Chips and Salsa That Are Worth Their Salt

Categories: Grocery Guide

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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My Voice Nation Help

I only eat El Milagro tortilla chips. I love them so much, and my family is aware of this, so I get really annoyed if someone in my family buys another kind of tortilla chip if they know I will be in attendance. Why eat any other? They're the crispiest. They are sans salt, which is great because I HATE salt. People complain that they're so crispy that they sometimes break in dip, but nothing is perfect. They're so good I don't even need a dip to eat them.

Ugh, I want some right now.

El Milagro tortilla chips forever. (I sound obsessed. Oh well...)


My heart belongs to Herdez. Probably always will.


I'm a big fan of the Central Market brand corn chips (I prefer the unsalted version). They have consistently great flavor and a sturdier construction than those thin Xochitl chips.  

Next time your in S.A., stop by Jacala Mexican Restaurant and pick up some of their house salsa, which they bottle and sell individually or by the case.  They will also ship to Houston.

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