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How can Rick Bayless's Salsas


awbrig
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when they are so delicious at the restaurant. Yes, I know they are fresh there but I do not understand how he can put his name behind these products? They sound good and look pretty good but they are actually very poor - all of them...and not worth the premium price he charges. What do you think of the sauces?

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1. No you cannot put great salsa in a jar - or anything else for that matter except mustard and a few other things.

2. How can and why should he turn down the money?

I say bravo to Rick whose hard work and true love of that cuisine has got him to the point where he can make a few bucks from it. If you are a serious foody you don't buy the canned stuff and make your own anyway. How hard is it to make salsa?

Rick made the investment and now he is getting his return and I am happy for him.

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awbrig, are they better or worse than other bottled salsas?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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2. How can and why should he turn down the money?

I say bravo to Rick whose hard work and true love of that cuisine has got him to the point where he can make a few bucks from it. If you are a serious foody you don't buy the canned stuff and make your own anyway. How hard is it to make salsa?

Rick made the investment and now he is getting his return and I am happy for him

I never said that Rick should turn down any money or not make money off any products or restaurants. If he does further his product - he should do it right or not at all. Charlie Trotter / Daniel Boulud are examples of doing it right, as far as quality. Emeril and Bayless - the other extreme.

I love Rick's restaurants and have been to Topo and Frontera probably 50 + times - I am a huge fan of his cuisine. However, I am greatly disappointed in his savory salsas and sauces. They are a poor reflection on him and his fine cuisine - In my opinion. I am not saying anything about the man or his success at the restaurants - which, again , I love. But his salsas suck. They do.

I do make my own salsas but sometimes I am pressed for time and buy jarred salsas...I try to buy the top I can find and have found some very good and some not so...

Edited by awbrig (log)
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awbrig, are they better or worse than other bottled salsas?

You would expect them to be on the high end being from Bayless and costing almost $5 a jar but they are mediocre to really bad depending on what kind you get...

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2. How can and why should he turn down the money?

I say bravo to Rick whose hard work and true love of that cuisine has got him to the point where he can make a few bucks from it. If you are a serious foody you don't buy the canned stuff and make your own anyway. How hard is it to make salsa?

Rick made the investment and now he is getting his return and I am happy for him

I never said that Rick should turn down any money or not make money off any products or restaurants. If he does it - he should do it right or not at all. I love his restaurants and have been to Topo and Frontera probably 50 + times - I am a huge fan of his cuisine. However, I am greatly disapointed in his savory salsas and sauces. They are a poor reflection on him and his fine cuisine - In my opinion. I am not saying anything about the man or his success at the restaurants - which, again , I love. But his salsas suck. They do.

I do make my own salsas but sometimes I am pressed for time and buy jarred salsas...I try to buy the top I can find and have found some very good and some not so...

I agree with you - I guess reality is brutal for celebrity chefs too.

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I have no comment on Bayless's salsas, since I haven't tried them, but awbrig, it's harder to screw up fresh salsa than to get it right. Toss some onions, garlic, cilantro, canned tomatoes, and chiles in the food processor and pulse to the consistency you like. Stir in salt and lime juice. Then taste it. Tastes terrible. Let it sit in the fridge for two hours. Tastes great. Magic.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Bottled salsa different from fresh. OK.

Back to Jin's question, Brig, which you avoided answering directly. It's simple: you say his bottled salsas suck. A strong statement. What I'd like to know is why you feel they suck in comparison to other bottled sauces--and for you to name a few names of the bottled sauces you feel are superior and why. Name the "top you can find" and the "some very good" please.

Also specify which salsas, which blends in the Bayless line you find so egregious--and why. I know, all of them suck, all are poor, all are mediocre, all cost too much--they just do. Dig down in your investigative vocabulary, find some adjectives and try to describe why you feel the way you do. "They do" is not quite enough.

Otherwise, you're just venting, just dissing someone. Anonymously I might add.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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The recipes for fresh salsas in Bayless' books, made with good ingredients, produce wonderful salsas, close in taste to those found on the tables in taquerias. While his jarred salsas lack that freshness and immediacy, I think they're pretty good approximations. I've heard people don't like them because they want those thick, chunky salsas -- I think Bayless' are more authentic.

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Bottled salsa different from fresh.  OK.

Back to Jin's question, Brig, which you avoided answering directly.  It's simple:  you say his bottled salsas suck.  A strong statement.  What I'd like to know is why you feel they suck in comparison to other bottled sauces--and for you to name a few names of the bottled sauces you feel are superior and why.  Name the "top you can find" and the "some very good" please.

