Halloween falls during the week this year, which means you have a choice of two weekends to don your freaky costumes and roam the streets, but there’s only one Dia de los Muertos. So pour one out for your fallen homies at any of the following…
La Calaca Feliz
2321 Fairmount Ave
Tim Spinner is offering a four course Day of the Dead tasting menu for $29. It begins with tamal de rana (slow braised frogs legs and green chili), moves to cemita sliders, then pork cheek mole coloradito with blue cheese grits and mustard greens, finally ending with traditional pan de muerto. At Cantina Feliz, the $28 menu (with the option to add a beverage pairing for only $12 more) is completely different and looks equally tasty. Red chili duck tamales with Dunks Ferry Dunkelweizen by Neshaminy Creek Brewing, anyone?
3945 Chestnut St
Jose Garces’ Distrito will be observing the Day of the Dead all weekend long. Friday kicks off with late night happy hour, prizes, and a DJ party, Saturday brings a series of traditional dishes - gambas a la mexicana and tamales con mole poblano - and Sunday is “You Made it Out Alive” brunch with $5 bloody marys and sangria. The Day of the Dead cocktail menu at Distrito looks particularly appealing, especially the Rosa Luna with Kah Blanco tequila, padron pepper, thyme, Aperol and citrus and the Escorpian with Kah Reposado tequila, chamomile and grapefruit.
3401 Walnut St
We know, we know. Mad Mex is about as Mexican as “University City” is West Philadelphia, but we’re including them in this list because they’re offering $7 22 ounce “big boned” margaritas (as in skeletons? get it?) and $6 22 ounce Dead Guy Ale drafts by Rogue. Also “Boney Wings” are half-price. November 1st only.
2013 Chestnut St
Through Sunday, November 3rd, Stephen Starr’s El Rey is getting in on the action. Chef Dionicio Jimenez, who hails from Puebla, Mexico, has created a heavy-on-the-organ meats-menu that evokes the body in a less literal way than Mad Mex’s. Each dish arrives in three components so you can try sesos (brain), for example, in ravioli with chipotle salsa, in croquettes with roasted pepper aioli, and tequila sautéed on bruchetta. Or morchilla (blood sausage) with squid, alongside potato confit and chilies arbol, and in albondigas with spiced tomato salsa. Jimenez’s menu also includes the traditional pan de muerto served with hot chocolate.
Its traditional on the Day of the Dead to set out offerings, and chef Nick Farina, of Bryn Mawr’s Verdad and the newly-opened Union Taco on Girard Avenue, are offering free tacos and margaritas. The deal is one free taco per person at Union Taco (712 W. Girard Ave.) from noon to 2 on Thursday, October 31st, and one order of three tacos per table at Verdad (818 W. Lancaster Ave) on Saturday, November 2nd, from 5:00 to 11:00pm. Also, belly up to the bar at Verdad between 5 and 7 on Friday, for a free margarita.
207 Chestnut St
From 5pm until 2am on Friday, Lucha Cartel is putting together a Dia de los Muertos party that sounds like a sideshow. They’ve promised a tamale cart, sugar skulls, and treats alongside a DJ, burlesque dancers, body and face painting, a costume contest, and dudes in lucha masks.