In honor of the Mexican Independence Day celebrations, I decided it was time for this Texas girl to take a cooking class from one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in the city. Truthfully, I was looking for any excuse to drink mid-day instead of dealing with the chores around the house! For anyone that knows me I am a little less than a domestic goddess, however I was up for the challenge because I think it is un-Texan to not know how to make the perfect bowl of guacamole.
|Mexican Independence Day Cooking Class|
Corporate Executive Chef Ivy Stark and Executive Chef Sarah Shapiro opened the doors to the Park Avenue Dos Caminos location to me and 40 other foodies. It turned out to be a great way to spend an overcast Saturday afternoon in the city. For only $50 I learned to make a modern Mexican fiesta, received the Dos Caminos Mexican Kitchen Mod Mex cookbook and got to eat all the yummy food Chef Ivy cooked up. I even made some new friends—Olympia, Shavell, Helen, Thor (aka Greg) and Lisa. To top off the day we had a Kardashian takeover because we got to watch the taping of Kourtney and Kim take New York taping since they were filming next to our table.
The menu was pretty amazing. We learned how to make two (2) drinks, two (2) dishes, the Dos Caminos infamous guacamole and an awesome dessert. I took a lot of notes and tried to pay as close attention as possible so I could go home and at minimum recreate the guacamole. Here are some of my favorites:
Huitlacoche Mushroom Tamales
Huitlacoche is a corn fungus which is used in Mexico and it is also known as Mexican caviar. I’m not going to lie; I was terrified of the kernels. They were scary looking and I wasn’t too fond of the smell. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out but Chef Ivy and Sara did their magic and it was delish. The mushrooms really did it for me. I absolutely LOVE them! I will NOT try to make this at home because I have no doubt it will turn into a total disaster but I am open to visit anyone who feels like they might be able to duplicate the recipe!
This dish represents the beginning of fall and Mexican flag. It is fun, colorful and absolutely mouth watering. It is a roasted poblano chile with a filling made from ground beef, onions, cloves, raisins, fruit and nuts. The sauce is so good I could eat it solo and is made from peeled walnuts, cheese, and fraiche and topped off with pomegranate seeds. I am not too intimidated to attempt this dish, the pepper seems doable but the sauce might be a bit tricky.
Dos Caminos Guacamole
If you haven’t tried this you really do not know what you are missing! I mean it. Dos Caminos makes over 1,000 orders of guacamole a day! Need I say more? I will tell you one of their secrets and it is the type of avocado they use. California Haas Avocados are their preference because of their density and creaminess. As soon as I left the restaurant I immediately headed over to Whole Foods to buy the ingredients and went home to make my very first batch of guacamole. I was so proud of myself; I invited some friends and my neighbors to be my guinea pigs. Turns out, my guacamole is “really good” and “restaurant quality” according to my critics. The only thing I want to know is why the Dos Caminos guacamole is so green?!
Crepa de Cajeta
Just think of a goat’s milk dulce de leche and Julia Child’s famous crepe recipes with a little bit of pistachios and you have Crepa de Cajeta. Good isn’t a big enough word to describe this dessert. All I can say on this one is that you just have to try it!
|Crepas de Cajeta|
This whole experience was fun and exciting and I learned so many things which I will never forget such as:
- Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day. It is a celebration of the battle of Puebla.
- Mexican Independence Day (El Grito de la Independencia) is actually September 16th
- There is no such thing as a guacamole bowl! The proper name is mortar or molcalete.
- You can meet new friends at a cooking class and Keep up with the Kardashians!
- You can find good Mexican food in New York City
To sum it all up, you can now have big Mexican fiestas twice a year instead of just on the 5th of May! You must stop by one of the four (4) locations in New York City. There are also locations in Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale and the most recent one opened in Atlantic City. Bring out the tequila!
Epicurean Girl’s Conclusion: 5VIPs
Dos Caminos gets our highest rating of 5 VIPs.