They sell a lot of guacamole at Cantina Laredo on Restaurant Row. How much? “Hundreds,” says general manager Nate Graves. “Almost one to every table.” Graves says the appetizer, called Top Shelf guacamole, is one of the restaurant’s best selling items and a reason many guests return. One of the reasons the guests enjoy it so much is that it is prepared tableside.
Graves says one of the key secrets to making good guac is to make sure not to bruise the tomatoes. Too many people make the mistake of adding the tomatoes in the beginning and mashing them with the other ingredients. Also, you don’t want to mash the avocados into a paste, you want to keep some good chunks.
Haas avocados make the best guacamole, says Graves, because they have a better consistency and flavor profile compared to other types of avocados. When choosing an avocado, he says, look for ones with a purplish tint, and they should feel like an orange when you squeeze them. Don’t get ones that are too hard — you want chunks, but you don’t want to break a tooth.
Top Shelf Guacamole from Cantina Laredo
1 teaspoon Top Shelf guacamole seasoning (equal parts granulated garlic, white pepper, salt)
2 Tablespoons red onions, diced 3/8″
2 Tablespoons finely diced jalapenos, seeds removed
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 Cup tomatoes, diced 3/8″
Squeeze the lime onto a dish using a fork to twist the pulp, releasing the juice. Add the seasonings to the lime juice and mix well with a spoon, crushing the seasonings into the plate.
Cut the avocados in half and remove the seed. Remove the meat of the avocado with a spoon and add to the plate. Using 2 forks, mash the avocado until proper consistency is reached. Make sure to leave chunks in the avocado.
Add the red onions, jalapenos, and cilantro and mix well.
Add the tomatoes and fold into the mixture. Make sure not to bruise the tomatoes in the process.