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photography by Carol Shih

Taste Test Thursday: Guacamole

Avocado is a summer fruit, but when it’s 20-something degrees outside (like it was this entire past week), all our bodies are longing for sunshine. And guacamole, obviously.

In Texas, if you say you don’t like guacamole, people will look at you funny. People will think there’s something wrong with you, ’cause chances are… there might be. Guacamole is a universally liked appetizer, and we know we’re ordering it before we even sit down to eat. It’s easy to make, easy to eat, and it’s healthy. The best time to do this guacamole taste test would’ve been in the summer, but I couldn’t wait until then. It’s too far away.

Avocados are life-saving fruits, and they make the world a better place. That’s why I had to do some sleuthing. I had to find out where the best guac in Dallas is made.

1_taste_test_name

A. Rafa’s fresh guacamole salad – Dallas, TX (Way back when, our editors said this was a great pick for guacamole in our “Ultimate Guide to Tex-Mex in Dallas.”)

B. Mi Cocina’s guacamole “Mexicano” – Dallas, TX

C. Wholly Guacamole – made in Saginaw, TX

D. El Fenix’s guacamole – Dallas, TX

E. Central Market’s guacamole – Dallas, TX

A 3_tasting_notes Ingredients: avocados, onions, tomatoes

  • “I feel like I could stop right here and be happy. The onions taste fresh. They really snap. Good flavor. Only complaint: texture suggests it was blended with an industrial mixer. I.e., it’s too creamy for my taste.”
  • “Needs salt; too whipped.”
  • “Just tastes like mashed avocado. Bland.”
  • “Onions were a bit overwhelming.”

 

B 3_tasting_notes Ingredients: avocados

  • “Now you’re talking more my texture. I like my guac like I like my ladies, a little lumpy. Actually, that’s not true, but I couldn’t think of something else that is good when it’s lumpy. Anyway, good texture, but it needs more supporting ingredients (tomatoes, onions, cilantro, etc.). “
  • “Nice and chunky greatness. I think it’s Mi Cocina.”
  • “Tasted this twice and still got nothing. Wait. Was blocked by A & C. I liked it. But kind of basic.”
  • “A lot of red onion flavor.”
  • “My favorite. Chunks of avocado. Could use a little kick, though.”

 

c 3_tasting_notes Ingredients: Hass avocado, jalapeno puree, dehydrated onion, salt, granulated garlic

  • “Slimy looking and tasting.”
  • “What the hell is this? It’s just garlic and avocado paste. I hate this.”
  • “It looks like baby food.”
  • “Strong flavor. Maybe too strong? Like fake strong.”
  • “Salty.”

 

D 3_tasting_notes Ingredients: avocados

  • “Hello, lime! Nice, lumpy texture, too. If you put this in front of me, I would eat it. In fact, I DID eat it”
  • “Good consistency.”
  • “Super salty. No.”
  • “Lots of lime.”

 

E 3_tasting_notes Ingredients: avocados, red onion, cilantro,

  • “There’s an unidentified herbaceous thing going on here. It doesn’t agree with me at all. “
  • “Yuck-a-doo. Sour, foul after taste.”
  • “Unexpected kick, yeesh. Weird color.”
  • “Looks like throw up, tastes like expired guacamole.”
  • “Super freakin’ plain. All I taste is tomatoes. But does have some cayenne pepper or something.”

 

4_tally_up

6 votes for (B) Mi Cocina
2 votes for (A) Rafa
2 votes for (D) El Fenix

This is how taste tests are done: Tim Rogers, a laptop, and some strong concentration.
This is how taste tests are done: Tim Rogers, a laptop, and some strong concentration.

5_conclusion

The winner: Mi Cocina One person knew right-off-the-bat that (B) was Mi Cocina’s guacamole, and when I asked her why, she told me she’s eaten it so many times. I think the big chunks gave it away. It was obviously fresh-made, given the color and texture. It had cilantro and onions in it. Overall, it had the best pepper-to-lemon-to-onion balance, which is quite hard to achieve in a simple guacamole recipe.

The losers: Wholly Guacamole and Central Market Central Market’s always bringing its A-game, but not this time. Not for the guacamole. We ate from the guac carton the same day I bought it, but the label claims it was packed the previous day. Maybe CM should stop selling day-old guac? Just a thought. It was over cilantro-ed, and nothing about it tasted like it had been made from avocados. Nothing. Wholly Guacamole’s pureed, consistent texture made it look way too factory-made, and everyone noticed it right-off-the-bat. This one was over garlick-y, but it’s still a great dipping mechanism for parties. I’ve noticed it doesn’t go brown for several hours. It’s probably all that dehydrated stuff working its magic.

Most surprising part of the taste test: El Fenix’s chips. Those chips come fresh out of the fryer, hot, crispy, and crackly. They’re awesome. I wish I hadn’t scarfed them all down so quickly.

  • Mavdog

    You should have included Whole Food’s guac instead of Wholly Guacamole. First, all the other entries were fresh and local, and second why would there be an entry from CM and not one from WF?

  • TLS

    Kroger makes a good fresh guacamole. Seriously.

  • Jill

    I am surprised by CM’s results, I have had it before and generally tend to like it. I wonder if they will see this and how they will react….

  • twinwillow

    I always thought Central Market’s guacamole was the very best store branded guacamole until I tried the freshly made store branded guacamole from Fiesta Market.
    It’s easily the best super market guacamole sold in Dallas.

    Reference the remark about El Fenix’s chips – I noticed them being sooo much better now since El Fenix was acquired by the present management.

  • Wondertwin

    Whole Foods guac is wonderful. So is the guac at HG Supply Co.

  • Michael Merriman

    I was thinking the same thing. We eat the guacamole from WF every week.

  • Michael Merriman

    Also, let us not forget Cantina Laredo’s guacamole table side service. The show is good, and they make it right in front of you. It’s almost perfect too, accept it always needs salt.

  • Marley

    YES. So glad Mico won this one. I mean it would’ve for me and I def could pick it out from a crowd. Chipotle’s guac is another one of my favorites and I have high standards when it comes to that green goodness :)

  • Marley

    and I second you on the El Fenix chips

  • canerosso

    Don’t overlook the Guacamole at Chipotle…for reals.

  • ersanch2001

    On the border has awesome fresh guacamole… made at your table! yummmmm I <3 Guacamole

  • way out yonder

    I am sure it probably corresponds to your magazine distribution demographic, but it seems that these “best” comparisons very rarely include any places north of 635…am I imagining this? How about every once in a blue moon including some “north of the border” places???

  • Carol Shih

    That’s true. I’ll try to incorporate more suburbs in the future.

  • goddess63

    I also like Chipotle’s guac. Always seems freshly made and is nicely chunky with a good mix of ingredients. One restaurant’s that I think is far superier to all the others is Anamia’s table-side guac. Though I assume you didn’t include that style because they all could vary so much depending on your own taste. Also can’t believe you would include mass-produced glop like Wholly Guacamole. Even the worst restaurant guac is leaps and bounds better than anything like that.

  • Carol Shih

    We try to do a mix of commercial and local products in our taste tests. You never know what people will like.

  • Gabe

    Whole Foods guacamole is delicious. Also very good, the guacamole at La Hacienda on Preston Rd.