Thursday, May 21st, 2009
Less is more when it comes to perfect guacamole. Meaning that if you’re using more than ten ingredients (serious purists say more than four), you’ve run your dip ship aground.
But exactly which ingredients, other than avocados, is a matter of intense debate. Some sniff indignantly at the addition of lime, while others outrightly reject garlic or tomatoes as dance partners. Even mention sour cream in certain circles, and a brawl is likely to break out. Cream cheese? Please.
3 ripe California Hass Avocados
Juice of one lime
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro
2 small, ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1/4 cup chopped white onionCut avocados in half, remove pit and scoop into a bowl. Coat with lime juice to prevent browning. Using a fork, mash the avocados. Lumpy is okay here. Add onion, cilantro, salt, pepper and tomatoes and mix gently. Serve immediately with tortilla chips or fresh tortillas.
What makes the perfect guacamole recipe is simple: Starting with ripe, tasty avocados. “The secret ingredient is California Hass avocados,” says Chef Manuel Arjona of Maya Restaurant in Sonoma, one of BiteClub’s favorite guac haunts. Along with lime, salt and pepper, cilantro and pico de gallo (a combination of tomatoes, chiles and onions), he fork mashes each order on the spot. “No garlic, no oil, no cream,” says Arjona. “That’s the Yucatan style.”
Where you go from there is a matter of taste: A dash of cumin, serrano chiles, garlic, fresh tomatoes and red or white onions. Leave the blender unplugged and employ a little wrist power to roughly smash the mixture rather than pureeing it. Traditionalists insist on using a moljacete — a black lava stone mortar and pestle — to get the best flavor.
Just promise to leave the sour cream and mayo north of the border. Add a hand-shaken margarita for best results.
Some best bets for local guacamole
A lot of restaurants really cheap out when it comes to guacamole. Avocados can be expensive, so if you’re planning to get the good stuff, expect to pay $5 to $8 for an order. Otherwise, you’re probably getting a lot of filler, and not a lot of actual avocado – which is what I find at a lot of inexpensive taquerias. Don’t waste your time on that stuff.
* Restaurant El Michoacano
Plus: Chunky, simple, authentic un-gringoed guac and some of the area’s best regional Mexican cuisine. If you can figure out the menu. Minus: No margaritas. 500 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa.
Tres Hombres Longbar and Grill
Super-garlicky guac, made fresh daily. Addictive warm chips. Top shelf margaritas.151 Petaluma Blvd S., Petaluma, (707) 773-4500
Made to order guacamole. Authentic, fresh Mexican cuisine. And by cuisine, we don’t mean chimichangas. Serious tequila collection. What more does one need? 101 E Napa St., Sonoma, (707) 935-3500
The secret to this guacamole is cumin. Pair with a coma-inducing bolle. 4501 Montgomery Dr, Santa Rosa, (707) 539-2599
I’m rarely a fan of chains, but in this case, I have to make exceptions for El Torito and Chevy’s Fresh Mexican, which both do tableside guacamole, mashing and mixing to order.