Guacamole seasoning pouches of the Old El Paso variety are nothing new, but seeing one with a celebrity chef's name attached to it is worth more than a passing glance. Let's grab some avocados and get mashing.
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At $2.99, Rick Bayless' Frontera Original Guacamole Mix is not a cheap way to start a guacamole, but is the flavor worth the price? The contents of the pouch lean heavily toward the roasted, with fire-roasted tomatillos, tomatoes, chiles, and onions, lightly accented with cilantro, garlic, salt, and citric acid in place of lime juice. The instructions couldn't be more simple, just mash two ripe avocados, add the contents of the pouch, season with salt to taste and eat.
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So simple -- and yet so not worth it. With so many roasted elements, the flavor of this easy guacamole is heavy on roasted flavor, but otherwise flat and lacking in brightness and balance. Not to sound like a Top Chef celebrity judge, but it got the typical comment on that show out of me: "It needs salt and acid." And cilantro, and some heat.
The verdict: Skip this pouch and just head straight to the produce aisle. $2.99 buys you an awful lot of limes, chiles, and cilantro.
As proprietor of Muñeca Mexicana handcrafted food, Minerva Orduno Rincon makes everything from mole poblano to goat milk caramel to spiced (not spicy) cocoa. She's taking a summer break from farmers markets, but she'll be back in the fall.