A Cinco de Mayo menu from kings of the Mexican food cart

The World

It’s Cinco de Mayo, and The Takeaway wants to go beyond beer and tortilla chips to talk about what should really be on your plate if you’re celebrating tonight. Helping us with the task are Jesse Vendley and Peter Oleyer. Along with Jesse’s brothers Brian and Dave, they are the co-owners of Calexico, one of the east coast’s most famous food carts and winner of the 2008 New York Vendy Award.

See Jesse and Peter’s tasty and simple Cinco de Mayo menu. Try out the recipes and send us a photo of the result on our Facebook page!


Makes eight tacos

* One and a half pound skirt steak, trimmed
* Eight (six-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
* One small head cabbage, cored and shredded
* Pico de Gallo (see recipe)
* Avocado Sauce (see recipe)

For marinade:

* One teaspoon ancho chile powder
* Half teaspoon chipotle powder
* One teaspoon garlic powder
* One teaspoon onion powder
* Two teaspoons paprika
* Quarter teaspoon ground cumin powder
* Quarter teaspoon ground coriander seed
* One teaspoon brown sugar
* One tablespoon vegetable oil
* Six tablespoons fresh lime juice
* One teaspoon salt
* Quarter teaspoon black pepper


1. Place steak in a gallon-size plastic resealable food storage bag.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together all marinade ingredients. Pour over steak in plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least six hours and up to overnight, turning every few hours.
3. Preheat a grill or grill pan over high heat.
4. Remove steak from marinade. Place steak on grill and cook, turning once, until cooked to medium, about five minutes per side. Remove steak from grill and let stand five to ten minutes before slicing against the grain.
5. To assemble tacos, place cabbage at bottom of tortilla and add meat, dividing evenly between tortillas. Top with Pico de Gallo and drizzle Avocado Sauce; serve immediately.

Please note you will have Avocado Sauce left over.



Makes enough for eight tacos

* Two ripe tomatoes, chopped
* Half white onion, chopped
* One tablespoon fresh lime juice
* One tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
* Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


In a medium bowl, mix together tomatoes, onions, lime juice, and cilantro; season with salt and pepper.



* One ripe avocado
* Three tablespoons fresh lime juice
* Six to eight ounces water
* Four tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
* One teaspoon salt


1. Combine all ingredients into a blender; puree until smooth.
2. Depending on the size of avocado, more water may be added for a smoother sauce.



* Twelve cups water
* Half a cup hibiscus flowers
* Four tablespoons lime juice
* One cup sugar
* Quarter teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add hibiscus, sugar and vanilla. Steep for one half hour.
2. Strain through a sieve and place in refrigerator until cool.
3. To finish the drink, add lime juice and adjust sweetness to taste. Serve over ice.

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