What is the best salsa I can buy?

I’m looking for some good salsa that I can buy in Dallas, TX. I’m so very tired of the regular grocery store brands. I love hot and spicy, but I’d much rather have flavor than just a mouthful of spice.

If you’ve ever been to Monicas , then I’d love a spicier version of their salsa.

So, any suggestions for salsa that can be bought at a retail store in North Texas? I’ll also happily accept ideas for places which only sell online.

Jose Madrid Salsa. As far as I know, only available relatively locally around here, but you can buy from their website, and this salsa rules. Nice flavor, quite a bit of heat in the “Hot” varieties, and even the fruit salsas are something to write home about. When I lived in Seattle and would come home for visits, I’d buy up five or six jars to take home with me so I never ran out. I love this salsa.

Whole Foods Fire Roasted Salsa–tasty, chunky (but not too chunky), with a nice kick, and very low in sodium.

Newman’s Own (Paul Newman’s brand) makes amazing pineapple salsa, and the medium is pretty good too. I haven’t seen a “hot” version but if I do I’d definitely grab it.

It’s hard to say since I don’t know exactly what kind of salsa you want. My suggestion is that if there’s a local restaurant that has the kind of salsa you like, ask if they will sell you some. I used to just bring in my own container until my favorite place started getting fancy and put it into a take-out soup container for me. Some markets make their own salsas, found in the deli (?) section with the carne asada.

Yes, I buy my salsa; some of them take a million bazillion steps and I’m lazy. When I’m not lazy, I use Rick Bayless’s Salsas that Cook (until I loaned it and it wasn’t returned grrrr). His recipes are pretty good.

Have you tried making it? It’s incredibly easy.

I make it a couple of different ways.

The first way involves throwing a can of tomatoes (juice and all), a few cloves of garlic (peeled), a pepper or two, depending upon how hot you want it, a few sprigs of cilantro, some onion, and a squirt or two of lemon or lime juice into the blender or food processor. Process until you’re happy with the texture, and eat away.

The other way involves roasting the peppers. Halve and seed the peppers (if you want more heat, leave a few more seeds in–if you want less heat, remove all the seeds and the membrane) and roast on a baking sheet until the smell is unutterably divine. Then finish as above.

And this isn’t salsa, but I have to share this recipe because it’s SOOOOOOO stinkin’ good:

Get as many jalapenos as you feel like
Get some cream cheese and let it sit at room temperature to soften
Get some sliced bacon and cut each slice in half.

Wash the peppers. Halve them, and remove the seeds and some of the membrane. Stuff with cream cheese. Wrap a half slice of bacon around each pepper half and set onto your baking sheet/dish.

When you’ve loaded up your baking sheet/dish, bake them until the smell makes you drool. They’re divine eaten hot, and they’re not bad eaten at room temperature.

Oooh–one more thought. Central Market has some good salsas available at their condiment bar. You could try a variety there until you found the perfect one. I think there’s a Central Market in the Plano area; there’s one in Fort Worth on Hulen at I-30; and I’m thinking there’s one in Dallas as well, although I won’t swear to it.

I often make my own, but if I don’t have time, there’s a really, really good brand called Religious Experience Salsa.

What’s nice is that even the “Hot” flavor isn’t so overpoweringly hot that the tomatoes and other flavors are drowned out.

I don’t know if you have Safeway supermarkets where you are, but if you do, they carry it.

All I have to say is avoid the stuff in cans and jars. The tomatoes get overcooked. Actually I think they shouldn’t be cooked at all.

I always get salsa from the refridgerated section, in a plastic cup with a celophane over the top.

Off the shelf? Herdez.

Do they have a Trader Joe’s near you? I love their fresh salsa.

I think you’re better off making your own, even from canned tomatoes. I use a food processor, and it’s a ten minute process, though it needs a few hours in the fridge to really be good.

That said, my favorite jarred salsa is actually the Harris Teeter store brand chipotle salsa. I like it enough that I’m planning to buy up several jars of it before we move in two weeks, since we’re moving to a Harris Teeter-less area. I haven’t found anything in a jar that comes close, for my taste.

Frontera is very good, widely available, but expensive.

As noted above, Trader Joe’s has many good/cheap types.

I will definitely second the Bayless Salsas That Cook recommendation. The satisfaction (and control over level of heat, etc) of making your own salsa is worth the effort.

I really prefer the texture of hand-chopped tomatoes to processor-ed ones.

I could be wrong but doesn’t salsa also have vinegar in it as part of the base? Granted, they’re store-bought most of the time but it seems most salsas I’ve tasted have a bit of vinegar in them.

Anyway, since this thread is all about salsa, I thought I’d relate an unfortunate salsa experience I had at a newly opened Tex-Mex restaurant I ate at with my family today. Like most Tex-Mexican/Mexican restaurants, you got a complimentary basket of chips and salsa with your meal. However, at this place (which shall remain unnamed to protect the guilty even though I don’t think it’s going to be around in another six months) you had serve yourself at a salsa-and-chip bar that had only one type of salsa available. The salsa DID appear to be homemade which would normally be a good thing were it not for the fact this had to be the blandest and most flavorless salsa ever. Calling it “mild” would a gross understatement. It seemed like they made it by chopping up tomatoes and some rank onions and then mixing them with water. There was little–if any-- hint of lemon juice, vinegar, peppers, or even cilantro. In fact, aside from the onions, you actually couldn’t taste anything at all–not even the tomatoes.

Perhaps my tastes have likely been debased by years of consumption of commercially produced salsas, but is real homemade salsa supposed to be that tasteless? To me, even the most processed of the commercial brands tasted better.

I’ll second the Newman’s brand. I sometimes go through a couple jars a week. Safeway has it on sale this week, I bought 16 jars. That should last a few months.

Garden Fresh Salsa is awesome and found in the fridge section of your produce section.

Two thumbs up!

Also, I would welcome salsa recipes, too.

I’m rather fond of Desert Pepper Trading Company’s offerings named “Salsa Diablo” (medium warm) and “XXX Habañero” (hot).

If you ever find yourself in Northern California, look in grocery stores for a refridgerated salsa in a plastic butterdish type container. It is called Casa Lindra Salsa and it is a religious experience, especially if you double dip with a little sour cream on your chip too. I’m not exactly sure how far away it is distributed from where it is made in Humboldt County, since it is made fresh, has no preservatives, and has to be kept cold.