THAT HALLOWED HOLLOW: Few edibles are as easily mashable as an avocado -- okay, bananas, you mash well, too -- but few of us desire to take that fork-to-fruit route when there's that famous hollow to consider. You know the one: Cut an alligator pear lengthwise and a pit-formed depression appears on the pit-less half. Remove the pit from the other side and say hello to two most excellent hollows. They're not too deep but they are bowl-like enough to support some shrimp or tuna salad or something a little quirkier, like several shots of Cholula or Sriracha (or the hot sauce of your choice). It's a fine way to approach the much-much-much-loved California icon, a foodstuff that is all too often mashed too fast. Well, "too fast" is up for debate, since the mashing typically occurs just ahead of some vigorous guacamole-making. If all of this is your jam -- and mmm, avocado jam sounds like it might be tasty on a thick piece of toast -- then we expect you and your hollow-filling ways'll show up in Fallbrook on the third Sunday in April. That's the annual Avocado Festival, and the huge street festival that backs it celebrates the bumpily fruit in all of its leave-it-alone, no-mash-it-up forms.
THERE ARE ALSO... avocado racers (it's the Avo 500 Race and it is for elementary school kids) and guacamole contests and a best-dressed avocado contest and, you betcha, the creamy consumption of avocado in all of its forms. Yes, indeed, guac is form number one, the most famous way to enjoy avocados (and onions and salsa and salt and lime and so forth), and eating an avo plain is probably number two. But seeing it show up sliced atop offbeat sandwiches and in dessert form (it thickens milkshakes, for sure) is always a pleasure. Avocadoists of the Golden State, aren't you lucky people. You've got Fallbrook's party in the spring, on April 19 in 2015, and the Carpinteria bash in October. No doubt about it: We Californians not only think a lot of our green rough-skinned icon, we think about what other foods to stick in its smooth little hollow. We're avo-obsessed, all righty.