Bacon + Guacamole = Contemplation

Avocado has always been my choice for nature’s perfect food. The egg comes second because of the political issues, since the egg-shaped fruit can be eaten with no guilt by even the most abstemious conscientious objectors. With avocado you get almost everything you need in one alligator skin. All that good fat just goes better with more fat, though: I could make a lunch out of half a Hass and a little Hellmann’s. So I wonder why it never occurred to me to add bacon to my guacamole, as Empellon Cocina in the East Village does as one option (the other being pistachios). This really is a sublime combination. But it would have struck me as just another “everything goes better with bacon” notion if not for the presentation. The guacamole comes with a creamy black pepper salsa that almost tastes of bacon itself and, instead of tortilla chips, masa crisps: matzo-size flats of crunchy nitxtamalized corn. It was easily the most cerebral guacamole I’ve ever encountered. Instead of just greedily dragging a chip through the guacamole and Hoovering, you have to break off a chunk of the crisp and spatula a little of the avocado mash onto it, getting just enough of the bacon and pea-shoot garnish, then tiny-spoon a bit of the salsa on top. And then you eat it as the flavors and textures cascade over your taste receptors. Part of the reason we eat out is to get ideas for making better food at home. And bacon would gild the guacamole. Since we have more and more meat-shunning friends, though, I’ll also say the other lesson from our brunch was that you really need to start with great guacamole. Empellon’s recipe is here. Sub the bacon for the nuts.

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