Saturday May 3rd, for the 3rd year in a row, Taza Chocolate collaborated with local food and drink vendors for a Cinco de Mayo block party to end all block parties. I don’t think that I’ve ever been to an actual block party (sounds like something the Brady Bunch would do) but if I ever do get invited to one, the bar has been set high.
Taza is a Somerville-based organic, stone-ground chocolate company, specializing in all things dark and delicious. They have a line of Chocolate Mexicano discs, hence the Cinco celebrations. They opened their store for samples (try the Coco Besos) and Cinco de Mayo decorations and shut down the street outside for food trucks and other treats.
There were no margaritas this year, but Slumbrew was there sampling their Porter Square Porter, made with Taza cacao nibs. I’ve had some chocolate brews before and this one nails it. My sample was ice cold and totally delicious– not overpoweringly chocolately but full and tasty. The packaging features the recognizable but somehow anonymous “Gift of the Wind” sculpture located outside the Porter Square T stop.
For eats, there were food trucks the Latin Spoon, The Happy Taco, and the Taco Party. I ordered both the Baja Fish and the Chili Chicken taco from The Happy Taco and honestly couldn’t decide which was better. The Baja Fish had a kick to it which I suspected came from chopped green chiles in the sauce, while the Chili Chicken was sweeter. Both were supremely tasty and I was very happy.
After that, I headed over to The Latin Spoon because my journalistic duties called. I ordered the veggie pata-cone and my friend had the sweet corn moon with steak. My veggie cone was chock full of broccoli and cabbage and topped with an avocado sauce. The cone itself is traditionally fried plantains but mine seemed to be potato. Honestly, I ate it too fast to investigate. The sweet corn moon was phenomenally savory and, again, it was hard to choose a favorite.
After all that food, one could indulge in Real Pops, an adorable cart offering fresh Mexican-style ice pops. Other forms of refreshment included Spindrift soda and NoLa’s salsa. I sampled their traditional Mexican salsa fresca and I immediately went to the Taza booth where I could purchase a quart of the stuff ($6.50). La Nina tortilla chips, that I was introduced to at Ned Devine’s Chili Cup, would be a great pairing with the light and zesty salsa. This was my first time hearing of NoLa’s and I’m a convert.
Saturday was a warm enough day and people were enjoying their empanadas and ice pops outside or wandering around the Somerville Open Studios inside. This yearly event coincided with the block party but could also be found across the city via free trolley system. Orange balloons with the SOS logo were bopping from buildings all over Somerville to signify that artists’ work was on display. Over 400 artists opened their studio doors to visitors this year and what better way to view art than with a Slumbrew in hand?
Overall, the atmosphere at the block party was relaxed with groups milling between the Taza store, Slumbrew samplings, and studios inside to the taco trucks and sample booths outside. DJ Riobamba provided live music that had everyone cha-cha-ing while they waited for their tacos. At the end of the day, I have a new favorite salsa to celebrate my Cinco de Mayo and I can’t wait to find new local favorites next year.