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Feast: Sandia Resort & Casino celebrates Día de los Muertos with pairing dinner

A traditional Mexican holiday that commemorates the deceased will be celebrated through food and drink at Bien Shur Rooftop Restaurant.

The fine dining restaurant at Sandia Resort & Casino is hosting a Día de los Muertos Pairing Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 2. The menu is inspired by various regions of Mexico. Masks y Mas owner Kiko Torres will add to the Día de los Muertos theme and create an atmosphere guests will delight in. The local business specializes in Mexican folk art and more.

“I wanted to do food from all the regions that celebrate it the most like the Yucatan style, the Mexico City style,” Bien Shur head chef J. Martin Torrez said. “I just took a little bit out of every region and made it my own. This is going to be a fun dinner.”

The event begins with a Recepción of Pequeña Langosta Chile Relleno, paired with nopal sangre, a sweet and savory cocktail made with Espolòn tequila, strawberries, mint and a splash of balsamic. The first course features Ensalada del Berros, made of baby watercress, hearts of palm, blood orange, avocado and citrus vinaigrette. It will be complemented with Aullar a la Luna, a peppery cocktail made with Bien Shur’s exclusive Patron Barrel Select Añejo and hints of vanilla and pomegranate. The Segundo course features Tamale del Pato, made of duck confit, mole, Oaxaca cheese and cilantro served with a Sabroso Sabio cocktail.

“My favorite would probably be the Sabroso Sabio,” said Kristian Rose, Bien Shur supervisor and mixologist, who created the dinner’s cocktail menu. “It’s a mixture of muddled habanero peppers and muddled mango, and then we use Los Amantes Mezcal … to cut the sweetness of the mango and muddled sage on top of the mango, as well.”

The main course is a Yucatan-inspired dish, Cochinita Pork Pibil, made of kurobuta pork loin, roasted anchiote and citron with black bean puree, pickled red onion, grilled pineapple and habanero.

“I also had to research and see what every region liked, like the Tamale de Pato with the mole and that’s going to be a fun dish,” Torrez said. “And the Pequeña Langosta Chile Relleno, everyone knows chile relleno, but I want to elevate it with lobster and smoked gouda.”

The Cochinita Pork Pibil will be served with a Jaltun Ha cocktail made of Xtabentun liqueur and La Pinta pomegranate tequila. The last course features Empanada de la Manzana, made with Granny Smith apples, añejo anglaise and goat cheese caramel. It will be paired with Mezcache, which is created from a housemade Tepache, brown sugar, cinnamon and Ancho Reyes chile liqueur.

“The majority of the cocktails I tried to pick different liquors and liqueurs that are used throughout Mexico, so we have tequilas, mezcals and Xtabentún, which is a honey, anise liqueur that actually dates back to Mayan times, supposedly legend has it, which is made with a flower called Xtabay,” Rose said. “We also have Tepache, which is a liqueur that’s made from fermented pineapple.”

The Día de los Muertos Pairing Dinner will mark Torrez’s last day and last dinner at Bien Shur. He has served as head chef of the restaurant for three years.

“I want to go out with a bang,” he said. “I had a lot of fun doing all the dinners, but I think this is going to be a lot more fun because it’s incorporated with Day of the Dead, so I think this is going to be one of the best ones.”