Guac Bowl ’09 recap and pics!

What a Guac Bowl! It was easily our most crowded year. I’m either going to have to get a bigger house, or fewer awesome friends.

First, what you’ve all been waiting for: the pictures. (As a few people noticed, I was scooped by the LA Times, which also put pictures on their website, as a follow up to Saturday’s story. Nuts, huh?!)

And now… the winners:


1st place: Adam Pava, “Ms. Guac-Man” (pictured)
2nd place: Robert Saccenti, “He’s No Guac To Me Dead” (aka Guac Solo)
3rd place: Angela Park, “Hot Guacets”


1st place: Christine Landry, “Guac Paper Scissors”
2nd place: Whitney Friedlander, “Chunky Chinos Real Mexican Guacamole”
3rd place: Dave Allen and Lauren Edson, “OMFG (Oh My F***ing Guac)”


1st place: Craig Anderson, “Fried Guac”
2nd place: Mike and Meghann Barloewen, “Willy Wonka and the Guacolate Factory”
3rd place: Martina Papinchak, “Gnocchi-mole”


1st place: Michael Zimmer, “We’re Here, We’re Gueer, Get Used To It”

2nd place: Robert Saccenti, “He’s No Guac To Me Dead” (aka Guac Solo)

3rd place: Kara Ulseth, “Guac Dogs”

Other highlights:

  • 243 avocados were used this year, up 18.5 avocados from last year – a new record!
  • It’s hard not to notice how the Best Tasting Alternative Guac category has evolved over the years. What used to be a category for throwing some random crap into guac and hoping it was good (pop rocks, candy canes, various fruits, etc.), it has turned into a bona fide cooking competition worthy of the Food Network. This year we had: Craig Anderson’s “Fried Guac” (which had to be frozen first in order to apply the batter); Zach Leland’s “Southwestern Caviar Service” (which used crazy molecular science to make the caviar-sized dots of salsa); Angela Park’s “Hot Guacets” (which went through various incarnations to get just the right flaky crust); Martina Papinchak’s “Gnocchi-mole” (which had two types of gnocchi and had its own sterno-heated buffet tray); Matt Waynee’s “Avocado Pudding Guac” (which almost froze during the pre-game when Waynee couldn’t find fridge space so used my freezer); and more.
  • This year, we had two drinkable, alcoholic guacs, covering both ends of the “deliciousness spectrum,” as it were: Zimmer’s guacamole beer, “We’re Here, We’re Gueer, Get Used To It,” which deservedly won the Icarus Award, and Brandon’s “Guacastoli,” which was a strong contender for Best Alternative (coming in fourth place). Zimmer guarded his Gueer-making techniques closely and wouldn’t divulge his secrets, but we all know beer takes months to brew. And Brandon also started Guacastoli long ago, soaking the guac vegetables in the vodka for weeks. So while we were all sitting on our butts, celebrating the holidays with our families, these guys were working on their guac entries… and that’s priorities I admire.
  • Speaking of multiple entries, we also had two “Slumdog Millionaire”-themed guacs, each featuring a different Indian ingredient. “Slumguac Millionaire,” by Namita Gera, had curry, and “Slumdog Masala Guac” by Krupali Tejura, had (as the name implies) masala. Both were surprisingly good, and made me wonder why Indian food doesn’t feature more avocado. So I googled it, found this article on avocado production in India, and immediately became bored.
  • As always, latecomers got the short end of the stick in terms of table placement and attention. But there are a few late entries that were amazing and deserve to be recognized: Steve Tavernia’s “Lego My Guaffle” was being made in a waffle-maker in the kitchen then shuttled out to his lonely Lego presentation in the entry hall, the only place there was room. Marta Knudsen’s “Guac Lobster” was a breathtaking lobster made out of red bell peppers and other veggies, with handmade wontons in the shape of claws. Both really creative entries that coulda’ been contenders. I say it every year, people — I can only cram so many tables into my dining room and living room, so make sure you get there early to get good placement!
  • The video conferencing with Guac Bowl East was a huge success, despite the fact that we couldn’t hear each other over the din of the crowds. But people made lots of funny faces at each other, so that totally justifies the technology.

Overall, an amazing Guac Bowl. Stay tuned to the blog in the coming days for Guac Bowl East pictures and recap, and some (hopefully) amazing pictures by a real… professional… photographer! From New York!