Mix up a taste of Baja California with these colorful recipes perfect for Dia de los Muertos.
From Tijuana in the north (where fine dining chefs like Javier Plascencia have the world’s attention) to the Valle de Guadalupe (the region’s wine country) and Los Cabos (resort central) of the southern tip of the peninsula, Baja California is a food and beverage lover’s paradise.
Baja California’s biggest tourist draw, though, just might continue to be Los Cabos, as the resort towns of Cabo José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas are collectively known. It’s here that we find Casa Calavera restaurant at Vidanta Los Cabos in San José del Cabo.
Taking its name from the elaborately decorated skulls and skeletons representing Dia de los Muertos, the restaurant goes all in with the Mexican Day of the Dead theme. Casa Calavera is vibrantly appointed with calavera murals and Mexican textiles (see slideshow below) while not neglecting its desert-meets-ocean surroundings. The restaurant, under executive chef Alex Branch, is an open-air “feet in the sand” kind of eatery with seafood dishes aplenty, including the black shrimp aguachile recipe below. Wash it down with Casa Calavera’s Garden Margarita cocktail.
If you’re fortunate enough to be vacationing in Los Cabos next during Dia de los Muertos, Casa Calavera is hosting a family-style dinner with bottomless margaritas and unlimited domestic beers for $950 MX (that’s less than $50 USD), Thursday, November 1, and Friday, November 2, beginning at 8 p.m.
Courtesy Casa Calavera
1 radish, diced and muddled
2 dashes cucumber bitters
¾ ounce lime juice
¾ ounce agave nectar
½ ounce carrot juice
2 ounces Avion Reposado Tequila (or favorite reposado tequila)
¾ ounce celery juice
Muddle radish. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain over fresh ice in a swirl tumbler. Garnish with optional radish ribbon, celery ribbon, basil salt, and orange salt.
Black Shrimp Aguachile
Courtesy Alex Branch, Casa Calavera executive chef
For the Aguachile
1 habanero pepper, charred with seeds and stems removed
4 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
For the Shrimp
4 precooked U12 Mexican shrimps
1/8 cup of cucumber diced
1/8 cup of white onion, diced
1 pinch of powdered oregano
1 fresh lime, juiced
3 sprigs of freshly cut cilantro
1 avocado wedge
1 lime wedge
For the black aguachile: Roast habaneros in the oven at 375 degrees until charred almost completely. Remove and blend with lemon juice, salt, and soy sauce until smooth.
After blended, add sesame oil slowly and strain through a fine sieve.
For the dish: Clean the shrimp by removing the intestinal track and poach for about 4 – 5 minutes in boiling water. Cut into bite-size chunks. Add cucumber, onion, oregano, and lime juice. Mix.Add the black aguachile. Then serve with sprigs of cilantro and avocado slices on top and a lime wedge.
For more information on Casa Calavera or to make reservations, visit the restaurant’s website. Photography: TOMO/Courtesy Casa Calavera
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