Compared to this spring's intense experience at SF Food Wars' Mac and Cheese Battle Royale, Sunday's salsa battle was like a sweet walk in the park. The venue, in a penned-in area outside the Ferry Building, was breezy and open, and the lines were never long. It was great to be outside during San Francisco's 15 minutes of daily sunshine, and 18 servings of tortilla chips and salsa don't wreak the havoc on your innards that 100 pounds of cheesy noodles will.
We found some of the sweeter entries a bit cloying, like the Summer Sweet, Summer Spice made with a peach and pear blend, or the Salsa Pine-a-peno, and we would have liked some more amped-up painfully hot contestants, but we suppose you have to play to the crowds.
We sampled everything, besides two booths that ran out of supplies, (including, sadly, Los Pares Deliciosos, whose grandma-given recipe took home runner-up in the People's Choice Awards) and there were very few duds in the bunch. All the competitors used fresh farmer's market produce, which it's difficult to find fault with.
Our favorite non-traditional entrant of the day was the Chilesco Salsa from Team Chip Trick, which blended almonds, hazelnuts and toasted bread with roasted tomatoes, garlic, and ultra-mild chilies, for a nutty orange melding that lingered on the tongue. At first it was too bizarre to enjoy but once we acclimated to the idea that it technically counted as salsa, we found ourselves going back for seconds.
Here's what the judges thought:
People's Choice: Team #11, Team Hellapeños / Salsa Delfina
People's Choice Honorable Mention: Team #7, Los Pares Deliciosos / Veraniega Sabrosa
Judges' 1st Place: Team #2, DoomBunny en Fuego / Ceviche Verdura
Judges' 2nd Place: Team #17, Huuyub / Green Monster
Judges' 3rd Place: Team #6, bangbangsalsa / salsa #9
Photog's Choice: Team #4, Southern Comfort / Peaches and Scream
More info on the entrants can be found on the SF Food Wars website, but what that won't tell you is how the People's Choice top winner gave a rousing "Fuck you all!" to the audience as he left the mike. Classy!
UPDATE: Robin Knight of Salsa Delfina sent SFoodie this statement:
I just want to apologize for my brothers' statement following our win at the Great Salsa Championship on Sunday. As the other half of his team I was horrified to hear him insult the crowd who helped us win, instead of thank them. It was completely disrespectful to all of the attendees who participated and in no way does it reflect how the company Salsa Delfina feels about its fans and customers. I am beyond grateful to everyone who voted for us.