Where to dine with the dead for Dia de los Muertos

A day to celebrate the departed
A day to celebrate the departed

What would you give to have just one more meal with a departed loved one? How fantastic would it be to have the chance to pull together a feast to celebrate that life? As Dia de los Muertos, the celebrated Day of the Dead, approaches with all its rituals and celebrations of the dearly departed, here are some local restaurants hosting feasts and celebrations of their own.

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Bring out your dead!
Bring out your dead!

El Burrito Mercado in St. Paul might just be the best one-stop shop for all things Day of the Dead. Their celebration will be held throughout the weekend of November 1. They will have a spectacular ofrenda on display, all the gear needed to build your own, tastings of pan de muerto (bread of the dead), and kids' face painting. On Saturday, El Burrito Mercado's co-owner Milissa Diaz will explain their ofrenda. On Sunday at 5 p.m. in El Burrito's Cafe, the restaurant will host a five-course dinner including margaritas, beer or wine, and sugar skull painting (for a little take-home token) all accompanied by a live musical trio. Explains Diaz, "It's really a Dia de los Muertos themed dinner party!" The dinner will cost $50 (RSVP to Milissa) but Saturday's celebration is free and open to the public.

Cafe Ena

in south Minneapolis will also host a special prix fixe menu from October 30 through November 2. Chef Hector Ruiz's dishes will include items like butternut squash sopa, Chiles en Nogada (roasted poblano peppers stuffed with braised grass-fed beef, apples, and raisins), corvina steamed with herbs in a banana leaf, and apple empanadas. The dinner is $30, and guests are encouraged to call Cafe Ena for reservations.

Rosa Mexicano at the edge of City Center in downtown Minneapolis has added several Day of the Dead-inspired dishes to its menu for October 30 - November 3. There is a fall guacamole with roasted pears, apples, and toasted almonds (a single order will run you $18.) There's a $29 sea scallop entree with pumpkin seed sauce, Huitlacoche flan, and a variety of $8.50 churros for dessert. A smoky special cocktail called El Diablo Ahumado, made with a chile-infused reposado, is mixed with apricot brandy, orange juice, and cinnamon.

Eat Street Buddha Kitchen, the new Asian fusion joint on the corner of 26th and Nicollet in Minneapolis, is throwing a nighttime bash Saturday, November 2. DJ Jezus Juice will be spinning tunes. Guests are encouraged to get decked out in their ghoulish best. There's no cover and they'll be serving up specialty cocktails like a $5 Corpse Reviver #2 made of absinthe, gin, and Cointreau, or the El Diablo, a sweet sipper of cherry juice and ginger ale spiked with tequila (drink enough of those and you're going to wish you were dead tomorrow.) All night long they'll also have specials on sushi, appetizers, and more. 

Minnesota History Center is an excellent spot for those wishing to learn more about the holiday. Beginning Saturday, October 26, and continuing through November 2, there will be folkloric dancing, cooking demonstrations, traditional Mexican games, skull-making workshops, samples of traditional foods, and beautiful ofrendas, tributes to those who have departed, created by local students and professional artists. All is included with the cost of admission to the museum, $11 for adults or free on Tuesday after 5 p.m.

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