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Guacamole


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Overheard in the Breadline thread:

It's just not the place to go to for great guacamole (Where is, though?  Oyamel, you have yet to excite me.  Same goes for you, Pablano. I sense a new guac thread... ripening). 

The guac at Rosa Mexicano does not suck ventworm nuts. In fact, it is chunky and creamy all at the same time. And as spicy as you'd like it.

But the version at Cafe Atlantico and minibar is the best I've had. So buttery I'd spread it on an English Muffin instead of Plugra if it went better with grape jelly.

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I second the guac at Rosa Mexicana. Yummmmm

Overheard in the Breadline thread:

The guac at Rosa Mexicano does not suck ventworm nuts.  In fact, it is chunky and creamy all at the same time.  And as spicy as you'd like it.

But the version at Cafe Atlantico and minibar is the best I've had.  So buttery I'd spread it on an English Muffin instead of Plugra if it went better with grape jelly.

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I've only had Atlantico's once -- but our version had too many peppers in it and the excessive heat ruined the overall experience. I asked the bartender and he said it usually isn't that hot. I did get a nice glimpse of it's buttery potential in the process, however.

Atlantico's guac is made to order, no? Isn't guac supposed to have 20-30 minutes to settle for the flavors to marry?

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I've only had Atlantico's once -- but our version had too many peppers in it and the excessive heat ruined the overall experience.  I asked the bartender and he said it usually isn't that hot.  I did get a nice glimpse of it's buttery potential in the process, however. 

Atlantico's guac is made to order, no?  Isn't guac supposed to have 20-30 minutes to settle for the flavors to marry?

I've never really heard that - some of the best I've had has been made tableside in a molcajete.

I think if you leave it sitting after it is made, it can become brown.

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i would third cafe atlantico. it has always been good and i have had it several times there, almost as delicious as in the yucatan, where they don't tend to mash it at the table. mexicans make this dish look easy, morning, noon and night, but there aren't any totally reliable mexican restaurants around here, are there? i believe we once had a good version at guajillo many moons ago, but we have stopped visiting following too many off nights this spring. my wife says the guacamole in her quesadilla at breadline was piping hot, and that is definitely not how you would want it. have never been to rosa mexicano. i need more than guacamole to get me there.

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I have become such a guacamole snob. Whereas I used to think that the Whole Foods version was fine for a quick fix, I now scoff at the very thought. For me, guacamole must be relatively chunky and moderately spicy. I love to consume some at the bar at Rosa Mexicano (so as to be able to avoid ordering any of that other junk) with a Dos Equis. Also loved the Cafe Atlantico treatment.

If there are other worthy versions, please steer me thattaway.

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What I'd love to know, and maybe this belongs in the cooking thread, but why is it so hard to make guac at home as good as it is at Cafe Atlantico and Rosa Mexicano? Indeed, a dish that looks so simple can be utterly destroyed at other places. Is it that certain restaurants have better ingredients? Is it the recipe?

I agree with JLK-- guac must be chunky and spicy...and also have cilantro.

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What I'd love to know, and maybe this belongs in the cooking thread, but why is it so hard to make guac at home as good as it is at Cafe Atlantico and Rosa Mexicano?  Indeed, a dish that looks so simple can be utterly destroyed at other places.  Is it that certain restaurants have better ingredients?  Is it the recipe?

I agree with JLK-- guac must be chunky and spicy...and also have cilantro.

maybe they're just not interested in messing around with avocados.

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What I'd love to know, and maybe this belongs in the cooking thread, but why is it so hard to make guac at home as good as it is at Cafe Atlantico and Rosa Mexicano?  Indeed, a dish that looks so simple can be utterly destroyed at other places.  Is it that certain restaurants have better ingredients?  Is it the recipe?
And I always wonder why restaurants can't make it as good as I can at home! :lol:

The type of avocados does make a difference. Be sure to use a Hass-type (see here for more info.) instead of the smooth-skinned Florida avocados. The very best avocados are those that have never been chilled, but they are pretty hard to obtain (I've only acquired them from my mother-in-law who owns a farm with ~135 avocado trees).

(I'll post my favorite guacamole recipe over on "Shopping and Cooking" .)

Edited by mktye
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I've been spoiled by my Mexican friend Chuco who makes the most amazing guac every morning at my friend Alicia's bed and breakfast in Cozumel Mexico. He literally creates a human shield with his body so no guest can steal his secret recipe. He finally let me in on it one day and I took my new found knowledge home.

