Custom-Designed Guac and Salsa at Salsamole Station

Gourmet Girl - July 26, 2015

Buffalo Thunder's new Salsamole Station serves it up your way. Read more. . .

Guacamole made national headlines recently when The New York Times ran a recipe that included English peas. Many people were outraged, including President Obama, who tweeted “respect the nyt, but not buying peas in guac. onions, garlic, hot peppers.”

NYT writer Melissa Clark pointed out that peas "add intense sweetness and a chunky texture to the dip, making it more substantial on the chip.” And despite the controversy, many diners evidently agree because peas are one of the 20-some ingredients available at the new Salsamole Station at Buffalo Thunder Resort's Iguana Café, an “interactive, chef-led culinary experience” where you can watch the restaurant's salsamole masters create custom-blended guacamole and salsa, based on your particular flavor, spice and heat preferences.

Whether you crave the earthy, mild flavor of chipotle or the off-the-chart heat of the ghost chili, you'll be wowed by the endless combinations of flavor served up by trained salsamole masters, along with housemade tortilla chips.

Guacamole, which dates back to the Aztecs in the 16th century, takes it name from the Aztec word nahuatl, which translates as “avocado sauce." In the U.S., guacamole is popular, especially during Cinco de Mayo and Superbowl Sunday, when some 30 millions pounds of avocado are sold. Adan Almanza, one of the station's salsamole masters, grew up eating fresh guacamole and salsa and has been making guac since he was 10 years old. His secret to preparing delicious guacamole is using the freshest ingredients, and he's happy to share with you facts and tidbits about each of the ingredients you choose to include.

Margaritas are the perfect drink to pair with guac and salsa. At the Iguana Cantina, located inside the cafe, you can choose from more than 20 varieties, created by Buffalo Thunder'sExecutive Chef Thomas Hartwell, who studied the fine art of food and tequila pairing in Mexico. It helps to know, for example, that oak-aged tequilas are not so sweet, so they pair well with spicier foods.Hartwell's libations include Iggy Iguana’s Favorite Margarita made with Sauza Blue Reposado Agave Tequila, Triple-Sec and fresh citrus, and the Buffalo Thunder Margarita, made with Patron“Buffalo Thunder” Reposado Tequila, a unique, 100-percent agave tequila served only at Iguana Café.

His own favorite tequila is Gran Centenario. “It's the most enjoyable tequila I've ever had. I've tried a lot of tequila and found this to be the most friendly because it works well as as sipping liqueur and also in margaritas. You can drink it straight and neat without anything or you can mix it.”

Hartwell has a harder time choosing his favorite salsa. “It depends on my mood,” he explains. “Sometimes I like a sweeter salsa, like our salsa fresca, depending on what I'm having for dinner, and sometimes I want it a little heavier and spicy. But we have three base salsas right now at the station—hot, spicy and mild.”

Hartwell says that to his knowledge, the Salsamole Station at Iguana Café is the first salsa bar where you can walk right up and order a custom-made guacamole or salsa. But there's much more on the menu than just guac and salsa. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, featuring Mexican and New Mexican-inspired foods, including Mole de Pollo and Enchiladas Suizas to Tacos al Pastor and Pescado Sarandeado (chipotle-rubbed grilled red snapper with sour cream and guac.) You'll also find an array of other favorites, including BBQ Pulled Pork, Mac & Five Cheeses,Seared Salmon and Bistro Steak, and spectacular desserts, including flan and tres leches.

Here are a few recipes from the IguanaCafé that you can make in your own kitchen. Or, order your custom-designed guac and salsa to go from Salsamole Station.

Guacamole (Serves 2)

2 avocados, peeled
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon jalapeno, chopped
Juice of ½ lime
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic, diced
1 teaspoon cilantro, diced

Mash avocados in a bowl and mix in remaining ingredients. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

"Tequila Makes her Clothes Fall Off" Margarita (Serves 1)

1 lime
Kosher salt
¾ ounce passion fruit puree
½ ounce blood orange puree
3 ounces fresh citrus sour mix
Ice cubes
2 ounces Patron Silver Tequila
1 ounce X-Rated Fusion Liquor

Rub the rim of a glass with lime and roll rim of glass in salt Shake the remaining ingredients in a cocktail mixer, pour into glass with ice cubes and enjoy.