by Andrew Marder
I'll be honest with you - I don't know a whole lot about mariachi music. All of my exposure to it - prior to last week - has been while seated at a small table in a strip mall Mexican restaurant. The guys playing at Oyamel during its annual Day of the Dead party were of a different caliber.
Imagine you'd only ever driven a 1978 Ford Pinto. Then, all of a sudden, someone dropped you into a Bentley.
Of course, I should have known. José Andrés doesn't just make food, he makes experiences. The bar was littered with beautiful cocktails, there was a mountain of chips by the guacamole station, the whole restaurant was covered in Juan Gabriel memorabilia, and there were no fewer than five tequila tasting stations.
Did you know that you can make a salt foam to drop on top of a margarita? I did not know this, but it is incredible and I will never again deal with a poorly salted margarita rim.
I also learned all about Juan Gabriel, tequila, and rabbit tamales.
It's not the first time I've thought it and I'm certainly not the first person to say it, but José Andrés is one of the greatest food educators in the world. Every time I go to one of his restaurants, I learn something new.
Andrés has a talent for taking the mundane and making it exciting. He turns basic ideas and classic dishes into living lessons. What's in this? How did you make that? Where is this from?
The presentation engages the diner and draws you into the World of José. Celebrations like the Day of the Dead are prefect examples of this talent and great chances to get a glimpse into the mind of a chef who's now sporting two Michelin Stars and four Bib Gourmand locations.
The Day of the Dead celebration at Oyamel runs through November 6. On Halloween, there's a dinner hosted by Del Maguey Mezcal. On November 1 and 2, you can join 123 Organic Tequila for food and the launch of its new mezcal.