New Orleans is town known for big parties, great music, diversity and excellent food. Having bounced back from Hurricane Katrina it has become a shining example to all American states how to be resilient in the face of adversity. But toasted guacamole with grasshoppers! Really? Perhaps when Orleanians bounced back, some of them bounced on their heads.
Johnny Sanchez, a new taqueria that serves modern Mexican food, has chapulines or toasted grasshoppers with their guacamole on their menu. Miles Landrem, executive chef at Johnny Sanchez reveals that this off insect treat is quite common in Southern Mexico. “In Oaxaca, Mexico, you’ll see little kids eating them like chips or popcorn. They are actually a good source of protein. They are kind of like Mexican bacon bits. ”
Landrem wanted to bring the insects to America to serve as a topping for his guacamole. “When you put it on the table, everyone giggles, it’s a great conversation starter.” he said. In Mexico, there are three different sizes. Chef Landrem orders the small ones from his supplier in Mexico. “I don’t think New Orleans is quite ready for the large ones.”
And just when you think you’ve heard it all, toasted grasshoppers aren’t the only insects Johnny Sanchez has to offer. “We also have worm salt that we serve with our mescal. Mescal is made using agave plants and in those agave plants are worms which they use to make the worm salt.” The worm salt is used as a chaser after sipping on the mescal.
Chef John Besh and Chef Aaron Sanchez are the owners of Johnny Sanchez. The restaurant opened in October in New Orleans. There is another in Baltimore. Johnny Sanchez just started their Happy Hour specials on Sunday-Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with half off drinks and $5 tacos. Johnny Sanchez is located at 930 Poydras Street.