Dia de los Muertos 2013: huitlacoche flan, blood orange margaritas, sugar skulls and more

Restaurants and bars around Los Angeles are offering Dia de los Muertos specials.
Restaurants and bars around Los Angeles are offering Dia de los Muertos specials.
(Brian Van Der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

This year, Dia de los Muertos, the “Day of the Dead” celebration that commemorates friends and family who have passed away, spills into the weekend, All Hallow’s Eve on Thursday), All Saints Day on Friday and All Souls Day on Saturday. To plan accordingly, here are several Day of the Dead festivities to consider, including an art tour with dinner and spots offering Dia de los Muertos punch or a habanero blood orange margarita. Also, brush up on your sugar-skull-decorating skills.

Border Grill is throwing a Day of the Dead celebration with a different menu at each location. Border Grill Santa Monica will serve a prix fixe menu ($42), with pulpo a la parilla and barbacoa short rib, and Border Grill downtown will serve a la carte black paella and a “bloody” sangrita sampler. Friday, 4 to 11 p.m. 1445 4th St., Santa Monica, (310) 451-1655; 445 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, (213) 486-5171;

Cinco is serving, along with “Day of the Dead” drink specials, traditional mole negro plates on Friday and Saturday, and an altar will be up all week for guests to pay tribute to loved ones with photographs and sweets. Menu specials include: tacos de pollo con mole negro (two for $8), mole memelas ($10), enchiladas de pollo con mole with rice and beans ($13), and pollo con mole negro with rice and beans ($14). Drink specials: mezcal margaritas ($7), house margaritas ($6), and “The Guerrero” -- Indio beer plus a shot of mezcal ($8). Live mariachi on Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. 7241 W. Manchester Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 910-0895,

Rosa Mexicano is launching a special menu of fall dishes through Nov. 3 in honor of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Day of the Dead menu additions include fall guacamole, prepared tableside with roasted pears, apples and toasted almonds; sea scallops with pumpkin seed pipian and flan made with huitlacoche and caramelized chayote squash; churros en bolsa, hot doughnuts served with three kinds of dipping sauces; and El Diablo Ahumado (The Smoky Devil), a spicy cocktail made with ancho-chile-infused Herradura Reposado, blood orange, apricot brandy and cinnamon. L.A. Live, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 746-0001; 8570 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 657-4991;


La Sandia in Santa Monica is celebrating Dia de los Muertos with food and drink specials on Friday, including mole rojo, slow-roasted pork carnitas with a red mole sauce, and habanero blood orange margaritas. 395 Santa Monica Place, No. 305N, Santa Monica, (310) 393-3300,

At La Cuevita bar, a glass of its Dia de los Muertos punch, available through Saturday, will be $4 during happy hour from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Patrons can decorate Day of the Dead house-made sugar skulls (Thursday-Saturday) and Instagram their work (#lacuevitabar), with the bar picking the best ones by Nov. 3. On Saturday, the bar is holding a Day of the Dead costume contest, 9 p.m. to midnight. 5922 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, (323) 255-6871,

Tortilla Republic offers a special four-course prix fixe menu to commemorate Dia de los Muertos: a choice of albondigas (meatballs), potato soup or jicama, avocado, radish and orange salad, followed by esquites, a creamy corn parfait. Main-course choices include pulled chicken mole tamales or salmon pibil baked in banana leaves with roasted acorn squash and garlic spinach. For dessert, pumpkin flan. 616 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 657-9888,

Loteria Grill and Artbites on Saturday will present an art gallery tour and dinner in honor of Dia de los Muertos. A gallery discussion will be led by art and food historian Maite Gomez-Rejon, touring LACMA’s collection of Latin American art highlighting objects of life and death while tracing the evolution of Mexican art and cuisine from pre-Hispanic to Colonial times. After the tour, guests will dine at Loteria Grill in Hollywood for a three-course dinner from chef Jimmy Shaw. The exhibition tour starts at 5:30 p.m., with dinner immediately following. Guest are to meet at the BP Grand Entrance on the LACMA campus in front of the Urban Light display. $80 per person (including tour, dinner and one cocktail, plus valet parking). Reservations are required and can be made by visiting and clicking on “Day of the Dead.” LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 857-6000. Loteria Grill, 6627 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 465-2500,

Yxta Cocina Mexicana is throwing a Day of the Dead celebration with Sino Tequila on Friday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. with a DJ, dancing, and food and drink specials: $6 Sino house margaritas, $7 Jamaica margaritas, $3 Tecate, $10 Day of the Dead cocktails and $2 al pastor, carnitas and chicken tinga tacos. Two tamales with rajas and queso Oaxaca will be $7. Call or go to the restaurant’s website for reservations. 601 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 596-5579,


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