Celebrating Halloween and Día de los Muertos (Mexican Day of the Dead) at Tu y Yo

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The display table at Tu y Yo

Halloween came and went; bar none it really is my favorite "American tradition" . Where else can I exhibit my extensive lacey outfits with feathery fascinators and head pieces without too much attention? I might be overly vain, but there's a timeless elegance and flair about the art deco, Harlem Renaissance and Shanghai Blues era that resonates with me. No surprise there, I'm always default flapper girl year after year (see below). As such, I spent the weekend celebrating Halloween/Melissa's birthday and then on Monday, it was celebratory Mexican food with B. 
I started off my evening with my own 'scary' dinner of squid ink ravioli with green beans, green peas and thin shavings of Parmesan Reggiano. Granted I got the ink from Muji, I realized that squid ink is a huge mess which taints everything black after tossing. Mission accomplished as I shocked my very vain self in the mirror! My pearly whites appeared comical as I reflected Captain Jack Sparrow's dirty and rotting gams.[Note to self: Never order squid ink anything on a date because it will not come off unless you have a toothbrush handy.]

But I digress, because what I really wanted to share was my Mexican dinner at Tu y Yo in parallel with Mexico's Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos. I became fascinated with this cheery celebration of the afterlife after an introduction in a medical anthropology class I took. According to Wiki, Dia de los Muertos:
is a holiday celebrated by many in Mexico and by some Mexican Americans living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration occurs on November 2 in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day(November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. The Day of the Dead is a time of celebration when eating and partying are common. Due to occurring shortly after Halloween, the Day of the Dead is sometimes thought to be a similar holiday, although the two are celebrated differently 

photocredit, Wiki)
All the cheery and skeletal figurines and paraphernalia give me some gothic-Nightmare-before-Christ'mas-Corpse-Bride vibe which I love :) 

858 Broadway
SomervilleMA 02144
(617) 623-5411

Food (3.7/5.0)
Service (4.1/5.0)

Food-wise, B and I gravitated towards the unusual, which included cactus and corn fungus. We were intent on having some hearty mole because it was a blistering cold Monday night. Food-wise, I found it so-so. It wasn't bad, but I kind of expected a lot more because of the raving reviews on Yelp. I couldn't help but compare it to Jose's Mexican Food Restaurant which I really enjoyed. The tradition sangria with cinnamon was tasty too but I felt that the wine glass was too small in relation to the price (~$5). I would say my favorites of the night is the black bean sauce that comes with rice and the desserts, especially the Impossible. Price-wise, Tu y Yo was affordable (~$15 entrees). Our server was also really sweet and attentive, making sure our water glasses were refilled. 

Crepa de Cuitlacoche en Salsa Poblana-
Thin crepe filled with cuitlacoche (fungus that develops on corn), onions, corn and cheese covered in a poblano pepper sauce. Interesting how the fungus tasted just like corn too. I liked it although it could do with a little more acidity :)
Creamy and immensely flavorful, I could eat this with rice indefinitely.
Nopales con Cerdo-Chopped pork tenderloin sauteed with fresh cactus in a sauce made out of green tomatoes, vinegar, ancho, mulato and pasilla  peppers-I liked this more than B because I thought the vinegar made it more appetizing + cactus gave some color and semblance of fiber.
Mole Colorado Tlaxcalteca (Estela Calzada 2005)-Chicken breast in red mole made with chocolate, almonds, peanuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and ancho, pasilla, mulato and chipotle peppers-This had a richer, more complex flavor than the chicken but still not bad.
Imposible-Custard on top of a chocolate cake served with caramel sauce-Our favorite dish of the night. The chocolate cake base was dense, moist and everything a chocolate cake should be. The slightly larger ratio of soft, fluffy custard balanced out the richness of the xocolatl. YUMMERS!
Avocado Cheesecake-Avocado pie topped with crushed pistachio. I could taste the faint sweetness of the avocado in this light and custardy cheesecake. Pistachio was a good pairing on the top. My suggestion would be to up the amount of condensed milk at the base because the combined flavors were too slight.
 The Día de los Muertos table/altar at Tu y Yo. Pretty paper cut outs!
Overall, I liked Tu y Yo but considering I live a distance away from Somerville, I don't think I would go out of my way to visit any time soon because there are so many food options I have yet to explore. Happy all soul's day everyone!


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