By TBone Terry
Rosa Linda’s in Murrells Inlet will be the place to be on Cinco de Mayo. (That’s the 5th of May for you Gringos). With its assortment of Southwestern food, Mexican beers, tequila drinks, and a great band outside under the huge live oak tree, it’s certain to be one of the most popular spots on the Grand Strand. Rosa Linda’s is located at the fork of business 17 and Bypass 17 just behind the Chamber of Commerce.
From Bypass 17, I cut through the south end of inlet mall, past the K&W and across business 17. You can’t miss the building because it’s on stilts next to a huge oak tree and has upper and lower decks with a covered bandstand in the front yard. On Saturday night you will just have to hunt a parking place unless you get there early. It will be crowded enough that you will be caught in the merriment and good times.
Rosa Linda’s has been around since 1980, before most of you came to Myrtle Beach and before many of you were even born. A restaurant doesn’t stay in business that long, especially in this highly competitive market, unless it is doing things right. Doing things right is the specialty of owner Alice Ziriada and her son Christopher.
On most days you will find Alice back in the kitchen teaching the staff in the art of making tamales by hand or supervising the making of the salsas. With years of experience in Southwestern cuisine, Alice knows exactly how it should be done, and it shows in the quality of the food.
I had lunch there last week just to see if the food was as good as my last visit… it was… and maybe even a little better. My server was Melanie Curtis from Boone, N.C., a sharp and witty mountain girl with a magnetic personality. She introduced me to the extensive and beautiful menu. (The menu itself is a work of art, thanks to Christopher who designed it.)
I ordered an appetizer of guacamole dip with creamy avocado, fresh tomatoes, chopped onions and their secret blend of spices served with homemade corn chips. A meal in itself for only $5.49.
During the appetizer course I talked with Melanie about the menu and about the operation of the restaurant. Alice came out of the kitchen for a short while but was busy with the staff in the back of the house so didn’t stay long. I decided I wanted something with a little sizzle so she recommended the steak fajitas.
The fajitas were brought to me in a skillet popping and sizzling with a burst of aroma that made my palate quiver and my heart race. The steak was slivers of marinated skirt steak sautéed with fresh onions, green peppers and tomatoes. It was served with flour tortillas, sour crème, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole and rice.
Although I could have chosen freshly made tamales, beef or chicken chimachangas, seven types of nachos, five types of botanas, four kinds of burgers, three types of tacos including fish tacos, tostados, burritos, enchiladas, flautas, chile rellenos, or Baja shrimp or oyster platter, I was very satisfied with my choice. I will try some of the other selections the next time I visit. I was offered desserts of deep fried ice cream or deep fried apple pie but had to decline as I have to avoid sugar for the rest of my life.
My experience at Rosa Linda’s was very positive. Great food, great service and priced right. Visit them at 3415 Hwy. 17 Business in Murrells Inlet, S.C. or call them at 843- 299-0800. Their website www.rosalindascafe.com is under construction.
The Story of Cinco de Mayo
By TBone Terry
Cinco de Mayo is an American tradition. Most people believe that it celebrates Mexico’s independence and is equivalent to our Fourth of July. Wrong! That day is celebrated in Mexico on Sept. 16 which marks the beginning of the Mexican revolution in 1810 which lasted for a decade and led to the defeat of Spanish rule on Sept. 27, 1821.
The truth about Cinco de Mayo is that on this date in 1862, 4,000 rag tag Mexicans defeated 8,000 well equipped French soldiers from Napoleon’s army in the Mexican state of Puebla. The Mexicans know it as “El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla” English “The day of the battle of Puebla” It was a source of great pride as France was noted to have the best army in the world at the time.
Although it only lasted one day, the historical significance is immense. Napoleon was to seize Mexico so that he would have a base to operate to help the Confederate army during our “War between the States”
The Mexican treasury was depleted from the Mexican-American war of 1846-48, the Mexican Civil War of 1858 and the 1860 Reform Wars. President Benito Juarez issued a moratorium in which all foreign debt payments would be suspended for two years. In response, France, Britain, and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, at the time ruled by Napoleon III, decided to use the opportunity to establish a Latin empire in Mexico that would favor French interests, the Second Mexican Empire.
Some historians have argued that France’s real goal was to help break up the American Union, at the time in the midst of a civil war, by helping the Southern Confederacy: “The Mexicans had won a great victory that kept Napoleon III from supplying the confederate rebels for another year, allowing the United States to build a powerful army. This grand army smashed the Confederates at Gettysburg just 14 months after the battle of Puebla, essentially ending the Civil War.” The consequence of Cinco de Mayo to the United States has been thus recognized: “The defeat of the French army had consequences for America as well… the French defeat denied Napoleon III the opportunity to resupply the Confederate rebels for another year.”
Mexicans and Latinos living in California during the American Civil War are credited with being the first to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States.
According to a paper published by the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture about the origin of the observance of Cinco de Mayo in the United States, the modern American focus on that day first started in California in the 1860s in response to the resistance to French rule in Mexico. “Far up in the gold country town of Columbia (now Columbia State Park) Mexican miners were so overjoyed at the news that they spontaneously fired off rifle shots and fireworks, sang patriotic songs and made impromptu speeches.” A 2007 UCLA Newsroom article notes that “The holiday, which has been celebrated in California continuously since 1863, is virtually ignored in Mexico.” Time magazine reports that “Cinco de Mayo started to come into vogue in 1940s America during the rise of the Chicano movement.” United Press International reports that “The holiday crossed over into the rest of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s but didn’t gain popularity until the 1980s when marketers, especially beer companies, capitalized on the celebratory nature of the day and began to promote it.”
So Cinco de Mayo is a reason to party so get out there and join the fun. Just think what it would be like if the Mexicans had not defeated Napoleon’s army. We might be saying “Comment allez-vous” instead of “How’re Ya’ll.”