Chef Richard Sandoval has a Día de los Muertos menu that’s going to transport you right to Mexico. Richard Sandoval Hospitality has partnered with Toro Latin Kitchen in Cherry Creek and Tamayo in Larimer Square to put on a culinary celebration to honor the holiday. Día de los Muertos occurs on November 1 and 2, but you can enjoy this dining experience from now until November 2.
This immersive campaign includes a marigold-inspired menu, a signature Spotify playlist, online tutorials led by Chef Sandoval, and more. “We’ve chosen the marigold as the way we’re telling the story of Día de los Muertos this year, as it’s symbolically used during the holiday and believed that the color and smell help guide one’s ancestors,” said Sandoval. Together, the flavorful dishes, refreshing drinks and festive music will make you feel like you’re celebrating in Mexico.
Día de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” originated in Mexico but both restaurants are bringing it to life in Denver. This two-day holiday celebrates life and death by reuniting the living and the dead. Oscar Padilla, the chef at Toro, fondly remembers building the ofrenda with his grandparents and was excited to share the tradition with his Toro family. The ofrenda is a colorful altar with a collection of objects inviting loved ones to return home. The altar is normally filled with family photos, but Chef Padilla welcomed the staff to write their ancestor’s name on the back of colorful sugar skulls.
Chef Padilla says “he’s a chef to celebrate his grandfather and grandmother” who taught him how to cook and made him fall in love with Día de los Muertos. He’s honoring their memories as he helps Toro transform with bright colors and a menu full of Latin American flavors.
These three dishes will make your taste buds sing as you dance to their Latin beats. The Chile Ancho Confit ($20) combines complex flavors with a variety of textures — pork belly stew, star anise, sweet plantain, almonds and mole rosa. The mole rosa made with beets was the star of the dish. The Braised Short Rib ($44) melts in your mouth — orange blossom purée, Espadín-mezcal sauce, baby patipan squash, and sun-dried chili ash. The smoky mezcal sauce and aromatic orange blossom purée was a unique flavor celebration that’ll have you begging for more. The Pumpkin Bread Cake ($14) was a tasty nod to both the fall season and Día de los Muertos — caramel “tacha” pumpkin, orange blossom milk, spiced pepitas and cinnamon ice cream. The spiced pepitas, pumpkin seeds, was the perfect texture compliment to the fluffy cake.
If the food didn’t win you over, then these drinks will. The Marigold Margarita ($15) heroes the marigold flavors — patron reposado, tonic, fresh marigold simple syrup and lime. The Habanero Blood Orange Margarita ($16) was as tasty as it was beautiful — patron silver, patron reposado, house-made sour and blood orange habanero. The La Calavera ($6) was perfect for anyone who wants to join the flavor party without alcohol — passion fruit, lime, ginger beer and hibiscus agua fresca.
All photography by Charla Harvey.