Oyamel’s Day of the Dead Honors El Santo
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, 401 7th St. NW, will celebrate its eighth annual celebration of Day of the Dead from Oct. 20–Nov. 2. Dating back to the time of the Aztecs, the Mexican holiday celebrates and honors friends and family members who have departed with offerings of food, drinks and gifts.
This year, Oyamel will honor Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, widely known as El Santo, Mexico’s legendary luchador wrestler, folk icon and actor. He is credited with popularizing professional wrestling and is commonly portrayed as a symbol of justice in his many films and comic books. He died in 1984, at the age of 66, a week after removing his famous silver mask on live television for the first and only time. His funeral remains among the most significant and ceremonious services in Mexican History.
Getting into the spirit at a media preview, the servers and bartenders wore masks or had painted faces. There is also a shrine to El Santo inside Oyamel’s front door with his picture along with burning candles, food, open bottles of liquor and religious icons.
Fresh off a trip to Mexico, head chef Colin King has created Day of the Dead menu specials inspired by El Santo’s favorite dishes after speaking with the wrestler’s family. For lunch and dinner, the menu features dishes priced from $10 $15 such as Pescado Veracruz, wild-sourced fish in a Veracruz-style sauce of tomato confit, caramelized pear onions, garlic, capers and olives; Huatape de Hongos, a green chileatole-style of wild, foraged mushrooms served over an herbaceous sauce of epazote, sorrel and jalapeño; Sopa de Fideos, a tomato broth with toasted vermicelli and mixed seasonal vegetables topped with fried Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca; Ancas de Rana en Mole Verde, frog legs served over a green mole of tomatillos and serrano chilies; Puerco en Chile Morita, local pork spare ribs braised and lacquered in a salsa of chipotle chile morita; Mole de Olla con Rebo de Res, braised local oxtail and vegetable stew served with pickled vegetables; Bistec con Pasilla, hanger steak over a sauté of cactus and seasonal squash mixed with salsa pasilla negra, finished with an egg and pickled chile dressing; and a sweet finish of Arroz con Leche.
In addition, beverage manager Jasmine Chae has developed cocktails based on El Santo’s movies. The specialty drinks priced from $12-$14 include El Santo vs. the Zombies, made with El Luchador organic tequila, 123 Organic tequila blanco, 123 Organic tequila añejo, D’Aristi, orange liqueur, orange, lemon and pomegranate; and The Witches Attack made with El Luchador blanco organic tequila, grapefruit, lavender mint syrup and soda.
On Oct. 20, Oyamel will host a kickoff celebration from 6-9:30 p.m. El Luchador Tequila, creaded by 123 Organic Tequila founder David Ravandi and inspired by the luchadores, will make its debut at the event. There will also be able to enjoy a live band, Santo’s movies on a TV over the bar and samples of the food and cocktail specials. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased at nvite.co/oyameldotd
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.