Food Fight

Food Fight: Battle Chips and Salsa

For Battle Chips and Salsa, I decided to pit one of my local favorites, Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe on Airline, against mega-chain Pappasito's. In a city filled with great chips and salsa, let's see how these two stacked up.

Teotihuacan Mexican Café

From here on out, I'll be referring to this place as Teo's. Typing and saying the name of this restaurant is a pain in the ass. You know what's not a pain in the ass? Eating their delicious chips and salsa. As you can see, Teo's serves up both a red and green salsa--but first let's get to the chips. They're fresh, not greasy, and have an excellent crunch, with a perfect middle-of-the-road texture. The chips aren't too thick, but can hold up to dipping and transporting salsa from bowl to mouth. It's hard to imagine a better chip. The green salsa was served cold and was so well-seasoned. The tang from the tomatillos really shined through. It was cool, with a little tail end of spiciness from the jalapenos. The red salsa was served warm and had that smoky chipotle taste, and carried a higher heat content than its green partner.


Go ahead and say what you will about Pappasito's. There are a few things they do well, and the chips and salsa combo is one of them. The chips are famous for being so light and delicate. This is great for eating plain, but can cause problems when dipping. Chip fragments are generally left in the salsa. There are worse things in life, but still I'd have to label this a slight downfall. Pappasito's serves up a red and a green sauce--both, as you would expect, extremely mild. The warm, red salsa had a little more heat and was fairly soupy, and had a nice smokiness. I wanted more heat, but again quickly realized where I was sitting. The creamy, guacamole-based green salsa was laden with cilantro, but was lacking a citrusy element. It was still delicious, and I found myself adding it to my entrée.

The verdict

Both were excellent choices, but I'd go with Teo's. The chips were slightly better, and the heat from both the red and green salsas gave them the edge. The most impressive aspect however, was that tomatillo tanginess in the green salsa.

Next up, we're doing a food fight with ribs. Actually, think of this one as a brawl. That's right, the biggest, baddest battle yet. I'm organizing a rib crawl where 15 people will go to five barbeque joints and anoint a winner. We'll see who out of Gatlin's, Pierson & Company's, Burns, Pizzatola's, and Gabby's has the best ribs.

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Kevin Shalin
Contact: Kevin Shalin