Guacamole is hands down our best selling appetizer. My father has been making it for decades. He uses a very traditional recipe with avocados, salt, garlic, cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice, and tomatoes. You could say he has it down to a science. We always rate high for Best Guacamole in Yelp, and even with the professional food reporters at CBS local. It is a really tasty appetizer. So how do we make it? Here are a few tips if you want to make it at home.
Best Guacamole Tip #1 – Spot the Ripe Avocados
A ripe avocado should have a bit of give when pressed, but it should not be mushy. Avocados are far from ripe when they are shipped, and when we get them (or if you find them in the grocery) they are usually too firm and not at their prime. If the avocados aren’t ripe, the guacamole will be chunkier and not very flavorful. If it’s too old, the guacamole will be mushy, darker, and have an odd taste.
Best Guacamole Tip #2 – Quickly Ripen Avocados
Usually you will want to buy avocados a few days or even a week before you want to use them. That way you can properly ripen them up. Ideally you would store them in a cool dry place and pull them out when they are ready…like we do in the restaurant. Be careful though. Avocados do not ripen if the temperature is too cold. They won’t ripen much at all in the refrigerator for instance.
If you’re looking to speed up the ripening process, you can place unripe avocados in a brown paper bag. This traps the ethylene gas from them and helps the fruit ripen faster. To speed things even more, you could add a another ripe fruit like a banana or apple to the bag. Check the bag daily. As the avocados ripen, their skin color will darken. A firm avocado placed in a paper bag will ripen at room temperature in about two to four days. Once they are ripe, or if you have a surplus of avocados, store them in the refrigerator to prevent further ripening. You can store ripe ones in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Best Guacamole Tip #3 – Mash the Onion, Garlic, and Peppers with Lime Juice
We start by mashing everything EXCEPT for the avocados, tomatoes, and cilantro together. This releases flavors from the onion, garlic, and peppers into the lime juice. We use a mortar and pestle to mash. If you don’t have one of those you could use the back of an ice cream scoop with a mixing bowl. You will probably want a mortar and pestle if you do this a lot though.
Best Guacamole Tip #4 – Minced Onions Prevent Browning
At the restaurant we make our guacamole fresh every time a guest orders it, but at home if you are throwing a party, you may want to make it in advance. Be careful though, the top will brown if it is left too long. You can avoid this with by sprinkling some minced red onions on top before you cover it. They add a nice garnish too.
Our Best Guacamole Recipe
For two people
Mash these together
1 T finely chopped onion
½ T jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Juice of one half lime
A dash of sea salt
Then mix these in
2 ripe avocados
2 T diced grape or cherry tomatoes
½ T Coarsely chopped cilantro
Obviously you can scale this up for a larger party or adjust it to your taste. For kids we often prepare it “mild” with all the jalapenos on the side. That way parents can raise the spiciness of their servings.
Please let us know if you try this out!
We are serving a special lunch menu from 11-3 on Friday, May 3. Check out the food menu here.
Las Palmas is a modern mexican restaurant. We have been around for 11 years, and that means that we change things up to keep pace with our modern mexican restaurant concept. We update our menu seasonally. You can read about our recent dinner and brunch menu changes in this blog. We also like to keep the interior design fresh, and recently we have been working with Samantha Ide of Maison De Samantha on some changes that we think you will enjoy.
What is a Modern Mexican Restaurant design?
As we sat down with Sam to discuss the project, our intent for the design was to be warm, uncluttered, and uniquely Las Palmas. We made a list of elements that we wanted to keep and some to change. We decided to keep some of the key elements that define us, like the Frida Khalo paintings, the Loteria card paintings, and of course our infamous Quetzalcoatl (the Dragon) flying through the room. You can read more about our Dragon here.
We wanted to change the darkly painted walls to brighten things up. Also the previous color was too similar to the color of our Quetzalcoatl. Some people didn’t even notice our giant dragon. We decided on a neutral color with a platinum and bronze undertone on the walls.
Our vision of a modern mexican restaurant is coming together. The walls are now painted and the lighter color definitely opens up the space and makes it feel less cluttered. As we had hoped, Quetzalcoatl stands out. We are in the process of adding warm light. To start we have red candle holders on the tables, and shortly with big beautiful red light fixtures. In the coming weeks artist Alfonso Piloto plans to add a blue element to his work to make it seem as though the dragon is flying through the room.
Once we install the light fixtures, we will add the design from our logo (created by Mike Czerniuk of Non-Coastal Inc) on the walls near the booths in the front. We plan to paint the gold wall in the atrium red and also add a design that ties in with the front walls. Our goal with these changes is to keep our modern mexican restaurant design cohesive.
We are excited for these updates and can’t wait for our complete vision to unfold. If you notice these changes please let us know what you think!