Weeklong ¡Viva Mexico! celebrations at Zengo, Tamayo and La Sandia

El Grito

-- the day when Mexicans across the world commemorate that country's independence from Spanish rule -- isn't until September 16, but Richard Sandoval, chef-owner of



La Sandia



, is getting an early start on all the celebrations.

Beginning today and continuing though Sunday, September 20, all of Sandoval's metro area restaurants will feature ¡Viva Mexico! menus and cocktails, including a sparkling Mexican sangria and the agave del sol, whose recipe is below.

Agave del sol 3 fresh blackberries 1 1/2 oz Reposado tequila 1 oz sour mix 1/2 bottle ginger beer 1 wedge fresh lime

Muddle the blackberries in a shaker. Add tequila and sour mix and shake. Pour into a rocks glass and top with ginger beer. Garnish with lime.

Menu specials include pork carnitas tacos al Jalisco; rock shrimp and octopus ceviche; chile de arbol lobster tacos; pan-seared halibut with a huitlacoche-zucchini tamale; chipotle tamales with chicken; and pan-roasted mero with mole. For more info, or to make a reservation, go to www.modernmexican.com.

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