Best Salsa - 2008
Just how good is Zona Fresca's daily-made habanero salsa? Good enough that, despite the possibility of bodily harm — evidenced by the plumes of scorching heat trailing from your mouth down to the pit of your belly — you'll want to consume way more of it than you or any other human rightly should. The salsa — constructed of grill-charred tomatoes, onions, and peppers, complemented by a generous portion of cilantro and those frighteningly piquant habaneros — tastes of summer, a mélange of sweet, savory, and spicy with just the right balance of acidity. It has an uncanny knack for making you return to the always-free salsa bar for cup after cup of the stuff, to slather on your monster burritos or scoop up with salty tortilla chips. It also slowly burns as you eat it, building a five-alarm fire in your insides that continues to smolder throughout the day. Yes, you could wimp out and eat Zona's fabulous mild salsa instead, which tastes just as vibrant but foregoes the heat. But it's precisely that head-clearing warmth that launches you into a state of salsa-induced euphoria — a trip which might induce some pain, but from which you will most assuredly gain.