By Chefs Kim and Edgar Alvarez
Summer is the time to celebrate—good friends, a good life, health, and happiness. At Avenida, we know how good we have it and appreciate our good fortune each and every day.
Now that the nights are balmy, our outdoor patio is filled with new friends who enjoy our food and drinks under starry skies.
We want to share that with all of our readers. Following, you’ll find three recipes for drinks the Spanish have been enjoying for centuries. Sip these as you enjoy Chef Edgar’s signature guacamole and homemade tortilla chips.
Here’s to warm nights and good friends! Cheers.
Avenida’s Secret Recipe: Fresh Lime Margaritas
Our bartenders Kevin and Kylie have a passion for Margaritas and mix up the meanest version we’ve tasted, starring fresh lime juice. Stop by to try this incredible concoction, but before you do, try it yourself at home so you can compare. Cheers!
What you’ll need:
• 4 oz. tequila
• 1 oz. Triple Sec
• 2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1 oz. simple syrup
• 1 cup crushed ice
Here’s how: Pour all ingredients into a shaker. Dance around the kitchen. Pour. Makes 2 servings.
If you’re throwing a party during the hot weather, stir up a big batch of Sangria to keep everyone happy. Just scale back the quantity of each ingredient if you’re imbibing with a small group of friends.
What you’ll need:
• 2 gallons Zinfandel
• 1 cup brandy
• 1/2 cup Cointreau
• 2 quarts orange juice
• 2 cups lemon juice
• 1 cup superfine sugar
• 12 to 16 ice cubes
• 2 quarts chilled club soda
• 3 oranges, 3 lemons, thinly sliced
Here’s how: Pour the wine, brandy, and Cointreau into a large punch bowl. Stir in cold orange and lemon juice, add sugar, and let dissolve. Add ice cubes, soda, and garnish with fruit slices. Pour and enjoy!
Special thanks to our friend from Cuba for the original, authentic recipe from Havana, which he shared with our chefs.
What you’ll need:
• 1 tsp. powdered sugar
• Juice from 1 lime (2 oz.)
• 4 mint leaves
• 1 sprig of mint
• Crushed ice
• Havana Club White Rum (2 oz.)
• 2 oz. club soda
Here’s how: Place the mint leaves into a long glass, and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over top. Two ounces of lime juice is best, which may not require all of the juice from a single lime. Add powdered sugar, and gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a long wooden device called a muddler (although using the back of a fork or spoon is fine.) Add crushed ice, rum, and stir. Top off the glass with a splash of club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig. Yum!
Variations on the Theme:
1. Don’t do this if you’re following the original recipe for a mojito from the Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, but if you want to vary the recipe, take half of the juiced lime and cut it into four wedges to add to the glass. Click on the link for the Bodeguita to take a peek into that famous club and even see how to make 20 mojitos at one time!
2. To cut the sweetness of the mojito, another variation is to add Angostura bitters , which is a popular version in Havana hotels, although not the true Bodeguita recipe.
3. Some Cubans also use “guarapo” in place of the powdered sugar, which is a sugarcane syrup available in the Latin food section of some supermarkets and always available in online Latin grocery stores. It is typically sold in 12-ounce cans, just like soft drinks.
Chef Edgar’s Awesome Guacamole
Hungry? Drink down these lovely cocktails with this special family recipe, which has been handed down through generations. Come in to Avenida Restarurant today for a taste, or go ahead and try this luscious recipe at home. Adjust the quantities down for a smaller group.
What you’ll need:
• 12 avocados, seeds removed
• 1/2 Spanish onion, minced
• 6 limes, juiced
• 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
• 3 plum tomatoes, diced
• salt and pepper to taste
Here’s how: In a bowl, place seeded avocados, onion, cilantro, and juice of 4 limes. Mash until avocados are slightly lumpy, season with salt and pepper, and add tomatoes. (Taste to see if you need more lime juice.) Place guacamole in a decorative bowl and surround with chips. Feeds 8.
About Chefs Kim and Edgar Alvarez
A graduate of Syracuse University’s restaurant management program and the two-year chef program at the Culinary Institute of America, Kim has had a passion for cooking since she was 7. That’s when her mother enrolled her in a cooking class at Bloomingdale’s in Jenkintown, Pa.
It was Thanksgiving time, and the first assignment was to make homemade stuffing. Kim loved using her fingers to tear the bread and combine it with the wet ingredients. It was the best stuffing she had ever tasted and to this day, she continues to make that stuffing recipe for her family: husband and co-chef Edgar, and children Emma and Alejandro.
In Kim’s 25 years as a chef, she has worked in some of the best kitchens in America, including Brad Ogden’s One Market in San Francisco and the Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur, CA. She was second-in-command at The Striped Bass, and head chef of Beaujolais in Philadelphia. She also worked in several gourmet markets in Philadelphia, including Gerard’s and Patina.
Chef Edgar Alvarez grew up in Guatemala, where preparing a meal was an all-day affair. When breakfast ended, all the women in the family would go off to the market to buy the freshest produce, meat, and fish for lunch and dinner. His mother was an amazing chef, who “taught me everything I know,” Alvarez says. “She gave me a love for good, healthy, hearty food—just the kind I prepare today.”
When he came to the United States, Edgar worked as a sous chef at some of the best restaurants in Philadelphia, including the original Dock Street, the four-star restaurant The Striped Bass, and the gourmet Chinese restaurant Susanna Foo.
After fine-tuning his skills, he became the head chef at The Black Sheep, which earned rave reviews and several awards for its elegant comfort food.
In 2004, he and his wife bought the Delaware Market House in Gladwyne, which they closed in March 2009, when they began work opening Avenida.
As head chef of Avenida, “my goal is to bring my childhood memories to life for my kids and my customers.”
Kim and Edgar, owners of Philadelphia’s Avenida Restaurant,, are building a reputation as the go-to spot for fabulous Latin American cuisine in a family-friendly environment.
Have questions? Send Kim and Edgar an email.