Cinco de Mayo Glow.

May 5, 2014

Los Angeles, CA.

When I have a craving for delicious salsa, I usually go to my sister and beg her to make her famous homemade (should be canned) version.  But on days like today, when we find ourselves on opposite sides of the country, I’ve got to resort to the next best thing: LA Mexican food- and that’s not too shabby either!

To be quite honest, growing up in New England, I never really had a whole lot of Mexican cuisine (Italian and seafood are the specialties over there NOT Mexican) and so for most of my early life, I was pretty convinced that I simply didn’t like it.  It wasn’t really until I moved to LA, that I learned how delicious a burrito or some fresh guacamole could be!  In fact, I don’t even remember celebrating Cinco de Mayo before I moved out to California.  With so many delicious restaurants to choose from- the real tough question becomes deciding which one to pick for the festivities of the night.  I’ve included just a couple of my favorite local spots but there are truly too many great ones to even count all over the Los Angeles area.  Not one of them, however, has a salsa that rivals my sisters so the first one that serves Erin’s salsa will truly have my heart as being the very best!

We took these photos very early in the glow of the morning and I just can’t get over how beautiful the weather has been here lately.  Although today has been a bit of a reprieve from the heat-wave we’ve been having, it’s still a gorgeous warm day.  I chose to wear a bit of a Cinco de Mayo inspired look with this key-hole tank from Old Navy and then paired it with some bright yellow jeans from Forever21.  Best part about this outfit? It’s Under $100.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Remember that time I went to Mexico last summer?  Take me back please!

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Kelly's Under $100 Look: 

Tank: $24.94 Old Navy

Sandals: $49.99 ShoeMint 

Jeans: $15.80 Forever21

Total: $90.70

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My Favorite Local Mexican Spots:

1. El Carmen: MID CITY

This quaint little Mexican spot is tucked away on 3rd Street and while it’s not very big inside, it’s perfect for catching up with friends, has an amazing happy hour.  It’s simply adorable and the service is great.  I love that when I walk inside, I immediately feel like I’ve been transported someplace else. Suddenly the busy third street madness is left behind and the fun atmosphere, delicious margaritas and great prices make this a favorite neighborhood go-to of mine.

8138 W. 3rd Street Los Angeles, CA 90048

2. Mexicali: THE VALLEY

I lived in Sherman Oaks for several years and  whenever friends would venture out to my neck of the woods, this was my go-to spot.  I had many a fun night over at this place (including my 21st birthday) and they have great, strong PITCHERS of margaritas, which are always fun if you’re going out with a group and they have tons of different varieties, including the Jessica Simpson margarita, that has no sugar- perfect for all you dieters!  The patio seating is wonderful as are the kobe beef tacos and ladies- the servers are always very cute men (at least they were back when my roommates and I were frequenting this place!)  Can’t go wrong with this old faithful.  12161 Ventura Blvd.  Studio City, CA 91604

3. Escuela Taqueria: MID CITY

This is probably my favorite spot hands down. Once just a tiny restaurant with only four or five tables, this place has moved and expanded to a larger location just down the street and while it’s still very tiny inside, the food manages to remain truly delicious.  It is a tapas style Mexican restaurant and so we always order a bunch of small dishes and share, which is great because then you’re able to try a little bit of everything.  My favorite dishes are the elote (corn), carnitas tacos, and the churros (which come with an incredible dark chocolate dipping sauce).  Oh and the best part? It’s BYOB! With so few restaruants that are set up this way now a days, it’s really kind of fun to bring your own beverages isn’t it? Not to mention, it really cuts the cost of the bill at the end.  This place is an absolute MUST!   7615 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036

Unlike the others I’ve mentioned, this spot has a really distinguishable sleek and modern vibe and it’s got a nice trendy element to it as well.  Located close to the beach and all the great shopping in that area, it’s a fun spot!  The spicy cucumber margaritas are AMAZING and they have some of the best fish tacos I’ve had.  In my book, you really can’t go wrong if you’ve got those things nailed down.  1416 4th Street Santa Monica, CA 90401

Shop this Cinco de Mayo inspired Look:

Photos  taken by: Courtney Locks