June 10, 2009
Do you remember that episode of Seinfeld when George and Jerry were sitting at the diner, talking about how salsa had replaced ketchup as the #1 condiment, and they mentioned how fun it is to say “salsaaahhh”? So funny. I think about that every time I say salsa. And here in Texas, I say salsa a lot! My favorite salsa has always been Joe T Garcia’s, from the cult-favorite restaurant in Fort Worth. I was at Central Market today, and it occurred to me that maybe…just maybe…there is a better salsa out there? I’m so fickle! I decided to conduct a little informal research to see if my favorite is indeed the best of the best, or if I’m just stuck in a closed-minded salsa rut.
First up is our challenger, Central Market’s All Natural Hatch Green Chile Salsa Roja.
- Ingredients: Tomatoes, green chiles, diced onions, tomato paste, lime juice, fresh garlic, fresh serrano peppers, vinegar, cumin, salt, black pepper, cilantro.
- Appearance: Brownish brick red. I see some dark flecks that indicate some of the ingredients were fire-roasted. Nice! The consistency is pretty thick, but not quite a puree. You can still see some bits of onion throughout.
- Flavor: Delicious and slightly complex. The top note I get is cumin. The salsa is smoky and spicy, but I was expecting it to be hotter with the two chiles. I could have used a little more heat.
- Overall impression: I love that there are no preservatives, chemicals or ingredients other than those I could find in my own kitchen. It tastes fresh, and I do like it. But would I buy it again? Mmmm, probably not. I think I’d like to try the green verde version of this salsa to see if it has less cumin flavor since I’m not a huge cumin fan. To me cumin is like cilantro or goat cheese. Either you love it or you hate it; not many people are ambivalent about it.
And now the defender: Joe T Garcia’s Salsa Picante in Mild (there are Medium and Hot varieties, but I know they’re too hot for me).
- Ingredients: Tomatoes, onions, green sweet peppers, green chile peppers, salt, vinegar, jalapeno peppers, garlic, cilantro and spices.
- Appearance: Bright red, and very chunky with visible pieces of tomato, onion and peppers. When you open the jar, the salsa needs to be stirred to get the juice married back with the chunks.
- Flavor: Wow! A burst of fresh tomato, garlic and peppers with a tangy background from the vinegar. Even the mild has a fair amount of pepper heat. I love it.
- Overall Impression: Somebody get this jar away from me! I can’t stop eating it!
Get in your car right now and drive to a store that carries this salsa! If you can’t do that, direct your fingers over to Joe T’s web site and order yourself a case of his Salsa Picante. You can get 12 jars for $30 plus $15 shipping, which is a bargain in my book, folks! That’ s less than $4 per jar, shipped! You WILL thank me! This stuff is awesome in queso instead of Rotel, or poured over a soft brick of cream cheese, or just gobbled up with chips.
Hey, LilSis, you’re a fan of Joe T’s Salsa, right? Can you get any good salsa out there in Califor-knee-yah? I know SirHoney doesn’t like too much heat, so I’m wondering if you’re still buying Pace brand? Now you can order from Joe T himself! Viva la Salsa!