Monday, June 2, 2014

Rosa Mexicano's Guacamole

When I wrote 'Shakshuka; A Food Memory' and Indian Shakshuka - Poached Eggs in Curry Sauce I mentioned my dad's entire cooking repertoire consisted of two dishes total. He always made one or the other, on Friday afternoons, to carry us over till dinner time. The first of the dishes was the shakshuka but the second was the guacamole.

If you are an Israeli, chances are, you love, I mean LOVE, avocados and guacamole. It's a much neglected and maybe little known fact.

I was curious about this fruit, the avocado (though I think of it as a vegetable), that is native to Mexico and Central America. How did it end up in Israel? I found this document and further readings from 1965.

The document sites:
"In the third decade of this century there were only a few avocado trees in Palestine. Avocado culture grew very slowly during the fourth and fifth decade, but during the last 12 years plantings have increased at a more rapid rate. There are now over 2,000 acres of avocados in the State of Israel. Since 1964 the planting of avocados is subject to the approval of the Fruit Marketing Board and is limited to a total of about 200 acres a year."

How fascinating! With weather in coastal Israel similar to Southern California and with cutting edge agricultural innovation and technology, no wonder this crop grew from "virtual obscurity" to become a big part of the Israeli diet.
Considering my parents are from Mumbai, India, I wished to cover all bases and rule out the possibility that they picked up the avocado 'habit' over at the sub-continent.

In any event, I came across this document, by The Food and Agricultural Organization of The United Nations about 'Avocado Production in India'. It has loads of good information about the avocado history and 'migration', so to speak, but also about nutrition. "Rich in protein (up to 4%) and fat (up to 30%), but low in carbohydrates, The fat is similar to olive oil composition..Avocados have the highest energy value (245 cal/100 g) of any fruit.." the document sites. What fascinated me in this document was the conclusion:"Due to the availability of a large number of fruit crops in India and consumer preference for more palatable fruits of sweet taste, avocado has not caught the imagination of the average Indians."

I am not certain when this document was written but it confirmed my suspicion that The Indian Jewish community picked up the avocado 'habit' after emigrating to Israel. That and a quick phone call to my mom.
While telling, my husband, Jonathan, about my research, with one of his earphones dangling out of his ear (he is addicted to podcasts and NPR), he tells me "did you hear that every time we eat an avocado we give $$ to the drug cartel?" He heard a podcast or on the radio just recently about it. I googled Mexican cartel and avocados and my search turned up '"Blood Avocados": The Dark Side of Your Guacamole'. Another fascinating read, yet a sad reality.

Here's to another argument in favor of California and US avocados and the eat local movement, I guess.

The Mexican avocados issue falls into the food politics realm which makes me shudder. My skin crawls at the thought of writing about food politics. In fact, in the last five years I came across a few pretty serious food politics issues while writing. On one occasion, I shockingly found out, while interviewing a farmer growing a crop I was fascinated with, that it was organic, but well into the conversation, turns out it's GMO. Unsettling, right?! I abandoned the article. Food politics creeps me out. Until I develop a thicker skin I leave it to others to write about.
Duo of photos at Rosa Mexicano (above) were taken on the iPhone
This post was really sparked by our lunch this past Sunday which got the ball rolling.  Long story short, Jonathan and I went scouting watering holes for 20-30 people. Don't ask! We had to have lunch. I saw that Rosa Mexicano, a national and an international Mexican restaurant chain, opened a location where we were scouting. I've heard so much about their table-side guacamole making. Jonathan was at their Miami location just a couple weeks back. So we went in. The guacamole lived up to its reputation and more. It reminded me of my dad's guacamole which brings me right back to the beginning.

Rosa Mexicano is a great pre-dinner margarita and guacamole or a happy-hour pit stop. I think I can have their guacamole all day long. The food at lunch was ok, we had beef and chicken soft tacos. We brought lunch leftovers for my son but couldn't take guacamole out. It doesn't have lime in it to preserve it from oxidizing. Besides, guacamole gets nasty if not consumed on the spot, with or without lime in it.

Our son loves avocados and guacamole (we've done something right!). I couldn't deprive him from having guacamole with his Mexican lunch, so I knocked off Rosa Mexicano's guac. Turns out, upon further research later, they've got the recipe with a video posted on their website here!

Speaking of the avocado, it is also known as alligator pear. How obscurely fabulous?!

Rosa Mexicano
575 7th St. at F St. NW
Washington, DC
202-783-5522
Another location in Chevy Chase and one at The National Harbor, MD. Look at the link for additional addresses.

Related Recipe: 
Broccolini in Avocado Dressing and Grated Hard Boiled Eggs
DGS Delicatessen

34 comments :

  1. Food politics is fascinating to me too. There's a lot we can't do much about and the helplessness the consumer has in face of the system is kind of overwhelming. I find it difficult to write about too. I find that food from local, small or mid-sized farms is usually a safe bet but it's impossible to be "perfect" in that respect.

