Guac Bowl 2013: Another year of this thing.

We did it! Again!

First, as always: check out those pictures.

Now, the winners:


1st place: “Guacton Abbey” by Caitie Anderson.
It’s not often in this modern era of Guac Bowl that the Best Presentation trophy doesn’t go to the biggest or gaudiest entry, but rather a classy, detailed one. But Caitie’s “Guacton Abbey” had the regal details that would impress even Carson the Butler: a silver tea set (with actual hot tea); savory avocado cheese scones; lemon avocado poppyseed cake, and the piece de resistance, extra lemon avocado frosting. Like the simmering romance of Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley, this guac had it all: drama, passion, and the enduring allure of old-fashioned beauty meeting modern sensibilities.

2nd place: “Bubble Guac Gumballs” by Adam Pava.
This year, I attempted to make actual gumballs that included all the ingredients of guac, and serve them in a working gumball machine. I say “attempted” for a reason. It was a spectacular failure in every way, which I’ll detail below in the Icarus Award section. (Spoiler!)

3rd place (tie): “Could Be A Guac-Head” by Brandon Oropallo.
Our largest entry this year was Brandon’s take on the viral YouTube video of rural folks who think they spotted a leprechaun — or “could be a crackhead!” (If you haven’t seen it: The presentation was complete with a leprechaun doll in a tree, the infamous amateur sketch, and a rainbow of colored mashed-potato guac that lead to a pot of gold. Alas, like the folks in the video, gold eluded Brandon this year.

3rd place (tie): “Antoine Guacson” by Kat Grant.
Wow, there were two YouTube-themed entries, and they tied! Maybe they cancelled each other out? This one was based on the viral video of Antoine Dodson telling a news reporter to “hide yo kids, hide yo wife!” — changed here to “hide your chips, hide your guac,” naturally. (If you haven’t seen the video: Kat’s entry came complete with a smartphone that played the song, and a printout of new lyrics so you could sing along while you ate your guac.


1st place: “Tater Guacs” by Matt and Maurissa O’Connell.
I don’t know how they did it, and I don’t want to know. All I know is, somehow, Matt and Maurissa found a way to put real guac inside homemade tater tots, and make them taste good — science be damned. They even included a dippin’ sauce of avocado-infused ranch dressing. It was the retro taste of a school cafeteria lunch, Guac Bowl style. Brilliant.

2nd place: “Guacton Abbey” by Caitie Anderson.
Not only did Caitie’s Downton Abbey-inspired entry win for Presentation, but it placed in a taste category as well — a rare feat. Like young Daisy under Mrs. Patmore’s watchful eye, Caitie baked a high tea worthy of the Earl of Guacham.

3rd place: “Guac Bowls” by Steve Tavernia.
Steve is the master of the burger, so it makes sense that he finally attempted a burger-guac. These little bowls made out of Tostitos Scoops were filled with guac, a meatball, melted cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. They were undoubtedly delicious, but as Steve himself even admitted, maybe the guac itself wasn’t prominent enough. But don’t worry, he redeemed himself with…


1st place: “Guacin’ On The Sun” by Steve Tavernia.
That’s right — Steve submitted two entries, and placed with both! That might be a first, but I’m too lazy to look it up. His traditional guac was a sweet and tangy concoction that included sun dried tomatoes, banana peppers and Vidalia onions — all technically-traditional ingredients with a spin. As with his BBQs, Steve had a team of suez chefs and helpers, including Brandi, Priscilla, Harrison, and Gary on artwork.

2nd place: “NHL Guacout” by Julie Halton.
In the second year in a row, Julie has come in second place for Traditional Guac — and in a cruel twist of fate, this year she lost by one vote! What a squeaker! I would feel bad for her, but Julie took the trophy in this category in 2010. Still, it’s pretty impressive to place in three out of four years. The only year she didn’t is when she entered an Alternative Guac instead, with Lady GuacGuac in a meat suit.

3rd place: “Guac Me, Amadeus” by Maggie Flynn and Ian Nyeste.
This one had a great pun that hadn’t been used before (which is so hard to come by). And it recalled memories for those of us at Maggie and Ian’s wedding a few months ago, where this song played for ten hours straight (or maybe it was ten minutes). As far as the guacamole goes, it was made with roasted veggies, which their sign claimed made the guac darker in color. Sure.