Also specify which salsas, which blends in the Bayless line you find so egregious--and why.  I know, all of them suck, all are poor, all are mediocre, all cost too much--they just do.  Dig down in your investigative vocabulary, find some adjectives and try to describe why you feel the way you do.  "They do" is not quite enough.

Otherwise, you're just venting, just dissing someone.  Anonymously I might add.

I understood Awbrig's point to be that for $5 (high for bottled salsa) it should taste better than regular bottled salsa, which it doesn't seem to, according to Awbrig.

I don't understand why you are giving him the third degree about this? Should he have said that it his subjective opinion that they do not taste any better than regular bottled salsa?

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Fair and reasoned response or third degree?

Try to imagine the merit eGulleteers would find in this statement:

"Charlie Trotter's restaurant sucks. It just does. For the prices you pay you'd expect it to better than restaurants at half the price. Trust me on this."

You've shown him one way to be more qualitative. Toby has shown him an even more thoughtful, more helpful way when she wrote: "his jarred salsas lack that freshness and immediacy." That's a criteria at least you can build on and explore and discuss.

Which then brings me back to which other bottled salsas regardless of price you're comparing them to--and which ones seem not to lack freshness or immediacy as much.

The third degree seems warranted in this case.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Fair and reasoned response or third degree?  

Try to imagine the merit eGulleteers would find in this statement:

"Charlie Trotter's restaurant sucks.  It just does.  For the prices you pay you'd expect it to better than restaurants at half the price.  Trust me on this."

third degree :raz:

But I don't think his point was that there is a better bottled salsa than Bayless. Perhaps all bottled salsa sucks. Just that for a premium price one should expect better than the rest, that's all, and that it failed to taste better.

*note (I don't know enough about bottled salsa's to comment on which are good or bad, and I have never had Bayless)

I think I will let Awbrig respond. :biggrin:

*2nd note: Steve Klc... you keep editing your responses without a note that it has been edited. This is the 2nd time in this thread you have done that, and makes it harder to respond to your responses. :blink:

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Well, then we disagree. Wouldn't be the first time.

Good point about all bottled sauces sucking, Blue. Again, if that is the case, that's a different issue and any member would be free to make that case, free to explain why they feel that way. Brig might feel that way, I doubt it, but if he did then perhaps saying "How can Charlie Trotter's, Rick Bayless's and all the other celebrity chef pricey bottled sauces suck so bad?" would be more appropriate.

No, the issue still stands, as Jinmyo posted previously and as I framed--which are the bottled salsas Brig finds superior to Bayless and why?

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I had a fresh salsa business for a couple of years; the farmer I worked with wanted to make a canned sauce, and I just wouldn't do it; it seemed the antithesis of what table salsas were about. While I roasted (on a comal) the vegetables I used -- tomatoes, garlic, chiles, tomatillos -- I didn't cook them together as a sauce. Once you can them, they're subjected to a lot of heat and the taste is going to change.

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Clearly, this is all a matter of opinion. I bought some Herdez salsa after reading here how great it was. I didn't think it was that great. My favorite, as of now, is Ro Tel Pico de Gallo Salsa. It's ingredient list isn't as pristine as Herdez's salsa, but I think it tastes better. Why? I like recognizable chunks of vegetables in my salsa - the bigger the better. The Ro Tel brand had more chunks. Also, the Herdez stuff came in a can and I can detect a metallic flavor in their salsa that must come from being tinned. Ro Tel's stuff is in a glass jar. I make salsa that is far, far better than jarred/tinned salsa. But I'm also a sucker for convenience.

Oh, and hey! I like to hear specifics too!

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Which brings us back to Toby's astute comment of Bayless "While his jarred salsas lack that freshness and immediacy, I think they're pretty good approximations."

Comparing bottled or canned to fresh seems unproductive due to process. Perhaps there is a bottled salsa somewhere which compares favorably, if so, I'd like to know what it might be.

Comparing bottled to bottled, though, against some standard of achievement that's possible within the category, with some specific observations, still seems warranted if you want to make the case the Bayless bottled salsas "suck."

Like Ladybug contributing helpfully with "I like recognizable chunks of vegetables in my salsa - the bigger the better. The Ro Tel brand had more chunks. Also, the Herdez stuff came in a can and I can detect a metallic flavor."

Now we're gettin' somewhere--toward her criteria and how she assesses salsa. Specifics are good.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Speaking of fresh salsa, do you have a great recipe for one?  Im planning on eating a lot of chips and "fresh" :smile:  salsa this weekend as I watch the playoff games!

What time do the Bears play? oh... sorry... I forgot they didn't make the playoffs.

johnjohn

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Also, the Herdez stuff came in a can and I can detect a metallic flavor."

