Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011
The new dish to try downtown is at Guamas. Its Cuban nachos are new in every way.
|Photo by Robin May|
Guamas was one of the only Latin restaurants in Lafayette when married owners Julieta Tarazona and Rueben Mesa opened the original location off St. Mary Street near campus. It makes nine years this April that Guamas moved to its downtown location at 302 Jefferson St. tantalizing the uninitiated and the regulars alike in South American and Cuban cuisine.
It’s got a terrific menu, but you have to try the new Cuban nachos, which are unlike anything else being served anywhere. First, plantains are sliced and fried in a cup-like mold. This is an ideal use for plantains because they are firmer and have a much lower sugar content than their cousin, the banana. Plantains aren’t eaten raw as often as they are used in cooking. Guamas has long had fried plantains on the menu but never in a dish like this.
The cups are then filled with a picadillo, a Latin way to cook ground beef; think of it as the Latin form of hash and it changes region by region. It’s almost always used as a filling in something like tacos or tortillas and often it has potatoes, although not in Guamas’ recipe. The Cuban version is usually flavored with cumin, garlic and onions and can have a bit of stock of tomatoes thrown in. It is slowly sauteéd down with its spices to form hearty, flavorful morsels.
The picadillo then fills the cups and is topped with diced bites of tomatoes and red onions with Guamas’ own version of a garlic-laced sour cream tossed in to make the picadillo even tastier. Despite all of that, this is not a heavy meal. A serving comes with four of these plantain cups, and while four certainly make a meal, two very hungry people could split it and still have appetite enough to order entrees. You can ask Guamas to 86 either the tomato or red onion, but as someone who hates raw tomatoes, even I liked having the sweet ripe nips of that fruit in the dish. Each cup is garnished with cilantro, which of course if you are a cilantrophobe, like even the great Julia Child was, you can ask that to remain off, too.
How did this come to be on the menu? Turns out owner Mesa has been keeping it in the family. “I think Rueben has always made them for the family and we make fun [of him] because we say they taste like nachos,” says Tarazona. When eating at other restaurants and noticing the deep fusion trend, which by now isn’t so much a trend as it is a reflection of our global times and influences, the couple realized this dish reflected that notion. “We don’t want to take the name nachos out of the Mexican culture, but it’s an American name for the dish. The difference is that instead of corn, we use plantains.” The dish’s name is in honor of Mesa, who is Cuban.
This dish is so new it has yet to make it onto the official, printed menu, although you can ask for it.
Guamas is slowly revamping its menu. “We’ll introduce more new dishes, little by little,” Tarazona says. Frequent customers can expect their favorites to remain on the menu while new edible ideas are introduced. The Cuban nachos have yet to get a set price, but it will definitely be under $10. Try them out next time you are at a function downtown, and don’t forget to order Guamas’ amazing coffee with its tres leche for dessert.
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative
Lafayette-based emergency department staffing and management company raises $120 million in senior credit facilities through GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services.
High-rise apartment building, parking garage, hotel and retail part of new development.
A common thread runs through many of those we oppose: Enshrining in the Constitution protections on programs and their funding sources has had a disastrous effect on Louisiana’s most important economic development engine.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
The number of Louisianans with jobs continued to set records in September, but the state's unemployment rate kept rising as new job seekers keep entering the market.
Three bedroom cottage or three bedroom ranch
Sheer lace perfection
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Oscar de la Renta dies; Pistorius sentenced; World Series begins and more national and international news for Tuesday, October 21, 2014.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
Three bedroom in Lawtell or two bedroom in Rayne
Fall's new darling
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
An investment group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets will buy the Louisiana power company Cleco for $3.4 billion.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
"I feel it is appropriate to speak up when there are topics that are being bandied about with little or no factual data to back them."
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.