This past Sunday was hot, hot, HOT!! We’re talking about the taste-testing, rum-ranking, super spicy Florida Salsa Fest!
Sweet, Spicy Salsa Fest Sunday
The dance floor heated up with salsa dancing. We stuffed our stomachs with a medley of dipping salsas. Some salsas contained pineapples, some contained alcohol, and others contained the traditional dealio: tomatoes, onions, tomato sauce, and pepper.
The sun was shining, and the streets were smiling. People laughed, they ate, they celebrated, and they danced. Oh, they danced!
The focus seemed to be on the salsa and the drinks. There were very few food options. But when I found an option, they made it count. Venturing into the shade (where the wind was also going a little crazy) was On the Border tostados.
As I walked up to the booth, the wind would NOT calm down. One of the On The Border menus flew off the table, hitting the grill. The girl behind the counter went to pick it up. My dress nearly flew upward, not in my favor!! Thankfully I was able to keep it down. Then I joked with my friends that I was trying to get a free taco. I held my dress for the rest of my time in the windy city.
I stopped for a few minutes to admire the people dancing. It was so enjoyable people watching, to see all the people come together to dance in front of strangers, but to smile and giggle and act so carefree.
Peep the Piping Publix Pepper
Publix hosted a live Apron class to show us how salsa’s made! The presenters were really fun and energetic, getting the crowd laughing and excited. The Publix chef prepared the homemade salsa by chopping up vegetables, one of which was a jalapeno pepper. Oooooeeee!!
The host with the mic half-jokingly said whoever eats the remaining pepper, FULL of out-of-this-world spicy seeds, would receive a free cooking class. Those classes are anywhere from $45 to $100!
Out of nowhere, a young guy walks up, in his late 20’s maybe early 30’s, in a tank top, shorts, a hat, and a tattoo on his leg that read “NO FEAR”. Appropriate.
He started shouting, “Yeahhhh!!!!” He looked around at the crowded, we all started clapping and cheering, “Riiick! Riiick!” and then…he ate the entire pepper. And the crowd went even wilder!!! We all started chanting “Riiiick” again, clapping and whistling for the lad.
Rick wound up scoring not one, but two free Publix Apron classes. He quickly walked away, and other Publix employees gave him salsa and water to cool off. He walked away after that and celebrated with his family.
After watching the salsa class, it was time to keep it going with salsa tastings!
Tenacious Taste Test
My top two tastings from the Salsa Fest were: Zona Fresca, and Tamale Co.
Zona Fresca made an unbelievable salsa. It was simple in that it LOOKED like salsa with the tomatoes, onions, juice, and cilantro topped off. But it tasted like it was from out of this world. It was chunky, spicy, and perfect for chips and tacos.
Tamale Co. gave us FOUR different salsa samples. The mild chili salsa was unbelievable. It was smooth, a little spicy, and perfect for dipping. I wanted to dip everything and anything in this sauce. Chips, tacos, burritos, arepas, maybe even some chicken tenders! I definitely gave my salsa voting coin to the Tamale Co.
There was a salsa dance competition at the end. There were some REALLY advanced dancers! One couple did a flip. Other couples twisted and turned as fast as they could, shaking to the beats of the live band.
This was the second Salsa Fest in Orlando, and it was an awesome way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I was tired from all the food and sun. It was a great day. I love local events like this!