Slam dunk

At our third annual Salsa Slam last night, mellow, tradtional, old-school salsas prevailed over flashy and spicy varieties — and when all of the tasting and voting were over, two newcomers walked away with the top prizes.

A four-judge panel (Mayor Liz Lempert; Gab Carbone, proprietor of the bent spoon; and food writers Pat Tanner and Sue Gordon) and hundreds of visitors sampled entries from AgricolaMasala GrillNassau Inn CateringOlivesPrinceton Soup and Sandwich ShopSavory Spice ShopTerra Learning Kitchen at the Princeton Family YMCATortuga’s Mexican VillageYankee Doodle Tap Room and Winberie’s. The entries ranged from the sweet and fruity (Savory Spice’s Cherry Chipolte and Nassau Catering’s Fire Roasted Peach Salsa with Pickled Fennel Seed) to the very hot (Princeton Soup & Sandwich’s Hot Salsa and Masala Grill’s Mango Salsa), but in the end what impressed the judges were the subtilties and flavors of three relatively milder, somewhat more traditional entries. 

Runners up were Mild Salsa by Olives and Kimchi Heirloom Tomato Salsa by Agricola, which featured no fewer than nine ingredients from local farms. The winner and new Princeton Salsa Champion was Terra Learning Kitchen for its Salsa Verde (Medium). That’s Alix Del Cid in the photo accepting the award for TLK.

When the votes were tabulated, those in attendance had chosen Masala Grill and Olives as runners-up and the Secret Family Recipe of Tortuga’s Mexican Village as the People’s Choice Award-winner. Lots of local media were on hand to record the proceedings, including this story with great photos from The Times of Trenton. It was another great Salsa Slam. See you next year.

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