Posted by: roamingolivia | April 12, 2010

Real salsa

If you’re a Texan (which, really, everyone should be), you know a simple rule of travel which goes essentially like this: Don’t eat salsa outside your home state. You might, in a sad moment, go to a Mexican/Tex-Mex restaurant, but it will inevitably be bad. It might even have good margaritas, but the real test – one all so-called Mexican restaurants abroad fail – is the salsa test. It is really almost impossible to find good, real salsa abroad.

The other night, I went with some friends to a bar, which was not particularly promising-looking and definitely was not a Mexican restaurant. We were hungry, though, so we ordered hamburgers and sat down to wait.

They brought out salsa, which was not the dark-read color of ketchup but the real color of salsa, but I still did not expect much from it. Then I tasted it. It was amazing.

“Where did they get this?” I wondered. Then I ate another chip, and wondered it aloud. It tasted pretty much exactly like the best salsa in Texas, which is from Leal’s (a restaurant that started in my grandmother’s town of Muleshoe but you can buy the salsa all over the state – or get it shipped online).

By the sixth chip, I was demanding that we ask the waiter where they got it from. He came out, said they got it in huge five-liter jugs from Mexico. We asked if you can buy it in the store, and he said you could, but then claimed the “brand name” was “chili sauce”, which is not really a brand name. I don’t even know the name of this restaurant/bar, but I will be there. A lot. If you come to visit, I will probably make you go as well.


  1. Hell, I’m excited because we’re finally getting a Chipotle in London. Small mercies.

    • I LOVE CHIPOTLE. I went to the fake Chipotle in Manchester all the time, Bar Burrito, which really is probably going to be in legal trouble soon, since it appeared to have stolen literally everything from Chipotle, from the typeface to the menu, and yet has no commerical relationship to the company:

      Apparently there is one in Liverpool too now.

  2. Yeah, it’s on the top level of the new city mall, which may or may not have just opened when you went there.

    Next to Yo! Sushi. The idea of sushi restaurants in Liverpool is just too much for me, I must confess.

  3. man, you are NOT KIDDING about the salsa problem. i can’t believe you can get great salsa in milan, and i can’t manage to get anything decent in georgia. PLUS, half the time, restaurants CHARGE for salsa and chips — ?!?!?

  4. LEAL’S!!!!! I took David to one of the last remaining Leal’s in Clovis or someplace a few years ago. BEST. TEX-MEX. EVER. I hadn’t thought about their AMAZING salsa in years till I read this post today. Now I think we’ll have to make a road trip to Muleshoe or someplace when we are home this summer!

  5. BTW: Muleshoe. What a great name for a town.

  6. So I just thought, hey, I should go to Muleshoe, Texas, and check out their salsa, and then I looked it up on google maps and found out it is on the other side of Lubbock. So probably not. Though I really ought to go to Lubbock to visit some friends up there…maybe I can make them take me. Um. Lubbock. Yeah.

    Well, at least I could go see the Buddy Holly Museum. And Littlefield is on the way to Muleshoe from Lubbock. And that’s where Waylon Jennings was from. I think.

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