s articles with recipes from the featured restaurants are fun,” Eyler Said.
Although Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla, it is mainly a U.S. holiday to celebrate Mexican heritage.
Chulas – “I think it’s an occasion for American people to get out and celebrate,” said Rita Taylor, executive chef of Chulas by Rita Mexican & Caribbean Grill in Panama City. “It’s way to go out and have fun. We need it. We work a lot.” Chulas’ Cinco de Mayo drink specials include draft beer, $1.50 domestic and $2 Dos Equis. Taylor also makes homemade sangria. Food specials include $1 off nachos and dinner for two for $18.
“One of our best recipes — I think it’s the best in town — is pico de gallo, very authentic,” Taylor said. She was happy to share her recipe for pico de gallo “Chulas way,” she said. “It is good!”
Live music with Billy Rader is from 6 to 8 p.m.
“We are having a big celebration in there,” Taylor said.
Los Antojitos – Panama City natives Matt and Mynta Harbison, owners of Los Antojitos, have combined restaurant experience with research.
“We have gone to Texas, Mexico and California in search of the best Mexican and fish tacos,” Mynta Harbison said. “We did a fish taco trip.” It paid off, with Los Antojitos being voted Best of Bay for the past six years.
“There are 100 different ways to do a fish taco,” Mynta Harbison said. “Some are completely fried, grilled, different sauces, types of coleslaw. Ours is called baja-style, great with local seafood. It uses fresh fish.”
The margaritas are made with fresh squeezed lime juice.
“It makes all the difference in the world,” Mynta Harbison said.
On Thursday, there will be $5 top shelf margaritas, $2 domestics and $2.50 imports. Start the celebration early, as Los Antojitos will open its doors at 10 a.m.
Maddie’s La Casita – on Harrison Avenue will be offering $2 beer and $1.25 taco specials, $3 wine and the daily special, $5.99 chimichangas, on Thursday. A mariachi band will play from noon to 3 p.m.
You can continue the celebration downtown on Friday during Friday Fest. A little farther down Harrison, Trigo Restaurant serves a delicious Chicken Enchilada Soup, made with Corona beer.
Chulas Pico de Gallo
1 large firm tomato or 4 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
1 large green pepper, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt to taste
1½ teaspoon of chopped oregano
Mix all ingredients. Serve on salads, fish tacos, tacos al pastor, guacamole, etc.
Los Antojitos Fish Tacos
1 pound white flaky fish, grouper, mahi or your choice, cut into 2-ounce strips
2 cups egg wash
1 egg whisked mixed with 1½ cups milk
2 cups seafood breader (seasoned flour)
Monterey Jack cheese
Pico de gallo
Soak the fish with the egg wash and then dredge in seafood breader. Lightly fry in skillet with fry oil. Place the fish on a warm tortilla, top with jalapeno coleslaw, pico de gallo and Monterey Jack Cheese.
Los Antojitos Jalapeno Cole Slaw
1 head of shredded cabbage
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped pickled jalapeno pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
Mix all ingredients, mix well and refrigerate two hours.
Trigo Restaurant Chicken Enchilada Soup
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 large yellow onion, small dice
8 cups of chicken broth
1 red and green pepper, small dice
¼ cup flour
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups of half and half
1 teaspoon hot chili powder
1 bottle of Corona beer
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup uncooked white rice
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 small can of tomato paste
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 pounds of processed cheese; cubed
1 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 15-ounce cans enchilada sauce
2 15-ounce cans of Rotel tomatoes and peppers
Heat oil in a large stockpot; add onions, peppers, and garlic. Sauté for five to seven minutes. Add spices and stir to distribute. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Add beer, Rotel, enchilada sauce, lime juice, tomato paste and white rice. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to med-low for 20 to 25 minutes. Add cubed chicken; stir to distribute. Add half and half and cubed processed cheese.
Reduce heat to low for 10 minutes and stir often to prevent cheese and rice from burning on the bottom of the stock pot.
Once cheese has been melted, remove from heat and serve. Garnish with tortilla strips or fresh lime wedges if desired.
Makes 12 servings.