As far as we are concerned, it's always the right time for some guacamole. There are so many ways to dress it up or down, and it can be given a savory flavor or be prepared with a sweet note.
The Mission and Barrio Queen, both located in Scottsdale, make their own house guacamole tableside for guests and we tested out both eateries to find out which restaurant delivered the best bowl.
In This Corner: The Mission
The Setting: The Mission is adjacent to a stunning white mission (hence the name) in Old Town Scottsdale. Walk into the restaurant and you're met with Spanish décor, beige stucco walls and wood floors. Mini chandeliers add to the trendy ambiance of the restaurant. On our visit, the service was quick and welcoming, and our server did not hesitate to offer the tableside guacamole.
The Good: This guacamole is made with two fresh, plump avocados, jalapeño (guests are asked for their preference of mild, medium or hot), red onion, fresh garlic, sea salt, lime juice, tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, chipotle puree, cilantro, cotija and roasted pepitas. Added pumpkin seeds are also an option at the end. It's mesmerizing to watch the process of the guacamole being made, and puts to shame any other guac you've tried to make at home. We were like puppies waiting for our meal to be placed in front of us, ready to devour it.
The textures inside the dip were addicting. Crunch onion, fresh jalapeño with a nice crisp to it, and the pumpkin seeds added a nice touch next to the creamy avocado.
The Bad: The textures were spot on, but the flavor fell flat in our guacamole dish. Lime could hardly be detected, and where was our chipotle puree? The few splashes of lime juice wasn't enough to do the trick, and for guacamole supposedly prepared at medium spiciness, we were left disappointed as there was hardly a kick.
In The Other Corner: Barrio Queen
The Setting: You feel the energy as soon as you step inside Barrio Queen. The friendly staff, vibrant artwork and upbeat music all set the scene for an exciting meal ahead at chef Silvana Salcido Esparza's second restaurant. (Her original spot, Barrio Cafe, is located in Phoenix. She also has a spot at the airport.)
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The Good: Bright colored tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, red onion and cranberries were joined in a mixing bowl with two large avocados. The prep time was a lot quicker compared to The Mission. We liked the touch of added cranberries, purely a chef's touch that made the bowl memorable. Biting into sweet and savory guacamole is a wonderful experience. Lime juice was actually present in the bowl and helped brighten the dish a little more.
The Bad: We like a more creamier consistency for our guacamole, but our bowl was full of large chunks of avocado. Yes, it all goes to the same place and tasted great nonetheless, but it felt like a rush job.
The Winner: Get as fancy as you want and incorporate all you want, but flavor wins over everything, and that's why Barrio Queen's tableside guacamole was it for us. The blends of sweet and savory won us over compared to The Mission's attempt, which we still applaud. C'mon, it's guacamole we're talking about. This battle was enjoyable all the way around.