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The guacamole game is strong!

Let brunch and the Pulled Bacon and Avocado Benedict entice you at Cactus. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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ANNOUNCER: As Tacoma's charming Proctor District continues to evolve, Jackie and Dutch are lured once again to dine at a newly opened establishment. Cactus, Seattle-born chain, boast Tex-Mex-styled cuisine.

JACKIE: This spot is bustling with activity! Although, due to some creative design choices, even at full capacity Cactus manages to feel more intimate due to partitions and cedar block "walls." There are loads of attention to detail including intriguing textured walls, locally crafted tiles and walls. The menu has all of the tidbits you expect including chips and salsa or opt for some gauc with flare. We dove into the Austin style which has guacamole smothered in green chili queso and topped with pico de gallo. That snack alone was enough to satisfy.

DUTCH: I saw bacon and I saw guacamole, and I said yes please! The Carlito's Way guacamole is a sharable size scoop of fresh-made guac that is topped with smoked bacon, charred tomato salsa, poblano chiles, and crumbled cotija cheese. This brings a new standard to chips and guac. A blend of creamy, smoky, and a hint of spicy is just what salty tortilla chips have been missing my whole life.

JACKIE: Brunch enticed with a Pulled Bacon and Avocado Benedict. The hatch green chili biscuits are dense but tasty and set a good foundation for the rest. Poached eggs, pulled bacon and chipotle hollandaise boast big flavor with a smoky, salty, mild spice that adds just enough greens and avocado on top to make you feel like it was a reasonable way to start the day. Plus, a side of traditional breakfast taters makes this more than satisfying. I crafted my leftovers into a scramble the next day.

DUTCH: Cactus has a habit of taking everyday Tex Mex to a new level. I've enjoyed plenty of fish tacos in my lifetime, but here, even a simple seafood dish is elevated. The seafood enchiladas hold Pacific snapper, prawns, and bay scallops between two blue corn tortillas -- topped off with a sweet sherry tomatillo cream sauce, jack cheese, and both charred tomato salsa and the blistered corn salsa. The combination of seafood offers a balance of texture and flavor to a dish that far too often hosts only bland and mushy fish at other places. Additionally, I'm a huge fan of cheese, and here, the amount of cheese is worthy of the dish; this thing is literally smothered in cheese. And finally, it is served with Spanish rice with pepitas and a healthy serving of black beans.

JACKIE: On the lunch and dinner menu, I indulged in the Chicken Fajitas. House made flour or corn tortillas are a nice touch for all the fixins. I would have liked to try the Sage Margarita or one of the other libations but I'm currently trying to practice this thing folks call "will power."

DUTCH: I have will power, too ... that is why I passed on the tequila flight of three assorted four-ounce shots and dove directly into the Oaxaca Margarita which boasts Luzanzul Blanco Tequila, fresh squeezed lime juice, orange bitters, and agave nectar. It is then topped off with a float of Del Maguey Vida Mezcal which adds a smoky flavor to the sweet and salty of the margarita.

CACTUS, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday, 2506 N. Proctor St., Tacoma, 253.458.9900,

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