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Ohio’s Own: 2 From the Salsa Scene

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Ohio’s Own: 2 From the Salsa SceneWhich Ohio-made salsa will you try? Photo by Miriam Bowers Abbott
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Ohio isn’t exactly well-known as the Capital of Salsa. The spiked tomato slurry is more typically associated with parts of the world well to the south. It just happens to be the case that a couple Ohio salsas on the grocery shelves demanded some attention this week. 

But first, this is not a competition. There will be no Salsa Showdown today. Some comparisons between the two jars may be inevitable, but we’re not picking favorites. 

Barrio, the restaurant, sells its salsas in jarred versions. Made in Cleveland (where Barrio is headquartered), its salsa has an ingredient list that discloses the proprietary combo for the Salsa Roja mix: tomatillos, tomatoes, onions, red peppers, cilantro, serrano peppers, jalapeño, vinegar, lime, salt, some more stuff. It’s a big ingredient list of mostly natural-sounding items. The end result is a pleasantly runny mix that hits with heavy tart and salty notes. It’s got some zip for your chips. 

Guy Fieri is from Ohio, and so is his salsa, which lists a Boardman, Ohio origin. Ingredient-wise, for a jar of the Chipotle version, we’re looking at tomato, onion, chipotle, garlic, jalapeño…a lot of the same players as in the Barrio brew, but truly a very different result. Guy’s has a richer, chip-sticking thickness, and a flavor that celebrates the tomato and smoky chipotle mix. 

So, all in, they’re two very different salsas. They both have a little spiked kick, but their defining features couldn’t be more different. This makes a good reason to buy both: for variety, and it keeps your palate from getting bored.

The next question is: Where would you find both these products in one stop? The answer would be Marc’s. It’s not just a closeout place, it’s an Ohio-Proud operation, and its shelves are filled with interesting brands from the Buckeye State.*

*Case in point, trying to figure out Guy’s sauce origin led to another find: Marc’s stocks a lot of Gia Russa pasta. It turns out Gia Russa is Ohio-Proud (Youngstown) too.

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