The Best Store Bought Salsa – AdamLovesFood’s Top 5 Supermarket Salsas

While I’m on this salsa kick — having just posted my friend’s Redneck Caviar Recipe she got from Paula Deen, I’ve decided to put together a Top 5 of my favorite store-bought salsas. That way if you’re lazy like me and don’t want to mix up some crazy salsa, you can just buy a good one from the grocery store — with no extra effort required. And don’t worry, there’s no Tostitos brand salsa on this list. There’s plenty of variety, and most are available anywhere.

The Best Store-Bought Salsas
An AdamLovesFood Top 5

5. Frontera Cilantro Jalapeno Salsa

I love cilantro. I also love Rick Bayless. No not in that way. Just in a ‘he’s an amazing chef and I want to eat at his restaurant at this very moment’ sort of way. So if you don’t like him or his Cilantro– skip this salsa. Now if you are familiar with Rick Bayless, you’d know he is the winner of Top Chef Masters, the proprietor of a number of excellent restaurants in Chicago, and one of the best Mexican chefs in the U.S. One of those restaurants is Frontera Grill, and for several years now their salsas have been available at major grocery stores around the country. This one has an herby freshness with a bit of heat and smoke. There’s also some tartness, but it’s more interesting than anything else. Definitely worth a try if you have it in your salsa aisle.

4. Desert Pepper Corn, Black Bean, & Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

I picked this particular salsa because I couldn’t classify their as a salsa. Because if I could, it’d be at the top of the list. Sooo good…  Anyway, Desert Pepper makes some great Tex-Mex salsas too and this one in my opinion is their best. It’s earthy, full of smokiness, and has some chunky bits of corn, black beans, and peppers, which gives it a great texture. Definitely a bit on the spicy side, but I’m down with the fire.

3. Giant Supermarket Fresh Salsa

Sometimes when I’m craving salsa I just want that mild stuff they serve at Chipotle… Or what one who speaks bueno espanol would call Pico Di Gallo. Bright, somewhat sweet, and quite juicy, this salsa is packed with flavor. Plus it’s healthy and you just can’t stop eating it. Of all the pico di gallos I’ve had before, this one definitely stands out. It’s like they picked all the veggies off the farm, and mixed it by hand in the grocery store… And honestly I think that’s how this salsa is made. So if you have a , check it out. It’s pretty darn addictive.

2. Green Mountain Gringo Medium Salsa

This salsa is by far my favorite standard salsa you can get in the supermarket. It’s got chunks of tomatoes, good heat, bold flavors, and is easy to eat. Not your run of the mill watery store-bought salsa, that’s for sure. Plus they offer some that go perfectly with it. If you want a really good salsa that’s widely available get Green Mountain Gringo.

And the winner….

1. Costco Santa Barbara Mango Salsa with Peach

I was first introduced to this salsa by a friend from college who had a Costco membership. Once I had it, I was sold, and got my own membership just for the salsa. Never have I tasted a salsa as good as this one. It is a mix of sweet &  spicy.  It’s thick and juicy, and most of all full of delicious flavors. The peach & mango combo creates great texture and has a brightness you can’t find in your average fruit based salsa. Granted you do have to get a Costco membership to buy it, or tag a long with someone who does… But trust me, it’s totally worth it.

Cherry Tomato & Burrata Mozzarella – DC Dish of the Day

Best Food in DCCentral Michel Richard – Cherry Tomato & Burrata Mozzarella

Where can you get it?

1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004 

How much?
$17 for large appetizer portion.

Ingredients: Fresh Burrata Mozzarella, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Basil Infused Olive Oil, Fresh Basil, Fresh Black Pepper, Crostini
 
Why it’s so Good: It’s huge. 2 huge hunks of  creamy, milky burrata. Cherry tomato explosion. First press olive oil. Crunchy, crispy, salty crostini. Fresh basil & pepper garnish a nice simple touch.

Bottom Line: While I think $17 for any appetizer is pretty ridiculous, this one is an exception. Never have I had an appetizer as large or as filling as this one. Plus it is kind of hard to find fresh Burrata Mozzarella in the DC Area. The reason I got it because I was having nostalgia about my Burrata experience in Italy last November. The combination of flavors really brought me back to that little cafe in Roma. So if you love mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, and an authentic fresh Italian combo of flavors, you must try this dish.

Best Food in DCLebanese Taverna – Shish Taouk

Where can you get it? Lebanese Taverna at any of their in the DC Area (Bethesda, Downtown, Falls Church, Pentagon Row, Tysons).

