About a year and a half ago, I had an idea. I thought it would be fun to plan and teach salsa tasting classes, demonstrating the difference between peppers and spices and tomatoes.
Or, at the least, I’d learn how to make salsa myself.
I know you’re going to find this shocking, but I have to confess: I haven’t done either. But last Saturday, I did have a small salsa tasting party at my house!
It was so fun. I got six different types of salsa – four from restaurants, two from the store (although they were restaurant brands) – and put them in matching bowls. I numbered each bowl and put the name on the bottom.
I wish I’d taken time to get the other two salsas fresh from the restaurant, but since I didn’t, I had enough time to clean the house well enough. (I’m not going to say it was sparkling or anything, but if one didn’t look closely, it looked pretty good.)
Because Saturday was not technically Cinco de Mayo, I thought it would be fun (or funny) to call it an “Uno de Mayo” party. And then we could play Uno.
But we didn’t. It turns out tasting salsa and
pigging out on eating tacos and talking and laughing takes up a lot of time.
We started by passing each bowl around the table and getting a “taste.” We varied in our exact method; some scooped just enough for one chip, while others scooped a whole spoonful onto the plate. But we waited to taste it at the same time. (You know, like communion at church.)
Then we had a little discussion. Mainly that consisted of guessing which restaurant it came from and Josh trying to use the word, “bouquet,” to describe each sauce.
I had two different types of chips to use, because – as was pointed out on Facebook – chips make all the difference when eating salsa. I bought a bag of big, sturdy, salty Tostitos, and one of the restaurants gave me two greasy bags of thin, crispy chips.
I know you’re just dying to know, so here are our results:
- Abuelo’s – Smoky (like BBQ, according to some), spicy and delicious.
- Margarita’s – Definitely the most recognizable. Sweet with a bit of a bite.
- On the Border – Awful! I really like On the Border’s salsa, but I bought it at the store instead of the restaurant. (I KNOW.) The jar stuff tasted like marinara sauce, and we all hated it. Except Brittany, who got to take the whole bowl of it home.
- Jose Pepper’s – Mmm, garden fresh! I’m not kidding. That’s exactly what one of my friends said after we tried it. This is my favorite, and I’m pretty sure my friends liked it as much as I did. Because it was ALL GONE before the night was over!
- Chili’s – Mild, a little tomatoe-y, but pretty good. Which is a good thing, since I got 32 ounces of the stuff, thanks to a little miscommunication (a.k.a. Server who couldn’t get my order right.).
- Chipotle (tomatillo green-chili, medium) – Salty and onion-y with a spicy aftertaste. Also, delicious. I’m glad we had some of this left, as it’s one of my favorites.
We spent a couple hours sitting around the dinner table, dipping and tasting and eating and laughing. But the best part of the evening was definitely when we moved into the living room to relax.
And I’m not just saying that because it’s when I put Annalyn to bed and we got to eat Beci’s peanut butter bars.
See, Josh and Brittany are fairly new friends, and Alan and Beci are brand-new friends. And they wanted to hear about a time in my life that I haven’t shared with many people. They let me ramble for over an hour, listening and asking questions and listening some more.
I don’t think I can call any of them “new friends” anymore. These four people (even Alan, who I swear didn’t say more than a dozen words the whole night) are friends.
So, before I start tearing up (which I may or may not have done during our heart-to-heart in the living room), let’s get back to the salsa.
Aside from the fresh salsas from Jose Pepper’s and Chipotle, my favorite salsa – and what I buy every couple of weeks – is Sam’s Choice medium salsa from Walmart.
Yeah, I’m high class like that.
Before I ask about your favorite salsa (you know I was going there, right?), I’m going to, AHEM, strongly suggest you check out my other site for a special salsa giveaway.
And now – what’s your favorite salsa?