Guacamole

What makes a good guacamole?  Fresh ingredients are the key but there are a few surprising others.  We went to Texas to visit family and embarked on a guacamole find, in search of the best of the best.

So where did we go, what did we discover and the real question, can we duplicate that which we found?  Our target was traditional and old family restaurants well known for their Mexican Food that have been key to shaping Mexican Food in their city and in my opinion, in the United States.

In Houston, we chose to have lunch at Mama Ninfa’s and the Original Location downtown.  I had been to two other location, one in the suburbs of Houston and one in Lafayette, LA, now closed.  It was a treat to go to the original, to have a margarita in the middle of the business day and to enjoy food that truly has shaped what we know to be Tex-Mex in our country.  This is not a restaurant review but let me say that it was superior food, service and an environment that was simply wonderful.

Here is a bit about Ninfa’s.

http://ninfas.com/

Established in 1973, the Original location is located at 2704 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003.

Guacamole is the first appetizer on their website menu and lists the ingredients as follows; avocados, jalapenos, onions, cilantro, tomatoes and fresh lime.  So, this dish is wonderful, fresh and simply fantastic.

In San Antonio, we went to a traditional restaurant called Boudro’s.

http://www.boudros.com/

Located on the Riverwalk, the atmosphere is spectacular.  It is larger than you would think from the appearance outside, food is fantastic and the guacamole is well known.

Ingredients: 

Juice of ½ of an orange

Juice of ½ of a lime

1 avocado seeded and scooped out of skin – cut and not smashed

Approximately, 1 Tablespoon of diced red onion

½ Tablespoon of chopped cilantro

2 Tablespoons of roasted and diced tomatoes

½ – 1 teaspoon of sea salt

Spicy?  They add 1 teaspoon of serrano pepper finely diced.

We didn’t order it spicy and the flavors were fantastic.

Boudro’s and Ninfa’s

Bottom line regarding Ninfa’s and Boudro’s, their guacamole is fantastic, styles are different and we now make it following Boudro’s recipe because we love the addition of the orange and have been able to duplicate it.  When we arrived at my sister’s home, we went to Boudro’s with a large party of family members.  And then, we made guacamole at her house that evening for dinner so the others who were not able to go could try it and we made it again the following evening for dinner.  Yes indeed, you will love it as well.

Mexican Salad

Dressing:

½ cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves

½ cup lime juice

½ cup olive oil

½ cup sour cream (I use vegan)

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Blend these ingredients in a blender or food processor and set aside dressing.

 

Salad:

1 package of shredded romaine lettuce or 3 romaine hearts cut

5 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 (15 oz) can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 small purple onion, chopped

1 (8 oz) package of shredded cheese (I use shredded vegan mozzarella)

1 (15 oz) can of whole kernel corn drained

1 (6 oz) can sliced ripe olives drained or 1 (15 oz) can of whole black olives drained and sliced

Place these ingredients in a bowl, add the dressing and toss until thoroughly mixed.  Serve with your favorite corn chips.

Restaurant Review – Antoni’s Italian Café Lafayette, LA

Restaurant Review of Antoni’s Italian Café

http://www.antonisitaliancafe.com

1118 Coolidge St. A, Lafayette, LA  70503

337-232-8384

Rating: (1-10)

1 – Poor, 3 – Below Average and Needs Much Improvement,

5 – Average but Needs Improvement, 7 – Above Average and Acceptable,

8 and 9 – Superior, 10 – Exceptional and Could Not Have Been Better!

I didn’t indicate the intention to review our dining experience.  We paid for our meal in full.  A guest feedback card was delivered with the check after our meal and I indicated the website to access the review and suggestions.

Atmosphere:  10

There is a quaint outside patio at the entrance that would be a wonderful seating area on a cool day or evening.  In any case, it serves as a garden entrance adding to the exterior as this location is an older shopping plaza that is both well-kept and fully leased.  Inside, the smells were fresh, clean and welcoming.  Customers were sporting dressy casual and casual attire   Our visit was on a Saturday, July 14, 2018 at 8:00 PM.  Patrons were couples out for a Saturday evening date night, a large table of couples socializing and several tables of families with children ranging in age, all of which seemed used to dining in nicer restaurants that expect children all well-mannered.    The atmosphere was pleasurable in every way.

Interior Design:  10

Quaint and well done, décor is tasteful, Italian theme and pleasant.  The lighting was exceptionally well done, very difficult to accomplish.  The subtleties indicated a standard of care with owners who are engaged and personally invested in the restaurant.  This restaurant is neat and meticulously clean which frankly is hard to find.

was just right.  Chris and Casey ordered water with their meal and I ordered a Bloody Mary.  This drink was seasoned well without so much floating that it was sandy to drink and beautifully garnished with olives and okra.  When I inquired, the waiter a New Orleans Catrina transplant, offered that the Bloody Mary’s are really good.  He was absolutely correct.  Sunday brunch would beg for a Bloody Mary.  Chris and Casey ordered dessert; Chris the triple chocolate cheese cake and Casey the tiramisu both were fresh and each was presented beautifully.

