Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the victory of the Mexican army over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Not sure what the French were doing invading Mexico? That's okay, the French weren't really clear about it either.
September 16, on the other hand, is a commemoration of "El Grito de la Independencia"--a speech given by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla which (among other things, including some arrests, a jailbreak and anger with the Spanish colonial government) triggered the Mexican revolution against Spain. Actual independence from Spain wasn't declared until more than a decade later, but the Mexican people really, really liked that speech, so that's the day they chose to celebrate.
All history aside, food people know that both days stand as excellent excuses to go out, drink too many margaritas and eat lots of tacos in celebration of the Mexican people's victories over the French and the Spanish. In places like L.A., Phoenix, Denver and Albuquerque, both days are made for huge parties--the streets choked with cars, the bars and restaurants full and overflowing out onto the sidewalks. In Seattle, things are a bit more tame. Okay, a lot more tame. But still, there are some places getting in on the sur de la frontera action--especially this year, since 2010 is the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence.With two locations (one in Capitol Hill, the other in Bellevue), Barrio is celebrating El Grito with half-off all tequila at both locations--which means twice as many toasts to Hidalgo.
The Saint is taking things a bit further with happy hour food and drink prices running all night long, grub-and-margarita combos at cut-rate prices and a special drink (the Hidalgo: tequila, lime and sugar), custom made for toasting, shooting and repeating.
El Mestizo (which I love, by the way), is going halfsies on the drinks all evening.
La Carta de Oaxaca? They're not doing anything special. Though, not for nothing, every night there might just as well be a celebration of Mexico of one sort or another. Same thing with Mama's Mexican Kitchen--just business as usual.
Actually, it seems like most places in town have no big parties planned. But if you good people happen to know of anything happening at your neighborhood cantinas and taquerias, be a pal and leave a comment here so that those looking to hoist a couple in the name of independence (Mexican or otherwise) will know what their options are.