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Two Menu Specials for Mexican Independence Day -- and a Recipe From Kachina

Mexican Independence Day officially starts at midnight tonight, marking Father Miguel Hidalgo's cry for independence to rally the people of Mexico in 1810. Mexican restaurants throughout the Denver area will be helping guests celebrate with specials and parties. Some are rolling out one-day deals, while others are adding seasonal menu items for those who can't make it to their eateries tomorrow. Among them are Zengo, which is launching a culinary tribute to Cabo, and Kachina Southwestern Grill, which is offering a souped-up guacamole menu for the day -- and a recipe for the restaurant's house version of the universally loved but seldom perfected dish.

See also: 100 Favorite Dishes: Chiles en Nogada at Chili Verde

Richard Sandoval's Asian-Latin fusion menu is a far cry from the days of Mexico's struggle for independence, but the roots of Mexico -- especially in the kitchen's new Cabo-inspired selections -- can still be found. Octopus carnitas pay tribute to the Pacific Coast's seafood bounty as well as tradtional slow-cooking methods, but get a modern boost with a Korean bibimbap presentation and a salsa-roja-gochujang sauce mash-up. Coastal tiraditos (similar to ceviche) go beyond the typical lime and chile preparation with an avocado-yuzu puree and a dash of soy.

If you can't make it to Zengo tomorrow, the Taste of Cabo menu will be available through the end of the year. And if you prefer your Mexican cuisine unadulterated and at the source, the menu rollout includes a chance to win a vacation to the Sabor a Cabo Culinary Festival in Baja California. See the restaurant's website for contest details.

Keep reading for Kachina's guacamole special and recipe.

Not only is tomorrow Mexican Independence Day, coincidentally it's also National Guacamole Day here in the U.S. (at least according to the University of Nebraska's food, nutrition and health calendar). Westminster's Kachina is celebrating both by offering a mobile mashed-avocado cart in its dining room, where you can get the basic house recipe or add to it with a variety of extras: roasted corn, chipotle or ghost chile puree, pineapple, mango, jicama and house-made bacon.

Kachina is also featuring the buttery green fruit in its daily Chef + Butcher menu, with a fried avocado appetizer, a guacamole tostada, a bison and guacamole burger, and chicken tinga with guacamole. In case you're nowhere near Westminster or prefer to pulverize your own avocados at home, executive chef Jeff Bolton has shared his recipe:

Traditional Guacamole

Yield: 1 qt

Ingredients: ½ cup onion, minced ½ cup ounces serrano peppers, seeded and minced 1 tablespoon garlic 3 oz. Roma tomatoes, seeded, small diced ½ cup cilantro- roughly chopped ¼ cups lime juice salt and pepper (to taste) 2 lbs. avocados, large dice -- Keep separate until ready to serve

Method: 1. Mince the onions and garlic very fine with a sharp knife, being careful not to smash them, as doing so will bruise and change the flavor profile. Be sure to only slice through once, and not many times. 2. Remove stem and seeds from serrano peppers and finely chop. 3. Store onions, garlic, and serrano chiles together in refrigerator until ready to use. 4. Slice tomatoes very fine. Store separately from the onion/pepper mixture. 5. To complete guacamole, mix in the lime juice, tomatoes, onion/pepper mixture, and large diced avocados. Fold ingredients together gently, being sure not to smash up the avocados, as they need to stay as chunky as possible. Add salt and pepper to season.

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