Did you know that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day? Well if so, kuddos to you on knowing some Mexican history. But for the rest of you...we sure enjoy using this party as a great chance to educate you about the famous Battle Of Puebla which took place during the Franco- Mexican war in 1862. And although Mexico lost that battle, they did eventually kick out the Napolean lead invaders and were able to regain control of their beautiful mother land. And thankfully so, or maybe we would be serving beignets instead of tacos! So yearly, on or near May 5th ,Casa Tina’s commemorates this battle in a big way. Preparations begin days before when our kitchen goes into full swing cooking thousands of pounds of rice, beans and tamales as well as hundreds of gallons of multiple fresh salsas. Visiting artist, direct from Mexico, begin to arrive ready to perform traditional song and dance and excited to sell their beautiful folkloric handcrafts.The street closes down and tents, tables, stages and chairs are readied for the celebration to be begin! Mariachi music fills the air, colorful dancers grace the stage, and salsa lessons begin to prep the crowd for the upcoming dance party. Staff and customers alike take part in a colorful and musical walking procession carrying drums and larger than life size paper mache puppets past the delighted onlookers lining the pavement. And as day fades to night the entire block turns into Dunedin’s largest dance party...thousands of revelers celebrating the infamous battle under the star-lit, margarita- perfumed sky!
The power of marketing is pervasive and remarkable. The story and rise of Cinco de Mayo celebrations is very closely tied to the marketing of Corona beer. Think about it...we had a few really good beer sales days...Super Bowl, St. Patricks Day, 4th of July. But do you notice the hole? How about beer executives scour the world for an event to fill that void. And Voila! A little known battle in the state of Puebla, where Mexicans kicked the French butts (only temporarily though) happily catapulted Corona beer and its sales into one of the largest marketing successes in modern history. But, it’s NOT INDEPENDENCE DAY! Unfortunately, folks learned more about Corona, thru the growth of this holiday, than the actual history of Mexico. So what’s a Mexican restaurateur to do? Host a awesome fiesta celebrating the actual Independence Day and hopefully amongst the tequila and tacos, our customers might leave us with a few more tidbits of information and understanding about our closest southern neighbor. Folkloric dancing, period costumes and our recreation of the famous Grito de Dolores (cry for independence) make this an event you don’t want to miss. We take great pride in recognizing Mexico’s Independence from Spain in 1810 and hope you will join us in celebrating this wonderful national holiday.
Our most beautiful event celebrating Mexico’s Dia de Los Muertos , an annual holiday which pays reverence to those passed. Imagine putting your daily routine on hold for a 3 day celebration. A celebration where people cook aromatic dishes, purchase flowers, collect trinkets and mementos all used to honor and remember the important people that had previously graced our lives. A family gathering is followed by a walking procession to the community cemetery. Heady incense laden candlelit altars with photos and sugar skulls, amid music, and story telling. The ensuing ritual softens the pain of tears fallen between the beautifully decorated graveyard tombstone of the honored loved ones. This often misunderstood tradition is becoming more universally popular, partly due to the mass marketing of Dia de los Muertos Calavera products. But we ,at Casa Tina’s, believe in presenting the closet recreation possible in honoring this lovely tradition. So please join us for the weekend fiesta of folkloric dancing and music, wearable art fashion show and contest, Pinatas, folk art, face painting, traditional food and drink. And finally join us for giant puppet candlelit procession, a festive end to this touching tradition.
Customers get the biggest kick out of me still waiting tables after 30 years in this business. But to Javier and I, it's the greatest way to keep in touch with our customers and understand the rigorous demands made on our staff. Javier can be seen running food, busing tables or assisting the hostesses on any given night. Smiling and laughing, sharing a story or two, and truly connecting with each table he touches. I prefer to get in the muck and have a station to serve, just like the good old days, when I worked 7 days a week serving every table from breakfast to dinner. Back then, a necessity. We skirted the edge of bankruptcy for 3 long, stressful years from 92-95. All the while, juggling pregnancy and childbirth, day care and preschool. It was a punishing time that left us weak and bewildered. Had we made the wrong choice? Was Dunedin not the right place? We knew our food was good and that we were perfectly capable. But in the end, we deducted, it was just something we had to go through to grow the characteristics needed to be successful in this business in which so many fail. Perseverance, fortitude, creativity and faith. And boy, did we persevere! Long past are those tiresome and tedious days, as we have successfully paid our dues. Now, a bit more selective of the hours and days we put on the floor, we still enjoy the reason we got in to this business in the first place. We love it! All the difficult times are overshadowed by the thousands of connections we have made with people from all walks of life and from multiple careers and cultures. The lifelong friendships and camaraderie with co-workers, to the commitment to being part of something bigger than just us. So, next time you hear, "my name is Tina and it was my pleasure to serve you" please know, it really is ...MY pleasure!