Contrary to popular belief, May 5 isn't a celebration of Mexican independence, but of the unexpected victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. California has a strong claim to Cinco de Mayo festivities: homesick Mexican gold miners in Northern California really celebrated the win and a tradition was born.
To commemorate the day, we put together a menu of updated classics alongside dishes that call for Mesoamerican ingredients. And while you're out doing your shopping, check out these Mexican juice shops. For some more cooking inspiration, see how L.A.'s Mexican food has evolved through the years.