How much?
$16 for entree portion.

 
 
Ingredients: Grilled boneless chicken breast, marinated and skewered with roast tomatoes, pearl onions, green peppers, and garnished with fresh herbs.  Served with basmati rice, garlic puree and sumac spiced onions.

Why it’s so Good:
Amazing kabob. So flavorful. Full of grilled-goodness. Veggies are fresh, smoky, and crunchy. Roast Tomato explosion. The garlic puree/paste alone is incredible (just watch at his favorite Lebanese place in LA). Sumac spiced onions are a unique twist.
 
 
 

Bottom Line: If you live in/around DC, you are probably familiar with this chain of Lebanese Restaurants scattered all over the Metro Area. If not, someone you know may have bought $40 worth of food there in the . If you are not familiar. Become familiar. And do so with their kabobs.

While I chose the Shish Taouk for DC Dish of the Day — their Beef, Lamb, and Veggie Kabobs are all good. This plate of food is so large and full of so many great flavors. it is almost difficult to describe. All I can say is if you’re intimidated by Lebanese food, don’t be. It has got a mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. Which means lots of fresh meats, veggies, rice and mild spices. Simple food with great flavor. Shish Taouk is the Shi*sh.

Best Brunch in DC a Belgian One?

A few weekends ago, my good friend from high school and his wife were in town from Chicago.  They actually just moved there after living in Singapore for over 2 years, and it was great seeing them again. Plus I wanted to show them DC could stand up to both Chicago and Singpore in terms of having great food.

Belga Cafe Croquettes

Cheese Croquettes

So we went out every day (Friday-Sunday) and ate pretty darn well. We hit up on Friday night in honor of our high-school alma mater (Chef Geoff is a Choate Alum himself — class of ’91). Then we went to for some beer to close out the night. The following evening we headed to in Dupont, and then closed out our DC food-jaunt with brunch at on Sunday. And that’s the meal we’re gonna focus on in this post… BRUNCH!

Best Dishes in DC

Birch & Barley – Hand Cut Ricotta Cavatelli with Braised Beef Shortrib

Where can you get it?
1337 14th Street NW Washington DC, 20005

How much?
$13 for small portion, $19 for dinner portion (menu changes almost daily so check if it’s available first).

Ingredients: Home-made with Ricotta. Braised short rib. . . Parmesan Cheese. (I’ve provided links to each ingredient I wasn’t totally familiar with when I ordered it).

 

AdamLovesFood would like to present our newest feature:

Best Dishes in DC

Manhattan Roll –
What is it? Spicy Crunchy Shrimp Roll
Where can you get it?
Tono Sushi – 2605 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008
Woodley Park Neighborhood
How much?
$6.00 for 1 roll (6 pieces)
Ingredients: Sushi rice, seaweed, cooked shrimp (chilled), secret spicy sauce, tempura flakes, sesame seeds sprinkled outside.
 
Why it’s so Good: While I’d like to say it has something to do with the roll bearing the name of my hometown, it ain’t that simple.

 
 
First of all, as you can tell by the look of the roll – it is done by pros. It’s rolled tightly and neatly and has all the fine touches of a sushi-making artisan. Second is texture. Once you’ve dipped the roll into a little bit of pre-mixed soy sauce & wasabi, and you take that first bite, the first thing you’ll notice is the firm, but tender shrimp along with the crisp seaweed. Then you have the perfectly cooked sticky sushi rice (Tono has the best sushi rice I’ve ever eaten) — and if anyone knows me, I LOVE me some good rice.  After the rice, you get hit with the subtle spiciness of their secret sauce… And then out of no where — whoa, what is this? Little heavenly crunchies? No it’s just tempura flakes added in for good measure.

To put it into a math equation –> tender + sticky + spicy + crunchy = winning sushi

 
It also equals the chill. This roll and Tono’s Mexican Roll (Spicy Crunchy Tuna) literally have given me a chill when I’ve eaten them (I know it sounds nuts)… But they’re so frickin good. I don’t know what it is, but anytime I bite into one of the rolls and wash it down with some Tsingtao Beer, it puts a smile on my face.

 
 
Bottom Line: If you are ever visiting the , or are up that way for whatever reason, check out for their incredible Manhattan Roll. It’s delicious. Plus they have a great Sushi Happy Hour from 5pm-7:30pm daily with $1.00 Nigiri and $2.75 small beers/saki.