It’s very easy to celebrate Halloween and Day of the Dead in ways that stomps all over other people’s cultures, from war-bonnet costumes to a raucous pub crawl in the Mission as people mourn their ancestors in the streets. So here are two options that actually involve real, live humans with culinary expertise in the cultures the venues chose to celebrate.
Tomorrow night, The Alembic will wear a dress up in a Halloween costume of sorts and become The Jade Alembic, a “classic Chinatown restaurant” — although the influences come from farther afield than just the Middle Kingdom. In addition to tea tastings from Uncle Gee of Grant Avenue’s Vital Tea Leaf, look for a menu of General Tso’s duck legs with persimmon and celery root, five-spice chicharrones, pickled veggie spring rolls, and squid ink jook with scallop and egg.
For cocktails, look for the Shanghai Buck (aged run, Angostura bitters, ginger beer, simple syrup, lime) and the Jasmine (gin, Campari, Mandarine Napoleon, and lemon juice). Come in costume, and make a reservation here.
Then, on Wednesday, head to Arguello in the Presidio for its Arguello Experience, combining Traci des Jardins’ food with tequila from El Tesoro. A distillery with more than 120 spirits in its library, it makes a good partner for the new agave-centric dinner series. Bar manager Enrique Sanchez will make you a specialty cocktail as you learn how to use a molcajete — the Mexican mortar-and-pestle — to create your own salt garnishes. Later, things will shift to the Anza Room for a tasting of four one-ounce El Tesoro expressions of — blanco, reposado, añejo and extra añejo — along with a pairing of small bites.
The Jade Alembic, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 4 p.m. – midnight, 1725 Haight St., alembicsf.com
The Arguello Experience, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 6-8 p.m., at Arguello, 50 Moraga Ave. in the Presidio, arguellosf.com