Nowadays, the tab at that restaurant is over $70! And we can't eat nearly as much. Why is it that you can eat less as you age? That, along with the complications three young children bring, means that we have our Mexican at home more often than not.
My guacamole is very simple. Just avocado, salt, minced onion, coriander, Frank's hot sauce and the secret ingredient. I discovered it once when I mistook it for coriander - it is ground cloves! Just the slightest pinch. I know it sounds improbable, and traditionalists will scoff, but everyone loves it and asks "what's different?" And please, no lime juice!
The refried beans also have an unusual ingredient - cinnamon. This recipe comes from "the Best of Jenny's Kitchen." Jenny writes that these are the best refried beans she has ever eaten, and I have to agree. This book is ancient and I'm sure out of print, so I feel safe in offering the recipe, with full credit to Jenny, of course!
1 1/2 c dried pinto beans
5-6 c water
1 1/2 onions
1/4 c olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1/4 c diced mild green chilies
2 T lemon juice
2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
Cook beans with water and 1/2 chopped onion until tender, 2 1/2 - 3 hours. When beans are tender, heat olive oil in a large sillet. Chop the remaining onion and saute with the garlic until golden. Add tomatoes, peppers, lemon juice, salt and spices. Begin adding beans, a cup at a time, and mash, adding liquid as necessary. Cook over very low heat until very thick, an hour or more.