Food ‘n Flix: Part One for Spinning Plates, a simple guacamole

April’s Food ‘n Flix film is Spinning Plates hosted by Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  It’s been awhile since the club has featured a documentary.  Spinning Plates has been in my movie queue for some time and I’m glad Camilla gave me the excuse to watch it.  The film follows three separate restaurants and the lives that comprise them.   (You can read Camilla’s announcement post here.)One is a Michelin three-star affair, one is a buffet-style family favorite, and one is a struggling restaurant.  The human drama behind all three will leave you spellbound.

I decided to break up my posts and do a recipe inspired by all three.  Today’s is an homage to La Cocina de Gabby, a small, fledgling restaurant in Tucson.   It’s a true family affair and a dream for the family involved.  The husband, Francisco, sees the restaurant as an adventure and a blessing as well as a way to provide for his family and showcase his wife’s cooking.  As far as Gabby is concerned, it’s a dream as well:  “Passion goes into my cooking.” She is cooking her mother’s food (and her mother’s mother’s recipes.)  It’s her childhood and she wants to pass it along to her own young child who is literally growing up in the restaurant.

The food looks authentic but the crowds are not there to enjoy it.  It’s a struggle for the restaurant and the family.

The featured restaurants could not be more different but La Cocina de Gabby is the one that pulls at your heart strings.

I had a special meal planned for Easter weekend, Tacos al Pastor (which I will feature later) and I wanted an appetizer to go along with it.  Guacamole spoke to me.  I also wanted this post to do double-duty with I Heart Cooking Clubs  as they celebrate Spring.   Nothing means more to me than grilling and hanging out on the patio.  We did that yesterday, working all day in the yard and garden and then chilling and grilling on the patio.  The guacamole gave use enough sustenance to finish the evening strong.


Simple (and Quick) Guacamole

Rick Bayless


  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 serrano, seeded and chopped
  • 3 avocados, preferably the black-skinned Hass
  • 2 T.  cilantro
  • 1 small white onion (fresh knob onion—green tops still on—is best), finely chopped (I used one bunch of green onions.)
  • Salt
  • 2 T.  fresh lime juice
  • crumbled Mexican fresh cheese (queso fresco)
  • sliced radish or two for garnish


  1. Finely chop the garlic and green chiles, and scoop them into a bowl.
  2. One at a time, run a knife down through each avocado, starting at the top, until you reach the pit; continue cutting around the pit until you reach the point you started.
  3. Twist the two halves of the avocado apart. Remove the pit and discard. Scoop the flesh into the bowl with the chiles and garlic. Mash coarsely with the back of a spoon or an old-fashioned potato masher.
  4. Add the cilantro and onion, stir to combine, then taste. Season with salt (usually about a teaspoon) and lime juice. Scoop into a serving dish and garnish with cheese and radishes.

Yield: 6-8

La Cocina de Gabby is probably the humblest of restaurants but the one with the most heart.   Here’s Francisco and his young daughter.

From Spinning Plates website.

His only goal is to make a life for her (and to showcase his wife’s angelic cooking).

I have two more recipes to highlight Alinea and Breitbach’s Country Dining, the other two restaurants featured in Spinning Plates.

I Heart Cooking Clubs theme for this week is April Showers.  There’s no featured chef for this round but we can choose from the nineteen previously featured ones.  Rick Bayless happens to be one of them.

Happy Easter to you all!  I hope you are spending it around a food laden table!

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