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.
Mike Harson's coffers show the advantage of incumbency.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will vote on an ordinance for final adoption Tuesday that, if approved, would give the city the green light to take over a stretch of Verot School Road from the state Department of Transportation and Development.
The Louisiana Association of Educators filed a lawsuit challenging the $60 million in spending through Louisiana's public school financing formula.
He's been out of office for nearly a decade, but former U.S. Sen. John Breaux is back on the campaign trail, urging voters to support his one-time colleague, Democrat Mary Landrieu.
The unresolved fate of the ashes left behind after Ebola waste was destroyed in Texas highlights the problem U.S. hospitals and communities could face in disposing of their own waste.
Lafayette manufactured home or Scott two bedroom home
Cajun fan fierce
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
While much of the talk was about whether New Orleans could win a big game — or any game, for that matter — on the road, the conversation in the Saints' locker room was about something completely different.
State health officials told thousands of doctors planning to attend a tropical diseases meeting this weekend in New Orleans to stay away if they have been to certain African countries or have had contact with an Ebola patient in the last 21 days.
Republicans are calling on Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu to apologize after she suggested Thursday that President Barack Obama's deep unpopularity in the South is partly tied to race.
Compared to the rest of the country, Lafayette has it pretty good when it comes to the cost and speed of our Internet.
Hello Kitty turns 40; police ambush suspect caught; Knicks surprise Cavs and more national and international news for Friday, October 31, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider on Tuesday a revised plan to the transform a block in Downtown Lafayette into a mixed-use residential-retail-commercial development that doesn’t include giving title to the property to the Lafayette Public Trust Finance Authority, an arrangement the council rejected earlier this month.
Trying to combat the national undertones of Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is traveling the state this week on a sort of pork celebration tour, telling voters about the projects and aid she's delivered to Louisiana.
Ever thought that big, pink Gulf coast shrimp you ordered at the restaurant or bought from the store didn't taste juicy or salty enough? Maybe it wasn't from the Gulf.
The state treasurer won't sign financial documents needed for $200 million in borrowing or for a refinancing of existing debt until he believes they accurately explain the surplus disagreement.
Homecoming outfits with ease
Acadian style home in St. Martinville or traditional Breaux Bridge home
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Bill Cassidy voted for 97 percent of the bills signed by Barack Obama.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on her campaign bus tour.
A New Iberia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a 4-year-old girl and scalding her 3-year-old brother.
A district judge decided Wednesday against sanctioning attorney/school board candidate Dawn Morris for her behind-the-scenes role in a lawsuit against Mark Cockerham.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration may have improperly destroyed records in the state employee health insurance program, in the middle of a heavily-criticized rewrite of benefit plans.
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
Louisiana officials have sent a letter to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene un-inviting members of the group who have recently been to ebola-affected West African countries from attending the group’s annual conference in New Orleans next week.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have to find a way to win on the road if they plan to take over first place in the NFC South.
"It is obvious that Louisiana economic performance has not outperformed the South or the United States as a whole and, in fact, has substantially underperformed..."