Peace Meals at Cafe Annie

Peace Meals at Cafe Annie

Katherine and Mollie, both members of The Junior League of Houston, join their leaguers at Houston's Cafe Annie to learn the basics of Chef Robert Del Grande's margarita and guacamole.

Y'all know that Mollie of Fit.Fab.FODMAP and I have more in common than simply our love of cooking and following the low-FODMAP diet plan...we are both in The Junior League of Houston, and had been for years before meeting one another. The Jr. League has so many wonderful opportunities from voluntarism to friendship to learning. The latest educational session was an off-campus visit to Cafe Annie in Houston's Uptown area. Here, Chef Robert Del Grande walked us through his pillars of margarita mixing and guacamole mole-ing.

Chef Robert Del Grande's Ginger Margarita recipe cna be found in Peace Meals: A Book of Recipes for Cooking and Connecting (2008, The Junior League of Houston).


Margarita Lessons

A good margarita, per Chef Robert, has three basic qualities:

  1. 2 parts tequila
  2. 1 part Cointreau or triple sec
  3. Up to 2 parts lime juice

To make a margarita worthy of the title "My Famous Margarita," it must include a little something that exudes the personality of the creator. So, for example, for me, that would be a fresh, fruit flavor, such as pureed strawberry juice. For my Uncle Jaime, the king of margaritas, that would be a green olive and a splash of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Chef Robert's secret to a great margarita: shake it with a full container of ice. You should end up with three times the liquid that you started with when properly shaken. Shaking allows the alcohol and lime juice to meld together into one, gloriously flavored, chilled being. Post-shaking, pour liquid over ice into a small glass.

Guacamole Lessons

Chef Robert Del Grande advises to always start with a ripened avocado, key word being ripened. Peel the avocado skin away from the flesh by cutting the fruit into two halves and then nipping the skin of each half by about one half inch using a knife and peeling skin back with your hand. This removal method will result in pristine flesh without a blemish.

As a mole purist and as a 50% Chilena, I disagree 100% with Chef Robert on the proper ingredients for guacamole. I cannot at this time speak/write of the atrocities to the holy avocado that I witnessed at Cafe Annie this week. I need to recover. One day I will share with you my Grandma Sylvia's Gold Standard Guacamole recipe. Just know, it will be awesome. It will be pure. It will be mole.

Venue

The new Cafe Annie looks just lovely. There are beautiful chandeliers, large paintings, and lighted globes in random spots to catch your wandering eyes. The views are gorgeous through the large picture windows on the second level, the main dining level. And the patrons, well, they are dressed to the nines in Texas urban evening attire...a dream for people-watchers anonymous.

We did not dine here, as our meeting was more of a lecture with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. What we did experience was excellent service from start to finish. The valet, the hostess, and the cocktail servers were all very attentive and polite.

Mollie and I did not sample any of the cocktail fare, as it did not comply with our respective food issues. Note to fine establishments: please serve a few hors d'oeuvres with sauces on the side for your food-sensitive guests. Sadly, I wished that I had been able to try the margarita, as it had a lovely light amber hue that was intriguing...and the other ladies seemed to have their moods instantly elevated by this summery concoction.

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