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Nov 18, 2012 02:44 PM

Raleigh Triangle - Your Favorite Salsa

I have seen salsas mentioned occasionally on various threads about particular Mexican or Latin American restaurants, but I haven't seen a thread combining them all. So let's start one! Let us know about your favorite salsa at a restaurant in the Raleigh-Durham-Cary area. Tell us about the heat level, color, and flavor characteristics. I'm more interested in restaurant-specific salsas than in bottled salsas available in supermarkets.

I'll start the ball rolling with a shout-out to my favorite. El Cerro restaurant in Cary at 3434 Kildaire Farm Rd. in the same complex as Wake Technical Community College. The magic salsa is served by request only. It is NOT what they bring you automatically at the table with your chips.

Ask for the dark red super hot salsa if you really appreciate a good burn, but also a lot of flavor. This tastes like it has a combination of habanero and maybe chipotle or ancho. Plenty of fire, but a hint of smokiness (not too much). It has no chunks like a pico de gallo, and is generally smooth, but not runny and watery. There are flakes of real pepper in it, letting you know it's not just an infusion. It is also not a vinegar based salsa (I happen to hate those). They make it in-house.

The restaurant is hard to recommend apart from the salsa. Get the carnitas. They are actually very good. The chips are pretty good too. Everything else we have tried has been absolutely terrible. But I keep going back for the carnitas and hot salsa!

Okay, your turn.

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  1. I"m a fan of Yah's Best which sells at the NC State Farmer's Market. They've got a ton of varieties but typically super-fresh, flavorful salsa....

    1 Reply
    1. re: RonboNC

      I would agree with this post. Several varieties to choose from and it's fresh. And by fresh I don't just mean tasty but will spoil within a week or so, so plan accordingly.

    2. I've been guilty of eating Fiesta Grill's salsa with a spoon after getting takeout.

      I also enjoy most of the salsa bar at NanaTaco, but particularly the spicy pickled veg.

      1. We stopped on a whim at a Taco Truck last week. I think it might be this one listed on the Carpe Durham website as:
        DC #72 TACO TRUCK (3801 WAKE FOREST HWY #106 LA PLAZACATINACARNICE) . But not sure. It's in the small tiny retail area with a latino western wear store. They had a terrific green salsa. Plus their tacos were among the best I ever had. Made fresh there and bulging with good stuff. But we saved that salsa. It was special.

        1. I do like the Chipotle salsa they serve at Carrburritos.

          1. I could swear that the El Dorado's/Rodeo's/Torrero's are all pretty much the same. On The Border may be a big corporate chain but their table salsa kicks the butt of the aforementioned ones. La Vaquita has a really good salsa and the now closed Salamandra in Durham had a great avacado/tomatillo salsa.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LBD

              I agree. Salsa and fresh chips from On the Border were wonderful. We really miss the one in Durham. In fact, we haven't found a good rice and beans kind of Mexican restaurant to replace it and don't think we haven't tried. Somehow the Durham cantina was better than either the one in Cary or North Raleigh.

              Salsa at Tonali can be terrific but you just never know which one he's going to make. And it's definitely not a gooey enchillada, rice and beans kind of place.