People order guacamole in our restaurants without even looking at the menu.
Guacamole paired with crunchy chips and a margarita is almost always the point for most people eating in a Mexican (or in our case Mexican-inspired) restaurant. These preparations are actually not implicit at the beginning of a meal in Mexico
This reality used to really upset me but over time I’ve decided that I am the type of chef that wants to give people the things that make them happy. More interestingly, I’ve learned that if you build trust through the comforting and familiar, you create an opportunity to lure people toward the more daring and exotic.
Guacamole functions as our bread and butter, both literally and figuratively. We make ours very well and with minimal ingredients. Avocados, onion, cilantro, pickled and fresh green chiles, lime juice and sea salt. That's it.
I believe that a love of melted cheese, ground beef, and crunchy corn is programmed into the DNA of all Americans. I used to feel embarrassed by this, but I have made peace with myself and embrace it.
This is a small vat of melted cheese topped with a patty of steak tartare thats been seasoned with toasted corn nuts.
When scooped up into a good tortilla, it becomes very gratifying and hedonistic. Its like eating a cheeseburger where the beef is screaming rare yet the cheese it perfectly melted. Actually it's better than that because there is 5 times the amount of cheese and its now a taco. Tacos are better than burgers.
A BLT, but better because it's a taco.
I love ordering thick cut bacon by the slice at steakhouses but often find it to be a bit tough to chew. To get our bacon eating like butter, we cook slabs of it whole at a low temperature for a long time which tenderizes it and allows us to cut it super thick.
I can't fathom a BLT without mayonnaise so we have some here that has been flavored with jalapeno ashes.
We dislike serving imported cardboard tasting tomatoes out of season so our solution here was to gather local green tomatoes and pickle them to last us the year.
Crema is a common term in our vernacular. American style sour cream is much thicker and acidic than real Mexican style crema. From my encounters, crema has more in common with creme fraiche than it does with sour cream.
We make are own crema by fermenting good local cream until it thickens slightly and develops a gentle acidic quality.
Here we adapt the technique and ferment coconut milk.
I have always loved the combination of coconut and root vegetables so here we deploy yellow beets that have been cooked in coconut water.
Cilantro, coriander and green chile became obvious as well (think of the flavors that often come up in Southeast Asian style curries) so we dressed the vegetables with a toasted coriander oil as well as an ice flavored with cilantro and green chiles.