It's been a big year for avocados. One website cheekily announced the Avocadopocalypse, while a rash of avocado thefts swept some cities. Thanks to rising temperatures, avocados have had a shorter, smaller harvest, leading to major price spikes. But despite the doom and gloom, guacamole is showing up all over menus everywhere, in ever-more luscious variations. While the classic version is always welcome, check out these cool new spins, featuring everything from briny sea urchin to pomegranate seeds and kale.
Puesto, San Diego
Puesto offers several options beyond the standard guac, including one made with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and another with lump crabmeat. But if you make it here, don’t leave without trying their Guacamole Nogada, made with candied walnuts, pomegranate seeds, green mango, chile de arbol and chopped tomatoes. It was created by chef Luisteen Gonzalez as a riff on a traditional Mexican dish called chilies en nogada, which involves walnut-based cream sauce and pomegranate seeds. This guac has a nice crunch and sweetness you won’t find in other versions.
Empellon Cocina, New York City
“Our guacamole is one of the most minimal around,” Empellon chef Alex Stupak tells The Feast. “I personally dislike tomatoes in the mix. They add water, which I’m not a fan of." Stupak also notes that his version uses less lime juice than most, since he believes too much acid can knock out the flavor of the avocados. "At Cocina, we embellish it further with pistachios," he adds, and the nuts bring a beautiful color, flavor and crunch to the guac. "Pistachios seemed like a logical choice because they have similar coloring to that of an avocado: vivid green at the exterior, and olive-y yellow toward the center."
Chef David Fingerman’s recipe includes two things fairly common to haute guacamole, pepitas and queso fresco, and then he makes a pesto with serrano peppers and cilantro and adds some radish. To finish off this vibrant, spicy guacamole, he adds the highest quality olive oil for an extra-creamy consistency.
Petty Cash Taqueria, Los Angeles
Petty Cash's guac exclusively uses Hass avocados sourced from the farmers market at Polito Farms, along with a bit of fresh cilantro, diced white onion, vine-ripened tomatoes and crunchy toasted pepitas. Everything’s pretty classic, until you get to the garnish: Santa Barbara sea urchin and crispy, fried chicharrones. This unusual guacamole has to be tasted to be believed: It's creamy, lightly briny, and gets a powerful crunch from the fried pork skins.
Anatol, Mexico City
You’ll have to travel south of the border for one of the most creative guacamole spins on this list, but as you slip inside the extravagant surroundings of the restaurant’s dining room at Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel, the journey should already seem worth the effort. Anatol's guacamole secret is Chapulines (a.k.a., dried, seasoned crickets from Oaxaca). “The reason our guacamole is special is that we use a leaf called Hoja Santa,” says chef Justin Ermini. It has a pleasant anise flavor with herbal, flinty overtones that are easy to like." The leaf's nickname in the southern U.S. says it all: Root-beer plant. "Crush one of the velvety, heart-shaped leaves in your hand, and you’ll understand,” adds Ermini.
Stew Leonard's, Connecticut and New York
Had just about enough kale salad to last you a while? Try the flavorful, healthy green in guacamole next time. You can pick up a to-go container at any Stew Leonard's store in Connecticut or New York. It's made with fresh kale that's chopped and smashed in with the avocados, plus lime juice, tomatoes, cilantro and a little jalapeno for a spicy kick.
Cane Rhum Bar, Charleston
This Charleston, South Carolina hotspot for all things rum and cocktails opened in mid 2016, and the food is earning rave reviews alongside the tiki tipples. One fan favorite is the Jerk Pineapple Guacamole, made with red onions, sugar, garlic, yellow sweet peppers, orange juice, and charred slices of pineapple straight off the grill. It’s served with plantain chips, for the perfect sweet and crunchy pairing. Want to make it at home? We've got the recipe right here.
Jerk Pineapple Guacamole
1 1/2 avocados
1/2 red onion - diced
1/2 red sweet pepper - diced
1/2 yellow sweet pepper - Diced
3 quarter-inch slices of pineapple - grilled then diced
2 cloves of garlic - diced
1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons or more (depending on preferred heat) Scotch Bonnet or habanero sauce
1/2 lime - squeezed
1/2 orange - squeezed
2 tablespoons of cilantro - chopped
Gently blend all the ingredients together to desired texture. Serve with plantain chips.
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