Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with food, drink and events

October 29, 2013

Updated 3 p.m., Oct. 30.

The day after Halloween doesn't mean the end of spirits. Raise your glass to deceased ancestors and enjoy the morbid folk art of Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, at celebrations around town.


The Mexican Cultural Institute's 2011 Day of the Dead altar. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Eats:

Wednesday through Saturday, Fuego Cocina y Tequileria will be celebrating with new cocktails, like the Sangre por Sangre (Blood in, Blood out), a chili-dusted margarita-sangria blend, and Ofrendas para Amigos (Gifts to Friends), which combines port, tequila, Jamaican tea and bitters, all served with dry ice. Chef Alfredo Solis will also be baking Pan de los Muertos, the bread of the dead.

Get bottomless margaritas and mimosas at Bandolero's special Day of the Dead brunch on Friday. Reservations are recommended.

Day of the Dead celebrations began last week at Oyamel, which is offering a special menu through Saturday in celebration of Jose Guadalupe Posada, a deceased political cartoonist. Poached oysters with spices, pumpkin soup and stuffed crab shell topped with sea urchin butter are among the restaurant's offerings. You can also get a mezcal cocktail inspired by atole, a Mexican porridge.

El Chucho is offering a Day of the Dead menu Thursday-Sunday, or until they run out of ingredients. You'll be able to sample spooky eats like  "brain" tacos  (seared sweetbreads with roasted red pepper coulis and daikon sprouts) and blood sausage with masa cakes. There are also $4 Cerveza de los Muertos bottles and $5 Kah Silver shots.

New dishes are hitting the menu at Rosa Mexicano through Sunday. Sip a Smoky Devil, a drink with Ancho chile-infused Herradura Reposado Tequila, blood orange, cinnamon and apricot brandy. You can also snack on scallops with a pumpkin seed pipian sauce and hot Mexican doughnuts for dessert.

Get pumpkin-infused mezcal and pumpkin spice enchiladas -- with pumpkin custard for dessert -- at Casa Oaxaca, where they've also erected a traditional Day of the Dead altar. The menu items are available through Saturday.

Taco Bamba is hosting a Day of the Dead party from 4-8 p.m. Friday, with Mexican candy for kids, and a buy-two-get-one-free deal on their traditional tacos for everyone else.

Events:

At the National Portrait Gallery, take a special Day of the Dead tour with artist Tina Mion with the theme of death. She'll lead you to the gallery's offerings that address the grim topic, but the 7 p.m. Friday tour promises humor in addition to contemplation.

Because the Day of the Dead isn't just about eating and drinking, head to the Mexican Cultural Institute for the elaborate altar to the deceased. It's open Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

The Mexican Cultural Institute is partnering with Artisphere to bring Los Angeles Latin-fusion band La Santa Cecilia for a special Day of the Dead concert Friday at 8 p.m. The band is notable for its outspoken stance on immigration reform.

A live mariachi band will score an exhibition from 12 artists on the theme of life and death at the Arlington Arts Center, where guests can also eat the bread of the dead and sip Mexican hot chocolate Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. It's all free -- as is a teen Day of the Dead art workshop at 4:30 p.m.

Radio CPR is hosting a Day of the Dead festival in Lamont Park on Saturday, with a procession beginning at 3:45 p.m. Listen to live music and see performances from GALA Hispanic Theatre, as well as poets and musicians. Kids can participate in arts and crafts workshops.

VisArts Rockville will be hosting a Day of the Dead costume party Friday at 9 p.m. featuring music from Wicked Jezebel and Gina DeSimone and the Moaners ($15 admission). There are also three arts workshops at 8 p.m.: fused glass plates, burlesque drawing, and skull mosaics ($15-50).

Know of any other Day of the Dead celebrations? Let us know at goingoutguide@washpost.com, and we'll add them to this list.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.
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