The 2016 Guac Block: When Avocados are in Short Supply
by Sara Deseran under Uncategorized with No Comments
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Tacolicious bartender Wayne Baker had to break the news—and there was no way to do it gently. “My customers were like, “What?!” he says, shrieking slightly for effect, recalling the moment he had to tell his first customer on Tuesday that we were out of guac for the moment. “In fact, one guy came in that day just for the guacamole.” Wayne tried to help. “I was like, you want a shot or something?” He didn’t.
Like most every Mexican restaurant, we are seriously Haas-dependent at Tacolicious. On top of guacamole, we use the buttery avocados in our Marina Girl salad, our shrimp cocktail, our avocado-tomatillo salsa, and on our tuna tostadas. But you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. Sing it Joni.
As of this month, the avocado supply has been held back in Mexico (which, btw, supplies the US with about eight times the number of avocados as California). Because of this, prices are doubling—even tripling. Though our hope is to keep our menu prices steady, a 24-pound case of avocados that normally costs us around $49 now sets us back $120. The short supply has also meant that our avocados, which normally arrive already ripe and ready to go, have been delivered to us as hard as a rock.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. In the kitchen of our Mission District location, chef John Martin has all sorts of avocado ripening experiments in process. Avocados are being ripened in huge black plastic bags. They’re even being wrapped individually in foil and baked for 10 minutes in a 200 degree oven, which surprisingly yields a mashable avocado, but one with a rather lean, fresh flavor.
Yesterday, I had to send out an all-company email to our staff explaining that, until Guacageddon is over, our guacamole will not always be available. It’s moments like these when national politics and world crises come into perspective and you realize what truly matters.
Dalynn May, an SF-based psychotherapist and a Tacolicious regular, was equally shocked when she heard the news. “I’m in denial,” said, in a vague state of shock, noting that this is the first of the five stages of grief. But of course May understands that healing takes time. “You need to process your feelings about guacamole,” she advised. As for coping mechanisms? “Talk to a friend. Get a taco without avocado in it. Have a margarita. Go on a run.”
While there is no one who can tell us when avocados will start crossing the border like they used to, there is hope. Like methadone for guac withdrawal, Wayne has found that queso—equally creamy, addictive, and chip-friendly—is in demand. “With guacamole off the menu, I’ve sold a lot of that, instead.”
To know whether or not our guac is back, feel free to call our hot line at 415-649-6077. We are here for you.