California Avocados and Too Hot Tamales


The Too Hot Tamales, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken have been shaping the American culinary landscape for over 25 yrs with nearly 400 episodes of Food Networks “Too Hot Tamales” and more locally in LA with their restaurants, Border Grill and Ciudad.  We were luckily invited and jumped at the opportunity to attend a cooking demonstration with Susan and Mary Sue using California avocados hosted by the California Avocado Commission.


To honor Susan’s recent successes on Top Chef Masters, Susan and Mary Sue surprised everyone with “Quick Fire Challenge” to create our own unique guacamole recipe in 4 minutes using a wide range of ingredients. We had to pair up in teams of two so naturally we paired up as a team. We decided to be adventurous and make a Vietnamese inspired guacamole using basil, mint…and instead of salt we used fish sauce!   It was really fun to be put on the spot like this and an honor to explain our creation to the two chefs. In the end, the winning guac was from Good Food’s Harriet Ellis and Lindsey William-Ross of  LAist with their baked potato and bacon inspired guacamole.

avocado taco

The effervescent Susan and Mary Sue then did a cooking demo recreating our lunch menu starting with a crispy avocado taco.  Who knew that avocado can be breaded and fried? This was really a revelation with the crispy quinoa and sesame crusted avocado and delicious corn relish.

avocado salad

The next course of of California Avocado, bacon, and tomato salad was a sure hit.  Avocado and bacon goes so well together with the rich creamy texture and smokey and salty bacon.  But the fried capers in this salad really stole the show. Definitely an easy to make recipe at home.


Next came the Chicken and California Avocado Skillet Chilaquiles.  An inspired variation of a one pan nacho, this is one of those comfort dishes that is perfect for left over tortilla chips on Cinco de Mayo.

alvacado licuado

Finally they made two desserts, an avocado and orange licuado with lavender cookies and  avocado with mango, yogurt, honey, and lime. The fruit salad was perfectly balanced and healthy. The shot of licuado, a mexican style milk shake was pure refreshment. We can see us drinking this all day in the hot California fact, we just made it and will be posting the recipe for Cinco de Mayo next week, so stay tuned!

Thank you, Susan and Mary Sue for all the great cooking tips and a great time!  Get more recipes and inspiration for Cinco De Mayo at the California Avocado Commission website.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe and
  Pin It

10 Responses to “California Avocados and Too Hot Tamales”

  1. 1

    food je t'aime — April 28, 2010 @ 8:30 am

    Looks like so much fun! I always get the crispy avocado taco when the Border Grill truck comes on campus. It's so tasty!

  2. 2

    Ravenous Couple — April 28, 2010 @ 8:36 am

    food je t'aime–they were so funny and work so well together!

  3. 3

    tigerfish — April 28, 2010 @ 9:44 am

    I am a late avocado convert and still learning to embrace this fruit. Maybe I need more exposure to food and cuisine that incorporate avocado as the ingredient. The only ones I know right now, are guacamole and in salads/soups.

  4. 4

    triplescoopdesserts — April 28, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

    Nice going with the Vietnamese inspired guacamole. I give you guys an 'A' for effort and originality.

  5. 5

    Tsz — April 28, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

    I'm not a fan of avocados but these dishes look mouthwatering…

    When the avocado is fried, cause it become liquidly?

  6. 6

    Ravenous Couple — April 28, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

    tigerfish and Tse: we learned avocados are really can even grill them! The fried ones were battered to keep it intact and have a nice crust.

    bao: yes, we went for the exotic flavors, but bacon always wins! 🙂

  7. 7

    Jenn — April 28, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

    Nice!!! An event for the avocado. I wish I could have been there. I want to try making that crispy avocado taco. That's so cool!!

  8. 8

    krissy @ — May 1, 2010 @ 3:21 am

    what a fun event to attend! speaking of avocados, we have a lot from our neighbor's tree so we've been meaning to give you guys some. stop by this weekend if you'd like! miss you, kim!!!

  9. 9

    Nomsnotbombs — May 4, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    How fun!! I, too, am a late avocado convert and am so glad that I came around. Boy, was I missing out!

  10. 10

    Table Talk — May 11, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

    I will be working with Susan and Mary Sue on a charity event next fall–can't wait to meet them.
    The crispy avocado tacos sound amazing!

Leave a Comment