Las 3 Calacas

It’s pretty rare for restaurants in Asunción to take reservations, and it is almost unheard of for a restaurant to require them. The Mexican restaurant Las 3 Calacas is a small place in the city that does require reservations. Three weeks ago, we made a reservation for two people for Valentine’s day dinner. Earlier this week, we tried to change our reservation from two people to four people, but the restaurant said they were full and could not accommodate our request. Friends of ours have just shown up at the restaurant without reservations, but the restaurant wouldn’t seat them.

When we got to the restaurant at 8pm last night, there were two groups seated outside and no one inside. I’m not sure why they told us we couldn’t change our reservation to four people; there was certainly plenty of room.

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I had a kiwi margarita and we split chips and salsa.

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Brian ordered chicken and beef fajitas. The tortillas arrived in a little woven basket topped with a sombrero and the meat arrived on a cast iron plate shaped like a cow.

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I had tacos, each one with a mix of beef, chicken and pork.

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Our food was great and we ate everything!

The employees were dressed in all sorts of costumes and the restaurant was decorated in the theme of the Mexican Día de Los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) celebration.

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The name of the restaurant follows this theme. A calaca, a colloquial Mexican Spanish name for a skeleton, is a figure of a human skull or skeleton commonly used for decoration during Day of the Dead celebrations. As with other aspects of the Day of the Dead festival, calacas are joyous rather than mournful figures, wearing festive clothing, dancing, and playing musical instruments to indicate a happy afterlife. This draws on the Mexican belief that no dead soul likes to be thought of sadly, and that death should be a joyous occasion.

Last night, employees roamed the restaurant taking pictures of patrons posing inside a heart-shaped frame. One side of the frame had the name of the restaurant along with the abbreviations for Asunción (AS) and Paraguay (PY).

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The other side of the heart said “Happy Sex” and I’m not sure anyone at the restaurant other than Brian and I spoke any English or had any idea what that meant. As the restaurant filled up, we saw many families with young children happily posing inside the “Happy Sex” frame. It was odd.

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We had a great meal, all for less than $30!

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