Salsa de Mesa: Getting Lost in the Sauce
In hindsight, I’m not very adventurous when it comes to food. That is not to say that I’m a picky eater, I’ll eat anything in fact, from kimchi to katakat. However, I tend to get comfortable frequenting the same eateries and ordering the same foods. As a result of which, I often end up being the last person to check out any new restaurant that opens up in Lahore. So kindly excuse the fact that I only recently came across Big Moe’s Diner, and that too begrudgingly. Urooj and I decided to stop by for a quick lunch after a surprisingly early day off from work, she had been raving about their house-made Salsa de Mesa for a hot minute.
The diner itself looked like Danny Zuko’s wet dream and the music got a shimmy or two out of Urooj. The onion rings were life altering and the burger really hit the sweet spot. But that’s not what I want to talk about, because I want to wax poetic about their sauce. Not ketchup, sauce. I had barely noticed the big glass ‘ketchup’ bottle when we first sat down in our booth, but then my compatriot reached for it eagerly and informed me that what we beheld was going to rock my world. The bottle top was quickly discarded, and 2/3rd of the bottle was emptied out onto a plate.
Excessive? Hold that thought.
Whereas I had been expecting run of the mill ketchup, the contents of the bottle turned out to be Salsa de Mesa, otherwise known as table salsa. I grabbed an onion ring, precariously balanced a big scoop of Salsa de Mesa on it, and bit in. There is no adequate way to describe how transcendent that first bite was. A zesty jumble of tomato, hot herbaceous chilies and zingy green onion, salt and acid in the form of vinegar or citrus juices. The smell, the taste, the texture: my kinda sensory overdrive.
In that moment I wept tears for the tías I never had. I was willing to sacrifice an arm if it meant taking a big batch of this Salsa de Mesa home with me. Between the two of us, that onion ring platter was gone in 50 seconds. Thereafter, for the duration of our meal I kept alternating between eating my burger and consuming Salsa de Mesa by the spoonfuls.
Urooj was sufficiently amused by my enthusiasm and offered to pilfer a bottle for me. I’d be lying if I say that it didn’t turn me on a little. Love danger. Loved that Salsa de Mesa. Which is precisely why it deserved a separate article, stay tuned for a complete review of Big Moe’s Diner.
Patience, sweet buttercup.