1st place: “Bubble Guac Gumballs” by Adam Pava.
Okay, I swear I wasn’t trying to win the Icarus Award — I really thought these could be great if I pulled it off. Unfortunately, I discovered that it’s really hard to make gumballs. I found “gum base” online and added all the ingredients of guac (in powdered form), but it turns out that doesn’t mask the natural bad flavor as much as, say, artificial candy flavoring. Then, I tried twice to make the hard shell coating, but the first time it didn’t stick on, and the second time it was so hard that I almost cracked a tooth, so I had to throw that batch out. So I gave up on the candy shell. All in all, I made 100 gumballs… and when I put them in the machine, you could barely see them at the bottom! So I had to fill it with balloons. And finally, there was the issue of the machine itself, which kept getting gum pieces stuck in the gears, so many people couldn’t even get them out. To top it off, Brandon rightly pointed out that even the naming of my entry was a failure: It should have been called “Guac-GUM-ole.” I’m an idiot for not thinking of that. What I’m saying is, I’m glad there’s an Icarus Award for entries like these. I humbly accept.

2nd place: “Johann Sebastian Guac” by Steve Shoffner.
Steve sculpted a bust of J.S. Bach out of foam and wood, and slathered it in guac. I’m a sucker for these kind of entries, which go more for comedy than taste or, uh, actual eatability. Unfortunately, it arrived a little late in the day to get a lot of attention. In any case, good to see Shoffner back in competition — the last time he won was six years ago, with his guac ice cream.

3rd place: “Guacolate 2: The Sequel” by Bill and Robin Desowitz.
In a brazen move that is worthy of the Icarus Award, my second cousins returned with the same chocolate guac recipe as last year. This time, it was served in the avocado shell — but since the guac was the same inky black color as the shell, the whole thing looked dark and ominous.


  • Every year, there is some recurring theme that emerges in the new entries. (Last year, I wrote about the glut of dessert guacs, other years have seen competing frozen guacs, booze guacs, etc.) This year, it was BAKED GOODS. We had four pastry guac-coctions: Jim Sutherland’s “Guaclate Chip Cookies,” Angela Park’s “Guacamuffins,” Matt and Marta Knudsen’s “Chef Corndog’s Mini Guac Cakes,” and Caitie Anderson’s “Guacton Abbey” which included two types of baked guac goodness: scones and cake. Maybe it was something in the air. Like flour.
  • We also had two entries that had no guac to actually eat: Kenny Byerly and Stephanie Woo dressed up their newborn baby, Veronica, as “Veronicado” (complete with knit cap that looked like the avocado’s stem). So adorable you could just eat her right up — but we weren’t allowed to. Secondly, Alex and Susan Berger brought “Manti Te’o’s Guac Recipe” which was — hilariously — nonexistent, just like Manti’s made up girlfriend. Delicious… as a concept.
  • I want to give a special shout out to Si O Si, the Mexico-based company that provided me with some freeze-dried guac, for free! In my quest to find the ingredients of guac in powdered form for my gumballs, I came across their website ( and decided I had to try it. I emailed them and got a response from their CEO, Geronimo Villanueva, who was happy to send me some. When I tried the product out, I thought it was so cool that I had to share it with the Guac Bowl crowd. So I made an entry (not in competition) called “Freeze-Dried Guac for a Post-Aguacapyptic World,” so everyone could experience the joy of “just add water guac” for themselves. Thanks, Geronimo and everyone at Si O Si!
  • Other entries that deserve a shout out: “Marriage Guac-ality” by my sister Michelle and her fiancé John — first time making the trip down from San Francisco to attend!; “Guacet Full of Sunshine,” by Kara Oropallo, which had jeans pockets stuffed with the green stuff, and a speaker that played the annoying title song over and over (which is turning into a Kara signature); And finally, “Are You There, Guac? It’s Me, Margaret” by Tara Sands, based on everyone’s favorite childhood Judy Bloom book about puberty. There are lots more guacs too, all pictured and captioned on the Photo page.
  • Overall, we used 190 avocados this year. That’s way up from last year’s 118, and about on par with what it was the year before that. So I guess the recession is officially over. Time to buy!

Thanks for another guactastic year, friends! We’ve been doing it for over a dozen years now, and I’m always impressed with everyone’s endless creativity.