My passion for guacamole is similar to my passion for gumbo to the extent that I’m always searching for the best version of each every time I eat out. Granted, I’ve never found the two occupying the same menu (although in New Orleans that cross-cultural thing may occur somewhere). But you know what I mean. Every time I visit a new Mexican or other type of Latin restaurant, I begin my meal with guacamole. And every time I visit a typical New Orleans joint back home for the first time I order some version (usually seafood if it’s available) of gumbo. I make mental notes of my likes and dislikes and physical notes of any interesting ingredient or spin that I may wish to incorporate into one of my own recipes someday.
Which brings me to a meal the hubby and I shared with some of our family members during our Thanksgiving trip back home. We ate at Mizado Cucina, a relatively new Latin restaurant that sits on the New Orleans/Metairie line. This restaurant is the total package. The food is fresh and vibrant. The beverages, especially their specialty margaritas (like the Chipotle Sunrise), are incredibly creative and potent. And the atmosphere is welcoming and lively. Everything is top-notch and on point. Mizado’s menu begins with three types of guacamole: traditional, one with toasted pistachios and an “India” guac which includes bananas, date and cashew chutney and cumin. Our table ordered the traditional and pistachio. Both were prepared table side. Both were amazing. When I returned to Atlanta, I found their traditional recipe online at NOLA.com and have made that and the pistachio version a couple of times since. I’ve also played around with other ingredients and most recently have crushed on this version that I make with tangy feta cheese, ripe cherry tomatoes and a lovely acidic combo of lemon juice and Green Tabasco. It’s a great anytime dip, but would be particularly welcoming at a Super Bowl party.
Another fabulous find during that same trip was the Abita Wrought Iron IPA, which had just been released. I discovered it on draft at the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival. This newest IPA, in my opinion, is their best by far. It comes in at 6.9 % ABV. But I still think they could have pushed the hops a tad further. All in all though, the beer has a nice hop aroma and flavor. And the tropical notes of the beer hang nicely with foods from the same flavor profile, like this rich and bright guacamole.
Until next time …
Tangy Avocado and Feta Dip Recipe
4 Hass avocados
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce
1/8 cayenne pepper
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Salt and black pepper
Chips or raw vegetables, for serving
Halve and pit avocados. With a tablespoon, scoop flesh out into a large mixing bowl; mash to desired consistency. Add tomatoes and next 8 ingredients (through feta). Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve at room temperature with chips or raw vegetables. Makes about 4 cups.