Best Thing We Ate

Best Thing We Ate: The at Petty Cash

By Lesley Balla  |  August 15, 2013
Credit: Lesley Balla

While scooping up mashed avocado topped with melting sweet sea urchin at Petty Cash last night, the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial kept replaying in our head: "Who put your uni in my guacamole? Who put my gucamole in your uni?" Because really, these two things have nothing to do with each other, but together they taste amazing. Just about everyone's ordering it at Walter Manzke's new Mexican spot on Beverly Boulevard, so much so, that after we ordered the and an aguachile with sea urchin, the chef came out and said they had one order of uni left. "Do you want it on the avocado or the aguachile?" he asked. Naturally, we went for the avocado.

It's basically guacamole with fresh uni on top, earth and sea combined in one creamy bite, the urchin adding just enough of that ocean funk to render it utterly unique (and addictive). Ours didn't come out as pretty as some of the pictures we've seen across the social medias; after all, it was the last of the uni. The appearance didn't change the fact that it was delcious. We imagine it was a late-night lightbulb moment when this dish came together, and after one bite, someone said, "Man...this is the" Voila! A dish is born. It comes with a cone full of puffy, spiced chicharrones, but we saved those for snacking and used tortilla chips for dipping into the bowl. The giant aguachiles de mocojate full of shrimp, oysters and dice-size chunks of hamachi swimming in a cool, chile-spiked broth was just fine without the extra sea urchin, but we wouldn't turn it down if more suddenly appeared.

This is only our second visit to Petty Cash, and the place was wall-to-wall packed. We overheard the hostess tell the folks ahead of us who wanted a table that it would be an hour-long wait. Luckily we were in the right place at the right time and got a couple of seats at the bar. The big garage window was open, with cool summer breezes blowing and cool beats flowing. Manzke has another hit.