Wednesday, May 5, 2010


To celebrate Cinco De Mayo, the Baby Product Buying team at my work (a major Seattle internet retailer) had a end of day get together. In addition to beer, food, and really great margaritas (with fresh squeezed key limes), my friend Ally (pictured below in green) organized a Guacamole making contest. And she gave me the honor of judging - despite my questionable credentials.

There were 6 entries, and Ally gave each a letter so everyone could taste 'blind' and not allow judgement to be influenced by anything but the guacamole itself.

A  B

Though all were within what I'd consider traditional guacamole boundaries (no guac-sicles or avocado confit), you can see from the pictures that there was some definite variety in color, texture and ingredients used. And I can assure you there was variety in flavor. All the contestants took the challenge seriously, and I aimed to take my judging duties equally so.

D  E

Ally gave me a notebook and pen, and I got to work tasting each guacamole with a chip, jotting down notes about flavor, texture and color - and of course rinsing my mouth out between tastes. I then went back and tasted each with a spoon, to get an unadulterated taste - minus the salt, flavors and texture of the chip. The most notable difference as a result was letter F - the unabashed store-bought guac - which seemed smooth when paired with a chip but had an almost gritty texture on it's own.

F  G

All the guacamole's were darn good, but I had the responsibility of picking a favorite and a runner up. Letter G stood out to me for it's color, texture, and complex flavors (a great balance of lime, smoky cumin, garlic and cilantro), and I awarded it first place. It was made by Brandon N (pictured below at the end of the table in the glasses). It also employed the "put the pits in the bowl" technique said to help the guac retain it's green color (thus apparently preventing oxidation). I can't speak to whether the science is valid (there are some definite differences of opinion out there), but Brandon did have one of the brightest guacs.

Letter E also had a great balance of flavors and textures, with great freshness from the lime, and I awarded it second place. It turned out to be the first-time effort of Mardi T!

In addition to my picks, everyone got the chance to vote for the People's Choice favorite, which went to letter B - Ally's own entry.

Awards were handed out to the Guac Off Champions, and I even got a new game as a thank you gift for judging.

After the awards were presented, it was revealed that letter A was also a store-bought guac, presented in a bowl perhaps to test my palate. Thank goodness I scored it lower than the homemade ones!

1 comment:

mntgirl said...

Thanks so much Dan!! It was a pleasure to have you be our official judge!!