Cinco de Mayo Dining, Art, Fundraisers, and Wrestling too!

Cinco de Mayo is a Los Angeles holiday favorite...and although presidential candidate Donald Trump has managed to alienate Mexicans everywhere, this year's holiday is especially important to celebrate.

La Cabaña Mexican Restaurant, on Rose Avenue just west of Lincoln, is a late night Venice hangout (open until 3am). Enjoy traditional Mexican fare here for the big holiday with a mariachi band, specials, and endless chips and salsa.

Photo courtesy of La Cabaña Mexican Restaurant

The family-run restaurant celebrated its fifty-year anniversary in 2013. Owner Nina Haro has created a family legacy with La Cabaña while including family members in the business. Her son and general manager Carlos Haro, works at the restaurant along with his four siblings. Her daughter, Nina Haro, an artist and graduate of Art Center College of Pasadena created the murals and artwork for the restaurant.

A new Venice location of Green Leaf Chop Shop opened last month on Abbot Kinney. The popular eatery has locations in Century City, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and two in Costa Mesa. The restaurant is known for offering healthy options while still providing big taste. The Venice location will be open for Cinco de Mayo offering dishes such as Al Pastor Tacos (marinated pork shoulder)....or err on the healthy side and order the Mexplosion Salad along with a skinny margarita and you're all set for a guiltless Mexican fiesta.

Or...enjoy an art party with a purpose at HARK's (Healing Arts Reaching Children) annual fundraiser at Santa Monica restaurant Upper West. The restaurant has agreed to donate 30% of all sales on the night of the event (May 5).

An affiliate support group of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, HARK was established in 2006 to provide a creative outlet for young patients and their families. Each Tuesday, HARK creates a space at the hospital where children and their family members can attend an art workshop. Here they receive an array of art supplies, and volunteers offer artistic support. Then on Fridays, HARK's newest addition (an art cart) is brought directly to children's rooms where they can choose art supplies to then create their own works of art. Laurie Hutton (longtime volunteer and president of HARK) said, "Overall the child's mood, pain, and stress are all improved with the art and music added into the healing equation. The kids always light up with the offer of art or a harmonica."

Photo courtesy of HARK; A child sporting his latest creation at a HARK art workshop

Danny Hutton (husband of Laurie Hutton and one of the founders and lead singer in Three Dog Night) will attend the fundraiser. He has been a consistent supporter of HARK and was able to arrange two free tickets to an upcoming Three Dog Night concert to be raffled off at the event. Additional prizes include an original print by artist Tod Lychkoff and artworks created by children in the HARK workshops.

The event is free, but thirty percent of each diner's check will be donated to HARK. Mexican inspired dishes will be offered along with the standard menu. Upper West Restaurant is located at 3321 Pico Blvd., in Santa Monica on May 5, from 5-10pm. To make a reservation, call (310) 586-1111;

Geraldine Gilliland, owner of Lula Cocina Mexicana, created the restaurant out of her love for Mexican cuisine. Gilliland trained with the renowned Mexican chef Lula Bertran in Mexico City prior to opening the busy Santa Monica restaurant, which took the neighborhood by storm. This July the restaurant will celebrate 25 years.

Enjoy a taste of Cinco de Mayo at Lula Cocina Mexicana. Some of its most popular dishes include Fajitas, Baja Fish Tacos, Shrimp Ceviche, Tiger Shrimp Tostada and lots more.

Photo courtesy of Lula Cocina Mexicana, Beef Fajitas

Hunter G. Hall (Director of Operations at Lula and CBB Restaurant Group) said, "Year after year, Lula continues to impress us in the Santa Monica community. We're so lucky to have built such a loyal following of regulars, and we continue to attract new clientele every day thanks to our fantastic staff, delicious food and fun atmosphere."

If you are looking for something completely different, order your tickets now for LUCHA VaVOOM. Witness a Mexican masked wrestling match and variety show at the Mayan in Downtown LA. Created in 2002, LUCHA VaVOOM is the brainchild of Rita D'Albert and Liz Fairbairn, and features burlesque comedy and music performances in between wrestling rounds - offering something for everyone. This year's event features Guerrero Maya, Jr. (CMLL luchador from Mexico City), Mexican masked meanie Magno, Extreme Tiger (one-time TNA X Division Champion), Piñatita, Doctor Maldad and the Crazy Chickens. Enjoy performances by Titán, Marawa the Amazing, Leigh Acosta, Molly D'amour and Miss Marquez, Folkloricos Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet, Mariachis, Aztec Dancers, and more.

Photo by Timothy Norris; LUCHA VaVOOM

Two performances take place at the Mayan in downtown Los Angeles (1038 S. Hill St.) on Thursday, May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) and Friday, May 6, at 8pm (doors open at 7pm). Tickets for this 21+ event are on sale now at $48.50. For tickets and more information, visit:

As always, restaurants such as Border Grill, Don Antonio's, El Cholo, El Coyote, El Nopal, Lotería! Grill, etc., will all be serving up some tasty Mexican dishes for Cinco de Mayo.