Menu Options:  9

Menu options are diverse including; fish, chicken, meat, pasta and pizza.  Also, widely available were vegetables as side dishes, salads and vegetable options on pasta and pizza.  The wine list is extensive are is the list of suggested cocktails.  The dessert menu is perfect for an Italian café all made on the premises.

Presentation:  10

The appearance of the food when plated and served was exceptional.  The professionalism of the staff presentation was superior as well.

Service:  10

The service that we received was superior!  We were greeted at the door by a host that gave us a strong message of superior service.  David, clearly a professional knew just how to enhance our experience and how to make us want to be served by him again.  He delivered service that was thoughtful, appropriate and thorough, hard to explain at the level of excellence that this was delivered at but exceptional when seen.

Cost and Value:  10

We had one cocktail, 3 salads, 3 entrees and 2 deserts for $63.  We ordered what we wanted and the bill was most reasonable.  The value for what we received was incredible.  These are reasonable portion sizes.  They are not huge which frankly we dislike.  We ate our meal without left overs and we actually wanted and felt we had permission to enjoy a desert.  I must admit, this was a nice feeling and we were not stuffed, uncomfortable but completely satisfied.  What more could you ask for, right?

Suggestions:

We want the great restaurants to be supported and found.  This ensures that when we return, these choices will still be available and it ensure that the those in your area will have All Good options to choose from.  With this in mind, the largest growth area in the food and restaurant business is an opportunity and as such we feel the need to explain further so that the owners of Antoni’s Italian Café can indeed capitalize from this exposure and prevent a missed opportunity.  We are near vegan vegetarian and the menu doesn’t have a vegetarian section.  In addition, the vegetables that we visually saw were exceptional; asparagus, broccoli and a wide variety of salad choices not to mention all kinds of vegetable choices that can be added to the pizza and pasta dishes.  So, upon re-printing the menu, there would be every reason to have a vegetarian section when you have so many wonderful options to choose from.  Most important, searching the restaurants in Lafayette for a vegan vegetarian option or even for restaurants that have vegetables available on the menu proves that this would separate your business from the others and set you apart in a category of food and restaurant service that is most growing in the US and Internationally.  In a college town with educators and students, this option is very important.  As a small city with a history and prevalence of heart disease, options for those who need to change their diet are also important.  Last suggestion, the beer and craft beer list are lacking and doesn’t meet the market demand of present day.  This is also a growth area within the industry.  Although this would require a change, it adding just a few of the most in demand by beer category would be a nice additional offering.

Overall Rating and Assessment:  9.86

We highly recommend this restaurant.  The atmosphere, service, cost/value make this a restaurant to add to your routine restaurant outings list in Lafayette, LA.  It is also a fantastic place to take your large party for a special occasion.  If you live nearby, we sincerely hope that you choose to support this local, fresh, Italian Café because we think it is truly ALL GOOD.

Amanda Griesdorn

AllGoodVeg.com

allgoodveg@gmail.com

 

Sunflower Cafe 2834 Azalea Pl, Nashville, TN 37204

Restaurant Review – Sunflower Café

2834 Azalea Pl, Nashville, TN 37204

Have you ever been somewhere that just has good vibes?  The employees and customers cross all demographics; nationalities, age, style and food preferences.  The Sunflower Café, Nashville, TN might be missed by many because it is a small cafe off the beaten path and it isn’t fancy, pretentious or expensive.  It is the antithesis of what one might expect to call their favorite restaurant!  As a well-developed foodie, can your favorite restaurant be a café with sunflowers on the wall and a menagerie of people with healthy skin and smiling faces from all walks of life, dressed up and down sincerely there for the enjoyment of so many healthy vegetarian food options?

Wait, wait I haven’t even described the food!  You will find only heavenly good choices, so good that you will be surprised when you realize that everyone who ventures in, is not a die-hard vegan (eats only plants and uses no animal products).  And then, how will you find something that you like?  Oh my, I have yet to taste anything that I didn’t like.  What a treat to have 50+ healthy choices on one menu, on one steam table all for sampling and for mixing and matching.  So, after it all, you will leave pleasantly full from Tempeh BBQ and Potato Salad, my husband’s choice or from Vegan Crab’ish Cakes on a bed of lettuce with slaw and a side of Sesame Kale, my choice.  The seasonings, herbs and mix of flavors make those who might like vegetables secondarily wanting more tries at the options served.

At 3:30 PM on Friday, the parking lot is more packed than most restaurants at their dinner rush.  If you can find a parking space, there is a table waiting for you inside.  Just off of Interstate on the South side of Nashville, we make this our stop every time we travel through or to Nashville.  Let your hair down, bring the family and try this hip spot worth talking about in Nashville.  It is healthy, fun and exactly what we look for in fresh food, whole foods, vegan, vegetarian and plant-based food options; quality, fresh, herbs and minimal if any oils and fats.  Menu is marked for gluten free and other restrictions to make choosing easier.