Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) will live again this week, with events leading up to the actual occasions on November 1st and 2nd. Multiple celebrations offer the chance to stuff yourself, and your departed loved ones, full of sweets and comfort eats. While sugar skulls might be enough for some of you, surely something more significant to eat and drink is in order before you get to all that spirit-raising sweet stuff. Find out where you can kill your appetite during Dia de Los Muertos events, your brain cells with a tequila cocktail recipe from The Varnish, and one or two "Day of the Dead" dining specials at local restaurants, in our user's guide to Dia de los Muertos in L.A.
Hollywood Forever: This Saturday, October 30th, this star-filled cemetery is holding its huge, annual Dia de los Muertos celebration. Sure, there are cemeteries where you might find less high-profile corpses, but you won't be tempted to snatch food from any graves here as a sampling of Mexican food vendors sell their eats. And where else could you leave a bottle of tequila for Johnny Ramone? Along with costumed Revolution-era "ghosts" wandering the site, musical performances thourghout the day, and multiple eateries, Monarcha Bakery will make the pan de muerto with skulls laid on top and Guelaguetza will have its own booth. Entry for the entire event is set at ten dollars. Saturday, October 30th. Procession starts at 2:00 P.M. and the event closes at midnight at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Malo: The Silver Lake restaurant plans an event this Monday evening, including a revival of their salsa using ghost chiles and pumpkin and potato tacos. Many restaurants have spooky Halloween cocktails, but Malo's has both tequila and hot sauce, mixing Cuatro Copas reposado with Tapatio, lemon juice, and ginger agave for the "Isla de Muertos" (Island of the Dead.) The $15 price along could kill you, but hopefully someone leaves another one on your grave. Free and open only to adults. November 1st, 8:00 P.M. 4326 W Sunset Blvd.
Olvera Street: The city's origins date back to the settlement on this street, setting a perfect backdrop for traditional evening Novenario processions from 7:00-9:00 P.M., which started this past Monday and go through next Tuesday night. Best part for the hungry? Free champurrado and pan de muerto follow the processions every evening. 7:00-9:00 nightly on Olvera Street.
Rosa Mexicano: The Downtown import from New York has a free cooking demo lead by chef John England at 10:00 A.M. on October 30th, showcasing a few regional fall foods from Mexico and giving a little history of Dia de los Muertos. The restaurant also has a special "Day of the Dead" menu starting tonight and going through November 21st, with lobster pozole, skate wing pipian, a pumpkin cocktail, and pumpkin cookies with horchata. Reservations are required for Saturday's cooking demo with a lady named Stacy at 213-746-0001.
Self-Help Graphics: This East L.A. arts center's annual events are a city mainstay and offer a lot of the same displays that will be seen at Hollywood Forever's event, in a more personal, community setting, although the Dia de los Muertos celebration itself has moved to East L.A. Civic Center. For the 37th year, people will again come with half-skull make-up, Aztec warriors will dance with fire and death's head headdresses, altar artist Ofelia Esparza will blow minds with detailed dedications to the dead, and live bands will play, while stands sell crafts, tamales, and atole. November 2nd, 5:00-11:00 P.M. at East Los Angeles Civic Center, 4801 East 3rd Street, East L.A..
UCLA: This Thursday night, The Daily Bruin tells us that Mariachi de UCLAtlán will play a free concert while dressed in skeleton costumes at The Fowler Museum. But first, guests are invited to come and decorate the space with traditional marigolds and their own drawings of altars. Thursday, October 28th at 6:00 P.M. at UCLA's North Campus.
Zamorana Candy Co.: L.A. Times points those who are sick of sugar skulls, champurrado, and pan de muerto to the creations of East L.A.'s La Zamorana Candy Co., who make their own tamarind-coated tarugos and milk-fudge jamoncillos with the help of an expert crew. Find stores that carry Zamorana online or at supermarkets like the Vallarta chain. 4326 W Sunset Blvd..
If staying home is your thing, or you're packing a Thermos to any of the above, Christopher Bostick of 213's star-bar The Varnish has put together the following tequila cocktail recipe, complete with a marigold garnish. It could very well lay you out and hey, even kill you. That is, if you drink enough of them.
Created by Christopher Bostick, bartender, The Varnish
2 oz. Espolón Tequila Reposado
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz. Orange Curaçao or Triple Sec
.5 oz. Light Agave Nectar
.5 cup peeled and chopped cantaloupe
1/8 tsp. Chile de Arbol powder
1 small edible marigold for garnish
Muddle strawberry with black peppercorns. Rinse a cocktail glass with absinthe. Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker and fine strain into the rinsed cocktail glass.
Earlier: How to Eat Better Than the Dead for Dia de los Muertos [Grub Street L.A.]