This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what people in the food industry are eating, drinking, and buying right now. Here, Kyle Beechey writes about the best avocado oil she’s ever had.
As a one time California resident and frequent visitor to the Golden State, the Hollywood farmer’s market is my first stop from the airport. I’ve lived in New York for years now and don’t miss much about my LA life, but I will never stop talking about California’s dream produce. Sweet pineapple tomatoes in the summer, elephant heart plums in the fall, and the world’s best avocados all year long. The Rancho Santa Cecilia stand normally has 8 to 10 different varieties, including Hass, Bacon, and Eureka, a recent favorite with edible skin. When I’m back home in New York, I long for those vibrant green babies, and all of that longing led me to order West-Bourne’s extra virgin avocado oil.
In the middle of last year’s dreary winter, I opened the box and couldn’t believe the color in the bottle, an iridescent green. Sure, I’d had avocado oil before—a brand I’d picked up from the supermarket, a standard light yellow oil that tasted as neutral as it looked. This handsome bottle, on the other hand, was special. I started out by tasting it with a spoon. It was punchy, grassy, and rich. I saw endless possibilities: for sautéing greens, coating roasted roots, and finishing crisp chicory salads. Although the organic avocados are grown in Mexico, their lush flavor reminds me of my sunniest days in California, and the oil brightens up all of my courses. I’ve swapped it in as my dipping oil for focaccia, I substitute it for olive oil when baking, and I drizzle it on desserts. Crossing all culinary frontiers, sweet/savory, raw/cooked, this glorious green workhorse is a welcome addition to my kitchen.
West-Bourne is pretty new to the provisions game. The brand first started as a healthy-cool, California-inspired restaurant in Manhattan’s Soho, owned by chef Camilla Marcus. With rising rents and a pandemic on her hands, Marcus had to close her doors in 2020, but she successfully pivoted to a provisions brand. With it, you can still get a taste of her vision in the form of pistachio dukkah, togarashi crunch snack mix, and my favorite green gold oil. West-Bourne’s organic avocados are sourced in Mexico annually and pressed right next to the orchard to preserve maximum freshness, hence the $45 price tag.
After a year filled with sad East Coast avocados, the type with bruised brown flesh that pulls right off the pit, West-Bourne’s oil allows me to have a little bit of that fresh Hollywood Farmers market bounty in New York. Life doesn’t always grant you ripe avocados, but now I care a little less.