Celebrating Dia de los Muertos

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Dia de los Muertos aka Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated November 1 and 2. It is a time to celebrate those loved ones who have passed away. I was invited to celebrate Dia de los Muertos on Friday evening at Cosecha located in the Housewives Market in Old Oakland. Cosecha is a relatively new addition in Oakland, about 14 months, and I have dined there a handful of times. Their food is authentic and excellent. Like many other alumni from Chez Panisse, Dominica has opened up a successful business.

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Doors opened at 7:00pm and the host wearing traditional make-up checked us in and seated us at communal tables. Wine and peanuts were available to us as we got situated and got to know our neighbors.

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The first course was a beautifully colored salad made up of persimmon, pomegranate seeds, lettuce, cucumber, jicama, pepitos, and avocado. It was a generous portion and I ate every bite of the fresh ingredients.

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The main dish was a chicken mole and came with two tamales. The base of mole sauces are chili peppers. Dominica had been working on this dish for two days. It had a rich flavor with a nice heat to it. My friends who in my opinion are “Mexican food connoisseurs” thought this was one of the best mole sauces they have had. I haven’t had enough experience with mole sauces, but this one was the best I have had and ridiculously delicious. I enjoyed the tamales. They were prepared thin which I liked, and a great compliment to the chicken and sauce.

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The sides were brought out for us to share. We had bowls of rice, beans, and zucchini & tomatoes. The experience of passing the sides allowed for a fun, family style environment.

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For dessert, we had Pan de Muerto which translates to Bread of the Dead. They are sweet rolls shaped like a bun. Cosecha was serving two types, one was coated with sugar and one with sesame seeds. The breads were fluffy and fresh. It wasn’t as tasty as a flan, but it was fun to participate in the tradition. Platters of grapes also came around to the tables as well as Mexican coffee with a hint of cinnamon.

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This was the second year Cosecha has had the Dia de los Muertos dinners and I hope this ritual continues.

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Me and Dominica

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