Herdez also packs its salsas into jars. I believe they are better. I most often make my own, but sometimes do buy Herdez in jars: Salsa Casera - mild, medium or hot, depending on what I'm using it for and to whom I'm serving it; and Salsa Verde - a tangy tomatillo sauce.

I have seen Herdez products in cans for sale all over the globe, but have also seen the jars in many places. If you don't want to make salsa from scratch, I'd suggest you search out Herdez. In jars.

As Ladybug says, however, it is all a matter of opinion. I don't want to lure Plotnicki in here for a long stay by pointing out that in this, as in all food matters, what tastes good to one person is subjective. But that's the truth, of course.

However, having been a long-time veteran of the salsa wars (including preparing fresh, preparing partially-fresh, purchasing cans and jars of prepared, etc.) (much of my experience having been forced upon me, I hasten to add, because of the remote locations where I have lived), and having tried countless brands of prepared salsas (including "award-winning" this and "cookoff-winning" that) (and Bayless'), in my opinion, and to my taste, the best of the widely-available, commercially-prepared lot is Herdez. In jars.

I've also lived places where Herdez in jars was not available, so I've bought canned. I have often lamented the fact that, to me anyway, their canned product is not so good as the jarred versions.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Steve,

I wasnt try to pick a fight with you :smile:

I love salsa. I, of course, like fresh salsa the best. If I cant get fresh salsa or dont have the time to make it - which I rarely do - I will pick up a bottle of it or a container in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods. Most of the time they are very poor.

I have been very disappointed with Rick's salsas and bottled sauces because of the fact that I love Frontera Grill so much that I have high expectations of his retail products to be of superior quality - which I feel they arent.

In others words, they taste bad to me. Right here in front of me I am trying the Frontera Grill Tomato Jalapeno Salsa and it has a very strange aftertaste. My wife and my friend Greg both concur it tastes awful. It doesnt taste like salsa. My wife and I have found that his salsas have very different flavor combinations that do not work together - in our opinion. And most have a strange aftertaste. We have tried them all and havent found one we liked.

As far as what bottled sauces we do like I will have to goto the store and pick up a few that I enjoy and get back to you on the names.

Ill try to do a salsa tasters test in the next week or so complete with pictures and brief reviews.

Anyway, if anyone does like Ricks sauces I hope you werent offended by my post and that you continue to enjoy them. :smile:

Edited by awbrig (log)
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Brig--there's only one of his salsas, with chipotle, that I can say I like--and I think my opinion comes closer to Toby's in that it is a close approximation of, but inferior to, something you could perhaps make yourself or get fresh. I have no problem with anyone expressing an opinion of the Bayless products. I'm eager for you to back up your tough talk with some specifics, that's all and back it up with some comparison to other bottled salsas--which you have said you tried and which you deemed better--so in a sense to get you to define for us your criteria for judgement and the bottled salsas you consider to be good--to be superior to Bayless--and to say why.

Other than that, I love your tough talk. The people who champion the Bayless sauces can defend themselves and I'd try to get them to tell me why they liked them with as much vigor as I tried to get you to be more specific.

"Bayless salsas are great" is just as unhelpful as "Bayless salsa sucks."

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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point taken

However I am not as good as most of you at describing what I am eating or using the proper adjectives to describe food or as to why I dislike or like someting in fine detail.

I will however go out and buy 5 assorted bottled salsas and a few fresh salsas and try to compare them for anyone interested on a separate post - in the next few days - with pics, of course...

Edited by awbrig (log)
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I read an article once about some guy who was trying to bottle and sell his salsa recipe (or maybe it was BBQ sauce but the point is the same). The first thing they wanted to do was replace all his fresh ingredients with bulk items.

For example

fresh tomotoes replaced by tomato paste and water

fresh garlic replaced by garlic powder

fresh onions replaced by onion powder

etc

The canner/bottler said this was neccessary to produce a uniform product. When someone buys a jar of salsa they want it to always taste the same, so fresh ingredients are replaced by consistent ingredients.

By the way, I second the Herdez recommendation, and I even like the cans.

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Once you can them, they're subjected to a lot of heat and the taste is going to change.

period. awbrig, if you buy bottled salsa, don't eat it with chips. i use bottled salsa for, example, in chilaquiles. i posted a recipe on the mexico thread a long time ago for a green salsa that can be frozen, and then thawed and dumped over sliced potatoes with asadero and crema and cooked to make a great casserole.

make your own--it's so easy. and if you're really picky, wait til summer when peppers and tomatoes etc are at their best.

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