Spirit of Sonora

Casa Duarte honors tradition with authentic flavors

Written by Gail Collins

Dia de los Muertos, Mexico’s celebration of the dead, sounds a lot like Halloween, but there are no pumpkins or witches—skeletons rule the day. The departed souls of young and old return to eat, drink and be merry, as they had done in life. Falling on the first two days of November –All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days— the annual holiday blends the traditional beliefs of the indigenous peoples with Catholic feasts. Parades and parties shut down cities and feature macabre skulls in arts and treats, like pan de muerto, a rich coffee cake with meringue decorations resembling bones.

Despite the skeletons, Dia de los Muertos focuses more on life than death and its natural continuum. Wealthier people build an altar to their loved ones in their home, but most people decorate gravestones with marigolds and personal items. Families gather in the graveyard in the evening to wait for and pay respect to the deceased. Candles are lit, incense is burned and prayers are intoned. During the vigil, the family hosts a festive picnic, telling stories about the departed and enjoying their favorite foods and drink.

MartAnne’s  Burrito Palace has long showcased Day of the Dead themed paintings by Flagstaff resident and artist Emma Gardener.  MartAnne’s, previously owned by Anna Martinez, as well as Casa Duarte are now both owned and managed by Anna’s daughter, Tina, and her husband, Gonzalo Duarte. The Mexican café above downtown serves MartAnne’s famous breakfast menu, including chilaquiles—a piled plate of leftover corn tortillas, sauce, eggs and more.

“We’d already created the perfect menu there, so we kept it and added on,” Tina said.

Continue reading “Spirit of Sonora”

The Exciting Egg

The Breakfast Staple is at the Heart of Amazing Local Dishes

Mtn Living Mag April 2014

April 2014 eggThe incredible, edible egg is all it’s cracked up to be. The nutrient-packed ovum delivers dense protein for a measly 70 calories. And while it’s high in nutrition, it’s low in cost. Each year in the U.S., 75 billion eggs are laid, and well over half are used by consumers. The egg is a versatile food, and it’s been said that the many pleats of a chef’s toque represent the many ways an egg can be prepared. Scrambled, fried, poached, baked and soft or hard boiled. For Easter, they are dyed every shade of spring, and those hard-boiled pretties become egg salad, deviled eggs and more. Continue reading “The Exciting Egg”

The Expanding Institution

The Long-beloved MartAnne’s Increases Floor Space and Menu

Mtn Living Mag April 2013

MartAnn 2This month, MartAnne’s Breakfast Palace celebrates a dozen years of serving chilaquiles to a salsa-slurping, chorizo-crazed, egg-static group of diehards. A sign at the restaurant’s entrance states the obvious result: The House That Chilaquiles Built.

When MartAnne’s shifted from its downtown location on San Francisco to a nearby spot on Route 66, owner Anne Martinez said, “It took a village to move MartAnne’s around the corner… including help from landlords, family, and of course, loyal patrons.” Family in all forms has consistently worked alongside Martinez as she cracks 432 eggs on a Sunday, but her daughter is her match as a visionary and hard worker. “Tina was the driving force behind the move. It was her ambition and energy.” Continue reading “The Expanding Institution”