A great thing happened to me last week. I received an invitation to attend a Lunch & Cooking Demo with Chef Ivy Stark of Dos Caminos’ Park Avenue location in New York City.
Of course, I accepted the invite in a heartbeat and attended the event with my husband, who came as my plus one and my supporter. Saying I was excited for this event is an understatement since it was a huge honor for me to meet Dos Caminos’ Executive Chef Ivy Stark, and not to mention Dos Caminos is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in NYC. I’ve always said they make the BEST GUACAMOLE!
The event was sponsored by the California Avocado Commission in an attempt to educate people about avocados and all its uses. Let’s face it, most people wouldn’t know what to do with an avocado besides making guacamole, however Chef Ivy Stark educated each one of us on creative ways to incorporate avocados into our meals.
As soon as we arrived we were given complimentary drinks at the bar.
I went for the Mango Mojito while my husband went for their signature drink, the El Camino Margarita. Both drinks were delicious and smooth. To be honest, I was a little hit after 1/4 of my drink (low tolerance), and thus I had to seriously slow down.
Once all the attendees arrived, about 20, we moved our private party to the back section of the restaurant. Gorgeous and sexy ambience, loved the pink/purple combination colors and lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
While we all socialized, avocado cocktails were served to kick off the fun – the Avorita which is essentially an Avocado Margarita. In the mix… avocados, tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice, sugar, and salt. It was good, but slightly strong and a bit heavy for a cocktail. The idea is unique and creative though, and the Avorita is certainly one of the “healthier” cocktails if you will.
We were also served the Avocado Aperitif. An aperitif is an alcoholic drink usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. I believe this drink consisted of some kind of berry in addition to the avocado. Really good.
GUAC-OFF & Guess.Who.Won.3rd.Place?
We then had a “Guac-Off” where we broke up into teams of 2, of course I paired up with my husband. Each team competed to make the best guacamole using a plethora of traditional (and not so traditional) ingredients to choose from.
My husband was there to merely support me, thus I had to work twice as hard and think outside the box. In addition to the traditional guacamole flavors, I also added non-traditional ingredients, such as roasted corn, almonds, parsley, and boiled eggs to my guacamole. The roasted corn and almonds added crunch without adding too much flavor, the parsley added another mild herb flavor, and the boiled eggs added creaminess and texture without compromising taste.
I kicked up my guac several notches with jalapeno and crushed red pepper so the flavors really stood out. While I did all this, my husband came up with the name… The Spicy-Avo New Yorker!
Each team was then asked to describe what their guacamole consisted of while Chef Ivy Stark and her assistant tried each team’s guacamole. Well, I ended up coming in THIRD PLACE mainly because of creativity and Chef Ivy loved how I incorporated eggs into my guacamole.
As my prize, I won Dos Caminos’ Mortar and Pestle – I was SO happy a “chef” enjoyed my guac! The person who took first place added bacon to their guac – although I don’t eat bacon, I hear bacon makes everything taste better.
CHEF IVY STARK COOKING DEMO
Chef Ivy then demonstrated a few recipes from her latest cookbook, Mexican Street Food. Some of the items we tasted were:
Avocado Milkshake w/avocado, cucumber, fresh lemon juice, parsley, and crushed ice.
This beverage was light and refreshing and would be the perfect start to the day.
Crab Molotes with California Avocado Tomatillo Salsa
Although my husband and I don’t eat crab, we both dug in and really enjoyed it, of course, anything fried tastes amazing. The sauce was perfection… it was light and zesty. I love tomatillo salsa.
Avocado Tacos Baja Style
The tacos were yummy and served on a soft taco with fried avocado, sort of tempura style, cabbage, red onions, red bell peppers, and cucumber-lime salsa. The chipotle mayo sauce made this dish… it added depths of flavor and a little kick.
Avocado Honey Lime Ice Cream
The ice cream was light and sweet with a hint of lime. It was good, but I think warm chocolate sauce on top would take this ice cream to a whole new level.
Did I forget to mention our waiter came around TWICE to take drink orders, however my husband and I ordered drinks one more time… I went for the Calle Fresca which was mango pureed with cucumber with tequila, whereas my husband went for his usual – El Camino. Dos Caminos’ drinks are dangerously good – strong, yet so smooth!
BOOK SIGNING & GIFTS
The event ended with photographs, book signing, and a goody bag full of avocados amongst other gifts.
Normally I don’t share pictures of myself on Honey, What’s Cooking, however for a major event, I will. So here I am with Chef Ivy Stark getting my book signed. Based on my smile alone, I’m sure you can tell it was one of the most eventful and memorable days of my life.
Thank you to the California Avocado Commission for sponsoring the event.
Thank you to Elizabeth and Kiaran for reaching out to me.
Thank you to Chef Ivy Stark for demonstrating some wonderful “avocado” recipes to us and for an AMAZING lunch!
And last but certainly not least, thank you to Dos Caminos Park for hosting the event and always serving up excellent quality food and drinks! You’ve made every single visit of mine nothing, but memorable! Thank You!