Wholly guacamole

A couple of entries ago,Happy New Year, I mentioned that I was going to review as many of Phoenix Magazine’s top 50 restaurant’s signature dishes and recreate, to the best of my ability, the dish.

I planned on writing about a burger but my inability to take a good picture kept me from posting it. So, instead you get Barrio Café’s $10 guacamole. Yes, your eyes are focused. You do see $10, ten dollars, Hamilton. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the price either.

Their signature dish was easy to duplicate and my picture is as good as gets. For around $3, without the pomegranate seeds, and no more than 10 minutes of your time you can have a delicious snack, appetizer, or side dish that is healthy and quick to make.

Off to the side have a medium size mixing bowl. Add to the bowl, in order: ½ tomato, deseeded and diced; ¼ red onion, finely chopped; 1 fresh Serrano, deseeded and finely chopped; 1 pitted, peeled and chopped avocado; juice of ½ of a lime; 2-3 pinches of salt; a pinch or two of pomegranate seeds (not necessary but that’s how Barrio’s serves it;) and, a handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped. Fold gently and serve with lime on the side. Really simple to make and the fresh ingredients and flavors makes it a healthy dish for any time of the day.

Full review: Barrio Café

Vegas Baby

I'm shocked by how many good places there are to eat in Vegas. One of my favorite places is a walk-up bakery in The Venetian. Bouchon Bakery is owned by one of the most recognized American chefs working today, Thomas Keller. His staff of bakers has experience ranging from Michelin two-stars to a Certified Master Baker. To simply put it, they are on a whole other level than the majority of chefs and bakers that most of us have experienced in our culinary adventures.

Needing a mid morning snack, I was satisfied and greeted by a great display of French-influenced baked goods at Bouchon Bakery: breads; viennoiserie; pastries; tarts; macarons – and a handful of servers happily ready to pull something out of the display case.

Erin and I were lucky - when you're in Vegas any form of luck is a win - to beat the mid-morning rush. Shortly after ordering the barista commented on how perfectly dry the cappuccino was. She handed me my drink and a precisely baked pain au chocolate, that had a golden brown and flaky exterior that was filled with warm, rich chocolate.

Just for the sake of being on vacation, I finished my morning snack with a few bites of Erin’s soft and chewy, buttercream filled, lemon macaron. After a few ooooohs and ahhhhhs of enjoyment, a dozen or so people came charging in to experience the expertly crafted and enticing display of Bouchon’s baked goods.