The Dish: Guacamole Sur
Where to Get It: El Centro DF, 1819 14th St. NW, (202) 328-3131; richardsandoval.com/elcentrodf
What It Is: Guacamole with grasshoppers mixed in
What It Tastes Like: While these hair-raising insects threw me into a Fear Factor–like fit of panic at first, the guac is delicious. Whole, buttery avocados are mixed tableside in a stone bowl with fresh green tomatillos, cotija cheese, onions, lime, sea salt, and a dash of beautiful, red chile cascabel powder. If you can get over the appearance, you’ll be rewarded with a plethora of flavors and textures, not the least of which is the crunchy, almost nutty taste of the grasshoppers.
History of the Dish: Grasshoppers, or chapulines in Spanish, have been part of the Mexican diet since the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. “In some parts of Mexico, you see chapulines in everything—guacamole, queso fundido, tacos and sometimes quesadillas,” says chef Juan Romero. “We try to stay as traditional as possible, with a few modern techniques like the chile cascabel powder, cotija cheese, and overall presentation.”
How to Eat It: Take a thin, perfectly crisp tortilla chip and dig in. As part of El Centro’s limited-time Guacamole Festival, this special is available until June 30.
Photo by Mary Kong-DeVito