Chips and Salsa That Are Worth Their Salt
Photos by John Kiely These tortilla chips and salsa are a cut above the rest in the store.
We're so used to getting tortilla chips and salsa before every meal at a Tex-Mex restaurant that my family was taken slightly aback during a recent visit to San Antonio Tex-Mex bastion Blanco's when none appeared on the table. What we got instead were classic plates of huevos rancheros with golden fried potatoes and beans for just over $4.00, which reminded us that chips and salsa aren't free, just "complimentary".
Of course, chips and salsa for a snack or a party isn't free at all, and what we get for our money doesn't approach the just-fried warm tortilla chips and freshly-made salsa from a restaurant. I'd given up looking for great store-bought versions, and had been satisfied with Tostito's chips and salsa, which are pretty good for mass-market stuff.
I never knew the real name for tortilla chips--totopos.
That all changed in a moment at Central Market, when we noticed a small group of people jostling to buy bags of Xochitl Totopos with Sea Salt and jars of Native Texan Tex-Mex Medium Salsa. It wasn't any sort of sales event, but rather a random swarm of shoppers who'd apparently come to the same conclusion. My son, who counts tortilla chips as one of his main food groups, got the honor of grabbing a bag of Xochitls.
The shopping swarm proved to be on to something. Though the chips weren't warm, they did taste as if they'd been baked and fried that very day. They had the flavor of corn, not of cheap cooking oil. Sea salt does taste better than regular table salt, but I wouldn't know the difference with the Xochitl chips, because they are very lightly salted.
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