I gotta be honest...I was a tiny bit concerned about the concoctions that would come out of this "throwdown". Rightfully so. I don't know about you, but the first thing that comes to mind when I think of avocados is...you guessed it - guacamole! Avocados get a lot of use in my world so it wasn't my lack of appreciation and passion for the thick green-skinned fruit. Let it be told; avocados are my thing - I'll go California style and put it on a burger, I'll dice it up for my rendition of ceviche, or I can eat it straight up with a sprinkle of salt. And yes, I do make a MEAN guacamole! When it came to the avocado takedown, I think my mind just drew a creativity blank which is even more reason why I was excited about this event. On top of that, gaucamole was not allowed! I was sold...
I live and breathe avocados and I wanted to see what these creative cooks and chefs had up their sleeves. The Houston Avocado Takedown was held at Warehouse Live on Sunday, April 1, 2012 and 17 competitors were armed with a full crate of avocados; provided courtesy of the Avocados from Mexico. The dishes ranged from simple to daring and road the line between sweet and savory. From deep fried avocados (had me at hello), to avocado pudding (yep, you read that right), and avocado wrapped in bacon (bacon makes everything great), I just about sampled every which way an avocado could be incorporated. The take on Cannolis by Joe Fasullo derserves an honorable mention.
The competitors were judged by a panel of well known chefs and food writers (included on the panel were Chef Aquiles Chavez of La Fisheria and Food Writer Syd Kearney of the Houston Chronicle) and they could also receive the People's Choice Award. I had my personal favorites: the Deep Fried Avocado Tacos with the yummy slaw did get my vote (made by local Houston food truck, H-Town StrEATs) and in strong second was the incredibly creamy and mild Avocado Cheesecake with the sweet graham cracker crust. I was in awe and absolute envy of what the competitors were able to create, especially the Avocado Ice Cream that entered into the race the morning of with only a few hours to prep, prepare and present. In my mind I was thinking, "who comes up with this stuff?". A standing ovation soon followed once the winners graciously accepted their prizes for first, second and third place.
The Houston Avocado Takedown is in it's third year and we hope this tradition continues. However, I would like to suggest that Houston be allowed to take part in a few of the other great "takedowns" created by Mr. Matt Timms. Okay, since you asked...I wouldn't mind seeing the fondue or cookie takedown make an appearance? And if you need a judge, we are soooo there! The Takedowns have been going strong since 2003 and were established up in Brooklyn, New York. We have already planned our next trip to NYC and it will include a takedown or two. So make sure you check out the next takedown in your city and if you think you have what it takes, go on and show us what you got!
1st Place Judges Award: Avocado Cheezecake by Michelle Ramsey
1st Place People's Choice Award: Deep Fried Avodillas, Parm Crisp with Smokey Shrimp Tomatillos by Bianca Vance
2nd Place Judges Award: Sonora-cado Avocado Pie by Mike Ray
2nd Place People's Choice Award: Avocado Cheezecake by Michelle Ramsey
3rd Place Judges Award: Avocado Mint Ice Cream with Candied Bacon by Dan Cutts
3rd Place People's Choice Award: Fried Avocado Tacos by Staci from Radical Eats
~ Shanna "Urban Girl" Jones, Urban Swank
Urban Swank received complimentary passes; opinions expressed are our own.