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Feb 6, 2006 12:46 AM

Mochi-mochi, I think I figured out something about Tito's salsa

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So while eating our gringo tacos today at Tito's, Mr. Creosote and I were picking through the salsa (and the dumpster, clearly we've hit a new low) to look for clues.

Upon closer inspection (see photos), we noticed tiny bits of carrot and that the chiles seemed an olivey green color intead of bright, and I'd mentioned a possible vinegar connection in your previous inquiry. Well, when you eat just the little bits of carrot, they tasted slightly vinegary and I'm thinking there's pickled/marinated Mexican vegetables in it. Yeah? Oh, and judging from their garbage, they use a bunch of different kinds of tomatoes, including Romas. Hope this helps.

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  1. You must try the tacos without the cheese! theytaste MUCH better that way!

    The carrots come from their incorporating some of their green sauce (diced pickled jalapenos and carrots) into the salsa.

    Maybe we're all over guessing and it's simply a little of the green sauce, some salt and pepper and a lot of tomatoes put through a processor.

    Whatever it is I want some now!

    9 Replies
    1. re: mar52

      LOL, I always get their tacos without cheese, cuz I live like 20 miles away and I bring them home. Nothing like melted soggy cheese-PLUS they charge too much for cheese. I'm so cheap, I grate my own... Well, I think you are right on with the veggie mix. Herdez has the carrots and jalapenos... I have tried making it as I saw it and it was definitely missing something. I used Romas, tomatillos, jalapenos,lots of pepper,Balsamic vinegar, salt,onions,lime juice, hmmm and I think that was it, tasted good but not Tito's by a long shot. I'll keep trying. Thanks for your help. Let's keep at it!

      1. re: mochi-mochi

        Cracks me up that you add the cheese at home. I always grumble to myself about the price.

        The balsamic is a novel approach!

        1. re: petradish

          When it comes right down to it, I'm cheap, but I still don't like my cheese-clear looking and oil seeping out of it when eating my taco. Yeah, I think balsamic adds wonderful flavor to salsa, but I don't think Tito's uses it, cuz it sure didn't taste like it!

        2. re: mochi-mochi

          Think back to when Tito's began. Did they know about Balsamic back then? Maybe white vinegar.

          I have also always wondered about that fabulously delicious green stuff that used to be free.

          Back in the 80's a guy hired someone that worked at Tito's and opened up his own taco stand in the spot that Alejos is in in Marina del Rey.

          His salsa was dead on! His tacos were not because he didn't have the traffic so they weren't fresh.

          If he could do it... we should be able to!

          New motto...

          Taste the Taco, Not the Cheese!

          However, I do like the cheese on the tostados.

        3. re: mar52

          No yellow cheese? You're insane ;-P

          Next: what the heck is in that guacamole? Actually no, that stuff scares me.

          1. re: petradish

            The guacasaucemole thing. Scares me too. :)
            I have to have my yellow cheese also. And lots of it, freshly grated... But I will try one day without the cheese to see if mar52 is right.

            1. re: petradish

              I couldn't imagine the tacos without the cheese. The salsa could be eaten by the spoonful, like soup. I think you're right about the pickled carrots but Tito's green salsa packs much more of a punch than the red so if there is any green incorporated into the red, the proportions would have to be something like 100:1 red:green. Please don't be scared by the guacamole, although it doesn't taste much like avocado. It adds a creamy texture to the whole enchilada, pardon the expression. It's cheap enough, try it sometime. I like to spoon some into my tacos with cheese, and additionally dip bites of the tacos into the guac. It's good spooned onto chips along with the red salsa. I didn't exactly grow up with Tito's although I grew up a lot on the Westside, but as a senior at Pali High in 1976 I got a job at Fox Hills Mall and some co-workers introduced me to Tito's. Tito's green salsa as well as its guacamole are rather similar to the same items at Campos Famous Burritos at 20th/Pico in Santa Monica, I've been eating there since 1973 and eat there a lot more often than I do at Tito's.

              1. re: Debbie W.

                Not afraid of the guacamole at all. Love the stuff!

                Just wish I knew what I was eating. Is it sour cream? Is it mayonnaise? Avocado?

                I've been eating at Tito's since the tacos were 25ยข each and the guacamole and cheese (NO!) were free.

                There used to be a few sets of 3 clear glass bowls with metal lids where you could help yourself to the 2 salsas and guacamole.

                The tacos and the burritos used to be bigger and I used to be smaller.

                Those were the days!

                1. re: Debbie W.

                  I just can't get used to their guacamole... I make my own or if I am on the eastside buy it from El Tepeyac. Simple plain guacamole with their chile sauce-divine. I remember when Tito's was on Sepulveda. I think in 1964-1965? Lived in it wasn't such a drive, then in the 70's lived in Culver City off of Overland. So we indulged. Those were the days. Thanks for helping. We should be able to get this one day! Tito's salsa rocks...

            2. You are awesome and your photos are too great. Makes me hungry. Love that stuff! OK, so we have more clues.
              I need to experiment... Thanks so much, you are definitely the best Salsa Detectivo! I'm pumped. I'll let you know.

                1. Ah, Tito's salsa! I'm planning on duplicating this sometime soon, as I'm pretty sure what's in it:

                  White onions ( I suspect they are using white onions, not yellow)
                  Ground black pepper
                  Pickled jalapenos & some of the pickling juice, which is what gives the salsa that slight vinegary kick. I'll have to experiment with the ratios, of course.

                  I noted in a post recently that Tito's tacos aren't really that good on their own, but when you add the salsa, something alchemical happens.

                  What I'd really like to get is the recipe for their chile colorado, so if anyone has an idea or close approximation, please post!

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Moose

                    I just made this. Very interesting! I wish others would join in, It's very close.

                    I used three medium sized tomatoes, half large white onion, and one large pickled pepper. Mine was too spicy, so I think I need to use a quarter pickled pepper. you are right about the ratios. I taste too much onion in mine. Next time I would blend everything but the tomatoes, then add tomatoes and blend them. Tito's sauce seems to be redder too?

                    Thanks again! oh, and i'd LOVE that chile colorado recipe too. I am making this one today.

                    I'll let you know if it's close.

                    1. re: Moose

                      I've used regular Gebhardt's Chili Powder with miscellaneous Mexican spices for the burrito filling and it comes close. Gringo style.

                      1. re: mochi mochi

                        Did you make the recipe I posted above? You say it's "gringo style?" I didn't know that.

                        Hey, Moose, just wanted to say that this salsa IS ON THE MONEY! So good! You got it, good job!

                        1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                          No, I didn't try your recipe. I just threw Gebhardt's Chili Powder and a bunch of other spices in and it was more a gringo style burrito filling that tasted pretty similar to Tito's. Sorry...

                          1. re: LuluTheMagnificent


                            Thanks for the link to the chile colorado recipe. I looked it up and it got great reviews, so we're cooking it up tonight. I happened to find a USDA Prime pot roast on sale at the market, so at least the meat will be good.

                            1. re: Moose

                              Your welcome, I couldn't post for a few days. how did it turn out?

                              1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                We made the recipe as directed, but were disappointed - it lacked something I can't put my finger on, perhaps more chile flavor. Maybe guajillos would have been better than new Mexican chiles...

                                1. re: Moose

                                  I agree. I am thinking cumin and chile powder. I think tito's has cumin, no?