The salsa national championships.

How to be the best consumer you can be.
March 15 2005 6:02 PM

The Tangy 12

The salsa national championships.

(Continued from Page 2)

Pace, on the other hand, tasted "synthetic but palatable." Though this group of New York City slickers found this "medium" salsa mild, most declared it a fine default salsa—"pleasant but unsurprising." A vocal minority found the salsa's uniform flavor a bit … weird. "Rotten," complained one; it tastes "like weeds," said another. Nonetheless, Pace advanced; Chi-Chi's went home.

Chi-Chi's Fiesta Salsa Medium
Heat Index: 2.33
Average Salsa Score: 3.78
Bonus Points: 0.50
Total Score: 4.28

Pace Chunky Salsa Medium
Heat Index: 2.00
Average Salsa Score: 3.67
Bonus Points: 1.00
Total Score: 4.67No. 3 seed Ortega Homestyle Recipe Salsa Mild (16 oz., $2.99)
vs.
No. 6 seed
Tostitos All Natural Salsa Mild (16 oz., $2.89)
A match so close it called for double-dipping overtime. Ortega emerged victorious. Tasters dubbed Tostitos "lousy" and "sweet, mild and boring, like Matt Lauer." Though one dissenter named the salsa his third-place pick, calling it "fruity and tasty," the rest found it unpalatable. Ortega's M.O.? Offend no one. Its bland flavor kept it from excelling beyond a sea of mediocrity, but nobody hated it. "Chef Boy-o-Salsa," said one. Its lack of pizzazz left one taster remarking, "You could feed this to a baby, and the baby would look at you and be like, 'Really? I could handle more.' "

Ortega Homestyle Recipe Salsa Mild
Heat Index: 1.67
Average Salsa Score: 3.44
Bonus Points: 0.25
Total Score: 3.69

Tostitos All Natural Salsa Mild
Heat Index: 2.11
Average Salsa Score: 3.33
Bonus Points: 0.25
Total Score: 3.58

ROUND 2
No. 1 seed
Newman's Own All Natural Chunky Salsa Medium (16 oz., $2.99)
vs.
No. 5 seed Pace Chunky Salsa Medium
It isn't just Luke's hand that's cool: Newman's salsa failed to live up to its "Medium" billing, scoring just 1.56 on the Heat Index. Though one tester insisted this was his overall favorite—"You can actually taste some caramelization from the onions"—he was quickly trash-talked into submission by those dismissing it as "bland" and "inedible." The salsa was so poorly received, in fact, that many hesitated to call it "Mexican," comparing it instead to Scottish cuisine—"the haggis of salsa." This match-up was an easy win for Pace; in fact, Blue Eyes' salsa came in dead last overall.

Newman's Own All Natural Pace Chunky Salsa Medium
Heat Index: 1.56
Average Salsa Score: 2.11
Bonus points: 0.25

Pace Chunky Salsa Medium
Heat Index: 2.00
Average Salsa Score: 3.67
Bonus Points: 1.00
Total Score: 4.67

No. 2 seed Old El Paso Thick n' Chunky Salsa Wild for Mild (16 oz., $2.99)
vs.
No. 3 seed Ortega Homestyle Recipe Salsa Mild
Once again, Ortega advanced, not on its own merits but due to its opponent's inferiority. A few tasters found Old El Paso "the best of the generics," noting its "good chunky tomato bits," but most of us weren't wild for mild. "Fake sweet. Cheerleadery," wrote one. "Gross," "blah," and "yucky," said others.

Old El Paso Thick n' Chunky Salsa Wild for Mild
Heat Index: 1.89
Average Salsa Score: 3.00
Bonus Points: 0.50
Total Score: 3.50

Ortega Homestyle Recipe Salsa Mild
Heat Index: 1.67
Average Salsa Score: 3.44
Bonus Points: 0.25
Total Score: 3.69

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