Classic Casa T tops the salsa-meter

By Racey Burden | Published Saturday, April 30, 2016

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Salsa Map

I have long wanted to try all the chips and salsa in Wise County. Luckily, my colleague David Talley was more than willing to join me in this endeavor.

Racey Burden

Two white kids from northeast Texas are definitely not the authority on excellent Mexican food, and I know for a fact that neither of us are food critics. But that doesn’t mean we can’t wholeheartedly enjoy the best dips this county has to offer.

So, for you, our loyal readers, we drove in a triangle (or chip-shaped) route, from Decatur to Paradise to Bridgeport to Chico back to Decatur, all in the name of finding the best salsa from an original Wise County restaurant.

The journey in itself was quite the adventure. We had to map our route, getting lost in Bridgeport and driving through a dead-end neighborhood where people in their yards watched us try to turn around in the Messenger car.

David talked a lot about cycling and complained a lot about how hungry he was. He may or may not have fallen out of the car at one point; I’m not really supposed to mention that.

We discovered Mexican restaurants we didn’t even know existed, which is always a delight. Not one questioned why we were only asking for chips and salsa to go, like I expected them to. Maybe they get that a lot.

All told, the whole trip took a little over an hour-and-a-half. David did survive his hunger pangs until we made it back to the office, and I didn’t drive us into any potholes too big we couldn’t escape.

But you’re here for our salsa assessment, right?

We decided to cut out the chains that didn’t start in Wise County, leaving us with six options – Casa Torres and Frilly’s in Decatur, Jorge’s in Paradise, Dos Chiles Grandes and Baja Street Mexican Grill in Bridgeport, and Julio’s in Chico. There may be more Mexican restaurants out there, but these were the ones we could find via Google.

The only salsa I didn’t really like was the mild sauce from Dos Chiles. It tastes like tomato soup, which is all well and good if you want tomato soup, but I didn’t. Their spicy salsa, however, more than makes up for their mild. It’s chunky, and it has an onion bite to it. If I eat too much, my mouth will burn, and I like that.

Frilly’s and Baja Street both offered up darker, more garlic-based salsas. Both were good, but I think they would be better on tacos or burritos. Baja Street’s salsa had a lot of pepper, which I enjoyed. Our production manager, Todd, discovered it and couldn’t stop eating it.

Jorge’s salsa was a little less spicy than many of the others, with a faint hint of lemon. It was interesting, but not my favorite.

Now, Julio’s salsa reminds me a lot of Casa Torres’, which makes sense because I’ve heard the owners are related. Julio’s had a bit more cilantro and was chunkier than Casa Torres’. A few of my coworkers came away from the tasting as Julio’s converts, but I have to be honest – the salsa at Casa Torres is the love of my life. I would straight up drink it. It will always come first for me.

We were supposed to be evaluating the chips, too, but I couldn’t tell a lot of difference. This is why I’m not a food critic.

In the end, I think the best salsa is clearly a subjective choice – I love Casa Torres’, you may love something else. You may hate salsa, but if you do, you’re wrong.

The point of all this is we had a good time and for one brief, glorious day, David and I were paid to eat. That’s the dream.

Racey Burden is a reporter for the Messenger. Her taste in salsa is better than David’s.

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