Started on October 17th and running through November 2nd, José Andrés’ Oyamel Cocina Mexicana is celebrating the Day of the Dead Mexican tradition. This year’s celebration is representative of the Monarch butterflies migration to Michoacan, Mexico and in honor of Vasco de Quiroga, the first bishop of Michoacan. (Photo above shows the altar honoring the bishop).
Oyamel’s General Manager, Michael Iglesias (above) and Chef Joe Raffa provide a setting and menu that truly represents the history of this chosen region. Michoacan, the land of lakes, is home to the Oyamel fir forest to which Monarch butterflies migrate yearly.
In a statement printed on the Oyamel menu, “The Mexican people believe the butterflies are the souls of their dearly departed returning home.” Per the menu statement, this migration sets the tone of the Day of the Dead festival where the celebration is a means of “enticing souls to linger with food, drink and festivities.”
The Michoacan region’s cuisine is hearty with land rich foods and herbs that you’ll taste in any of the amazing menu items created for this festival including corn, tropical fruits, pork and frijoles. According to popular references, the region is deemed the soul of Mexico and thus, produces Mexico’s soul food. A noticeably pork heavy selection is prepared brilliantly in a number of ways in the referenced dishes (Tostada de Apatzingán, top, and Taco De Chicharron con Naranja, bottom).
Other proteins consist of a decadently prepared rainbow trout (Trucha en Salsa de Hierbas) and an amazing squash soup (Sopa de Calabasa con Chicharron). Though potatoes are not generally prevalent in Mexico, in Michoacan they are a norm within the cuisine and you can enjoy a traditional potato fritter with kick (Tortitas de papa con Hoja Santa) that will have you coming back for more.
To satisfy your adventurous libation desires, the Harvest Moon and the Jarritos have been created in-house in honor of this event. And one cannot leave without enjoying a chocolate, rum-rich dessert (Champurrado, above) and the house-made Platano Liqueur.
On Tuesday, November 2nd from 8 – 11 p.m., Rudy Gonzalez Y Su Locura will perform Latin Jazz, conclusion of this year’s celebration. I highly recommend starting with the Tostada de Apatzingán and the Harvest Moon, followed by the Trucha en Salsa de Hierbas and the Champurrado with the house-made Platano Liquor (above) for dessert. These were my favorites. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it!