What was this dip (Mexican restaurant)

We dined at a small-town Mexican restaurant last week. Food was decent enough (though my portion appeared to have been cooked in water from the Dead Sea; as we had just spent several hours lugging stuff in hot, humid weather the salt was actually a good thing).

When we sat down, they brought us a bowl of tortilla chips, along with two bowls for dipping. One had a standard, unremarkable red salsa (perfectly edible, just nothing memoerable). The other appeared to be a bowl of sour cream.

However, on tasting: while the consistency was exactly like sour cream, the taste was quite different. Just a little bit tangy, and the aftertaste had just a hint of spice but no real heat - and it was sweet. Not like melted-ice-cream sweet, but definitely not a savory dish. And on closer visual inspection, it wasn’t pure sour-cream white either, I think there was a slight off-white tint as if from spices or whatever.

It did not taste cheesy (some random googling mentions a dip that involved melted white cheese).

Maybe Crema Mexicana?

Another vote for crema. Google images for crema pastelera: did it look like that? The name I gave is for a Spanish version used as a filling for pastries (hence its name, “pastry cream”); from checking Mexican recipes other times that the Mexican version got mentioned they seem to be quite similar in preparation although they get used for different things.

That’s what I was thinking too. I’ve never seen it served that way but we have it in our house. I don’t care for it.

There’s a mexican place around here that has something like that in addition to salsa. I’m not sure what it is (most people mistake it for ranch, but it doesn’t seem ranchy to me) but I don’t really care for it and stick to the salsa.

We make a dip of equal parts mascarpone and (unsweetened natural) yoghurt, which seems to match your description of the taste. Could that have been it?

Different mexican thing: At a salsa bar at a local place there is an incredible salsa that is very basic. It looks like carrots, onions and jalapenos in vinegar. It isn’t thick and tastes incredible. It sounds and looks simple, but the taste is a little more complex. What’s the name for this?

Hmm - could be. I seem to recall mascarpone has a very mild flavor, not cheesy at all. Maybe something like that with some added spices of some sort.

Some googling turns up descriptions of how to make crema mexicana, which sounds similar (cream plus a bit of buttermilk or yogurt, allowed to culture overnight).

Sounds like jalapeños en escabeche and that is the way many canned jalapeños come . Or possibly fruta en vinagre which will have the chiles and carrots, onions etc. and may have other vegetables or fruits.

Our crema fresca is fresh cream aged until it thickens. It is kind of an unchurned butter.

Mascarpone is not cheesy-flavoured at all. In texture it’s perhaps more like Philadelphia cream cheese, but with a bit of sharpness in the actual flavour - in fact it may be what PCC was based on, for all I know.

Was it white salsa? There’re a couple different recipes out there for it online. I’ve made one that was primarily sour cream and cumin, but googling I see there’re ones using Miracle Whip, which may account for the sweetness.


We have a very good Mexican restaurant locally that serves the white stuff------and your description and the ingredients sounds correct to me. I always wondered what it was.

I wonder if it’s one of those specialties of a certain state in Mexico, much like you can get goat at Oaxacan restaurants, but not at many others.

You’re talking about Azteca, aren’t you? :slight_smile: I’ve been wondering what that stuff was, too. Personally I think it’s hideous.

Yes. I wouldn’t say “hideous,” more like “strange” “intriguing” or something else.

Well, it definitely tastes like it has Miracle Whip as a base and I’m a mayo gal so it’s a bit off-putting to me.

Love their regular salsa, though.

Hmm… The place I was talking about was Grand Azteca. Wonder if the two are somehow related.

I have to say Grand Azteca has just about the most hideous website around. It looks like something from the geocities era.

I believe the Grand Azteca has a bigger engine, longer wheelbase, and more cupholders.

Not related.