It is the avocados that make the difference. In Mexico, they are fresh from the mainland and aren't chilled. They really make the taste. I can reasonably approximate it, but it is the avocados, I'm convinced, that truly make a good guac recipe into something really special.

Eating it on vacation for breakfast before a day of sun, sea, and diving probably has something to do with it too.

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What I'd love to know, and maybe this belongs in the cooking thread, but why is it so hard to make guac at home as good as it is at Cafe Atlantico and Rosa Mexicano?  Indeed, a dish that looks so simple can be utterly destroyed at other places.  Is it that certain restaurants have better ingredients?  Is it the recipe?

I agree with JLK-- guac must be chunky and spicy...and also have cilantro.

I suppose it's what you expect it to taste like. For me, avocados cry out for garlic. To me, it's a marriage made in Heaven like tomatoes and basil. I have never understood guacamole with hot peppers. Plus, I have never had it with cilantro--maybe I'm missing something? Guac was always a cool, soothing counterpoint to the other, spicier, parts of the Mexican (or, maybe more accurately, Tex-Mex) meal. It depends on what you grew up with.

As an aside, I once saw I once saw the question: "If there is a God, why did He make avocado seeds so big?" Soon after this, I bought an avocado that turned out to have a very tiny seed. It tasted like nothing.

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a friend of mine and i had a guacamole competition one night with a bunch of friends. the result ended up in a tie simply because each one's guacamole taste was so varied. mine- i overload with cilantro and onion (i hate tomatoes, so i tend to go light on the tomatoes, much to my wife's chagrin), my friend overloads her's with cumin. personally, i don't much care for the smokiness of the cumin (not to mention that it darkens the guacamole and doesn't look tasty), but much prefer the light freshness of the cilantro.

and rosa mexicano does make a good guacamole.

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I've always thought the guacamole at Oyamel was equal to the fine version at Cafe Atlantico, but tonight I staged a horizontal (in sequence) to get a better gage on the two. Both were ordered medium-hot, and both came in the beautiful stoneware vessel we've all become familiar with.

On Cafe Atlantico's menu (*), guacamole is featured prominently for $13 ($14 with cotija cheese). I think there was a 50% chance I was spotted, and my order was prepared in the kitchen. It was fantastic, as fine a winter guacamole as I've ever tasted, and both the chips and margarita were superior to those at Oyamel as well (although I suspect with the chips, it was merely batch variance). The price for guacamole has increased of late, but I still remain incredibly impressed with Cafe Atlantico's, and think that $14 is still within the bounds of reason.

Oyamel's ($13, which includes queso fresco) was a fine version as well, prepared at the bar with two avocados, undoubtedly sourced from the same wholesaler as Cafe Atlantico's. The thing is, as beautiful as a tableside presentation is, you're going to get a better version if it's prepared by a trained line cook in the kitchen, than by an untrained bartender at the table. Unlike Cafe Atlantico's, Oyamel's chips were served with a little bowl of roasted salsa which provided for a nice variant.

An interesting sidebar is that I simply could not find the guacamole on Oyamel's menu. It's lost at the top in excess verbage, and I suspect they sell much more of it at Cafe Atlantico due to menu placement. Assuming Oyamel wants to increase sales of guacamole, may I recommend removing one of the Carnes, pushing the menu down a bit beginning at the Antijitos section, and inserting a less-wordy, more-eye-catching Guacamole line-item at the top? That will be five-hundred dollars, please.

The preference tonight goes to Cafe Atlantico, but both versions are excellent and worth remembering the next time you get a hankering for guacamole. It's also important to remember that this is a one-time-only observation on a single Sunday evening, and not some sort of final proclamation.

(*) And a long overdue congratulations to Executive Chef Terri Cutrino, who officially stepped in for Katsuya Fukushima awhile back - the talented Fukushima is apparently splitting time between Washington, DC and California, where I assume he's opening The Bazaar.

Cutrino's new menu - apparently making its debut this weekend - looks great, both aesthetically and culinarily, and merits a much more detailed exploration than simply walking into the bar and ordering guacamole.

I also wish that the consummate professional, Chef de Cuisine Joe Raffa, would get the credit he deserves on Oyamel's menu; no mention of his name is to be found.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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