    Also I had no idea it was also called the alligator pear! I'll have to use that from now on :)

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    1. So true on all counts, June. A difficult subject and aspiring to be better but far from perfect.

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  2. Mmmhhh, I'm a big fan of guacamole! I'd love to own that big Mexican mortar...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. Yummy! I am actually thinking what I should do with my almost kg of avocados :)

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  4. Alligator pear...very interesting...who knew

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  5. Ok, I have to try this. I LOVE guac!

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  6. Shulie, I'm actually allergic to avocados. Not life threatening, but they give me stomach pains for a few hours if I eat too much of them. Guess what? I eat them anyway. Because I love them SO much. I even planted an avocado tree 2 years ago. I'm crazy. Crazy in love with this guacamole. HA.

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    1. I get what you mean, Amy. I suspect I slightly allergic to mangos, out of all things, but I gorge on it anyways. My son is severely allergic to tree-nuts so I won't encourage anyone with severe allergies to exercise this behavior.

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  7. I didn't know that about avocados ...I had no idea about avocados in Isreal:))) We love guac. L was just asking me the other day to make him some more. I also didn't know it's called the alligator pear! This is a great post, Shulie!!

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  8. I love, love, love avocadoes! Sadly I can't eat them because they somehow trigger my gag reflex. It's a sad thing, watching my family gorge on guacamole and I can't eat more than a few bites. Doesn't stop me, though!

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  9. I've been to Rosa's in Miami - their guacamole is addicting!! I used to go there a lot just for the guac.

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  10. I'm not sure I want to know the about the dark side of avocados. I'd rather be blissfully ignorant than give them up. Not really, but you know what I mean. LOL
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen

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    1. I know, right, Renee?! Often I feel the same.

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  11. I love avocados and your guacamole oohs wonderful!!

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  12. I'm absolutely fascinated by food politics, Shulie, but like you, rarely write about it. I'm not educated enough and there are people far smarter and knowledgeable than me who write eloquently on this topic. This was a great read. I had no idea avocados were so popular and widely grown in Israel and India! You definitely taught me something today. I didn't fall in love with avocados until a few years ago and now, I eat them all the time (unless they're ridiculously expensive, which they have been lately). Thanks for this post!

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    1. So true, Nancy, not only that I dread the food politics topic but also, like you, I much rather leave it to the experts in the field. With that being, I came across, particularly one professional writer that irks me when they write about the subject. I decided just not to read their pieces. :)

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  13. gorgeous photos- I love your mortar and pestle!

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  14. I love "avocado pears!" So much great information for one of my favorite dishes!

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  15. Very interesting story! I love rosa's too and the guacamole!

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  16. Shulie, I loved this post! First of all, that guacamole looks perfect (chunky). And I had no idea guacamole was a "thing" in Israel! Though, like you, I don't write about food politics, I refuse to buy imported avocadoes. Avocadoes have a long season in the US and for the short time they are out of season I prefer to live without them and just wait. I eat with the seasons, sourcing everything as close to home as possible.

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    1. Hi Jean, I am with you though I am far from perfect especially with ingredients that are exotic or I need for Indian cooking. There are particular dishes that are my go to that I use tomatoes in. It's a tough one. I try though. Shop at farmers markets, organic when possible and somewhat affordable. Thanks for the discussion.

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  17. This was such an interesting read! The guac looks great too :)

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  18. Is it wrong that I don't want to read that link? I love guac way too much to let me love of avocados be tainted. Ignorance is bliss, right?

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    1. I don't blame you, Lauren, but not all avocados are tainted. :)

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  19. Good post, Shulie. My mom used to make guacamole when we were kids as the beginning of Thanksgiving dinner. She thought it was quite gourmet at the time. It was always served with Fritos and I never liked Fritos so I just dipped my fingers in it. Plus she put hard boiled eggs in it too, which really is not a bad thing. In any case, we've both come around and now make some seriously great guac! But truthfully, I love all guac. Thanks for the post!

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  20. I'd love a big bowl of this guacamole for lunch!

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  21. Food politics are fascinating -- and I agree that this is a good argument for buying only US avocados. This guac looks and sounds amazing too!

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  22. Lovely post and fun memories of eating at Rosa Mexicano when we lived in DC! Living in San Diego, almost all of the avocados I buy are locally grown, BUT I have bought Mexican avocados before-going to read that article. I love reading about Food Politics, but, like you, prefer to leave the writing to others. Hope you're doing well Shulie!

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  23. Your guacamole looks perfect, Shulie! I'm going to make sure I always buy avocados from the US.

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