When Hatch pepper season comes to our local H.E.B (that’s our Texas-owned chain supermarket) I rejoice. H.E.B. goes really overboard with their Hatch marketing, and they put these chiles in damn near every single thing you can imagine. And I buy every goddamned one of them. I bought hatch chile lime cookies last year that were spicy and sweet. They were heavenly. The Hatch season only runs for a month or so in late summer, and this is honestly the only time of the year where I won’t bitch about going to the grocery store to my wife.
Now, Central Market is H.E.B.’s upscale brand. It’s not generic, they do a really good job with most of these products, and I quite often prefer them to the standard name brands. So when you add together Hatch chilis, salsa, and Central Market, I’m already lining up to buy with dollars in my hand. Cue the Internet meme, “Take my money!”
But before I go down that path, I have to point out one serious flaw – the name. Calling something “Green Chili Salsa Verde” is calling it “Green Chili Salsa Green.” And that annoys the hell out of me. H.E.B knows better, this is the store where the express line states, “15 items or FEWER” instead of the incorrect, “less.” So I am a bit put off that they could miss the mark so easily here. Cleary their best editor was out the day this label was designed.
So to the point, I’m ready to have an out-of-body chile experience, only to be completely underwhelmed by the flavor. It’s not bold, it’s not exciting, it’s also not bad. It’s just not great. It doesn’t live up to the reason I’m so crazy about hatch chiles. I’m disappointed severely by this salsa. But again, I don’t want to say it’s bad. It’s not, it just isn’t as great as hatch chili salsa should be. Then there’s one other flaw. It’s 20 calories per 2 tbsp. That’s four times the Salt Lick Mesquite salsa. Clearly, calories do not indicate flavor.
So off I go to the store for my next batch of salsa, eager to find my salsa equivalent of a soul mate. I may suffer from chronically high expectations.