Food & Dining
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Maria’s Mexican Restaurant’s Nachos Supreme and a lime margarita. (photo: Sanam Lamborn)

I have always felt that Cinco de Mayo in the United States is primarily a day when people indulge in Mexican food rather than pause and reflect on why it’s a day of remembrance. 

Puesta del Sol’s fresh jalapeño margarita. (photo: Sanam Lamborn)

Often it’s assumed to be Mexico’s Independence Day. However, historically speaking, Cinco de Mayo dates back to the Franco-Mexican war, commemorating the 1862 Mexican army’s victory over the French in the Battle of the Puebla, a city located in south-central Mexico. While it is not a significant holiday in Mexico, U.S. restaurants see an influx of celebratory patrons every Cinco de Mayo.  

In my humble opinion, a celebration at a Mexican restaurant must include a margarita, a popular tequila-based drink with a bit of mystery surrounding its invention. Several bartenders are credited with being the mastermind behind the original margarita. Nevertheless, all evidence leads to the following: It was invented in the 1940s in Mexico, and the original recipe was a combination of tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. 

What is a starter that goes well with margaritas? Nachos, of course! Interestingly, nachos were also invented in the 1940s in a border town named Piedras Negras, just south of Texas. 

Green Onion’s double Cadillac margarita. (photo: Sanam Lamborn)

Unlike margaritas, the invention is solely credited to Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, a hotel manager at Victory Club, who found himself having to prepare a quick snack with whatever he could find in the kitchen for patrons outside their restaurant hours. He topped corn tortillas with cheese and pickled jalapeños, then popped them in the oven. The quick invention became so popular that it became a regular menu item.

Where to go for margaritas and nachos in town? I have three long-standing local restaurants to suggest.

Undoubtedly, Green Onion Mexican Restaurant (145 W. 6th St.) has the strongest margarita game in town and is a clear winner because they are consistent. They have been long known for their double Cadillac margaritas, for a good reason. They are huge, tasty, and super strong. I have gotten into trouble with them more than I care to admit. 

Green Onion’s deluxe nachos. (photo: Sanam Lamborn)

As far as the nachos are concerned, it might sound strange, given that I am an “extra” person, but I much prefer their regular nachos (corn tortilla chips topped with refried beans, cheese, jalapeños, cheese, and guacamole) instead of their deluxe option (flour tortilla chips topped with refried beans, ground beef, jalapenos, cheese, tomatoes, green onion, black olives, guacamole, and sour cream). 

Puesta del Sol’s nachos supreme. (photo: Sanam Lamborn)

Puesta del Sol (1622 S. Gaffey St.) has long been my go-to place for nachos. The nacho supreme (corn tortilla chips topped with black beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, black olives, and jalapeños) truly lives up to its name. I particularly like to order mine with their carne asada because it’s very flavorful. I also love how their nachos are presented — on a low pyramid-like pile, a red tortilla shaped into a bowl houses the sour cream, guacamole, and the pico de gallo, representing the colors of the Mexican flag. Margarita-wise, I have long been a fan of their guava or mango flavors; however, lately, I have been enjoying the fresh jalapeño option, which is refreshing.

Maria’s Mexican Restaurant’s Nachos Supreme and a lime margarita. (photo: Sanam Lamborn)

My second favorite is the nachos at Maria’s Mexican Restaurant (28643 S. Western Ave.). Maria’s Nachos Supreme is made with large corn tortillas topped with beans, shredded beef in a red sauce, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and tomatoes. Jalapeños are also available by request; sadly, I often forget to ask for them. I particularly like the shredded beef because it elevates the taste of the nachos. Pair it with their original lime margarita with a slice of lime for a very satisfying combination. spt

Sanam Lamborn

Sanam Lamborn created the Eat in San Pedro Facebook group and Instagram account in April 2020 to entice people to patronize San Pedro’s eateries.