alexalltogether alexalltogether wrote in customers_suck
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salsa woes

Pico de Gallo is: tomatos, cilantro, onion, jalapenos, lime juice, and salt.

me: "Would you like a mild salsa on this, or something hotter?"
customer: "Mild."
me: (gesturing to each) "The Pico de Gallo or Corn Salsa?"
customer: "No Pico! I don't WANT Pico!"
me: "Okay, so some of the Corn Salsa?"
customer: "No! I want the tomato stuff!"
me: "This?"
customer: "Yes!"
me: "Ma'am, this is Pico de Gallo."
customer: "Oh."
me: "Would you still like some?"
customer: "Yes."



2013-04-04 11:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

I grew up in Chicago. I was only vaguely aware of "salsa" before we moved to Houston, and was unaware of pico de gallo until after we relocated. I dunno that I'd necessarily call it a "suck" that your customer didn't understand what you meant the first time you said pico, more like a WTF. Just my two cents.



2013-04-04 11:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

I dunno, looks like the OP was pointing to the different options?


2013-04-04 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

I think the OP was, judging by their description of the scene, but if the customer was like me immediately after relocating, I might have been looking at what the OP was pointing to but not listening to what it was called, or maybe the customer knew what "salsa" was but was unaware of the term "pico de gallo", so the customer was waiting for the OP to say something like "tomato salsa". IOW, when the customer didn't actually hear the word "tomato" in the description, that's why the name didn't register and they said "No! I want the tomato stuff!"

Which is not to say, OP, that you did anything "wrong" by describing the salsa by its correct name.

Edited at 2013-04-04 11:53 pm (UTC)


2013-04-04 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Perfectly possible that the customer was used to Pico de Gallo being made from tomatoes, white onion and green chillis. That would tend to be somewhat more on the hot side than the mild she wanted.


2013-04-05 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes, that's what pico is around here! If I went to the OP's place, I definitely wouldn't want pico, as I'm used to pico being this stuff that can burn a hole in your tongue, and possibly melt your spoon.


2013-04-05 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Pico can be of various heat intensities - it's specifically fresh, uncooked salsa made of chopped tomato, onion, usually some kind of chile, and often lime juice and cilantro. The chile can vary or not be present.


2013-04-06 08:07 am (UTC) (Link)

If the chillis are not present then it's not pico. Some weird ass cool salsa but not pico.


2013-04-07 04:54 am (UTC) (Link)

"Pico de gallo" *usually* has chilis, but as it is not actually a recipe so much as a descriptor for something also often called "salsa fresca" or "salsa picada", it is not *required* to. In my experience, it's often one of the mildest salsas on offer, made with a very small amount of chopped jalapeño. All that it means is that it is a chopped fresh salsa. There are regional trends as to how hot it might be or what ingredients might be used.


2013-04-05 12:06 am (UTC) (Link)



2013-04-05 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)

You do know Chicago has a huge Latino population and one of the best Mexican chefs in the country, right?


2013-04-05 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Yeah, I WTFed at that too. I've been in the Chicago area my whole life...we most certainly know what salsa is here.


2013-04-06 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)

I grew up in small town suburban Massachusetts. I worked at Taco Bell. Taco Bell has (had?) pico de gallo. Even in small town Massachusetts. Surely there is Taco Bell in Chicago?


2013-04-04 11:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Pico de Gallo is spanish for "Rooster beak."

Yet it has no chicken in it at all.

How in the hell did it get its name?


2013-04-05 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)

That there is false advertising. We should sue.


2013-04-05 06:58 am (UTC) (Link)

... maybe it's a comment on how much the salsa bites you. I have never known a nice rooster.


2013-04-07 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

According to wikipedia it's named because that's how you ate it, pinching pieces with two fingers as if it was a beak.


2013-04-04 11:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm not a salsa person myself, so I can understand not knowing the names- it was just her frustrated/adamant reaction to something she ended up wanting.


2013-04-04 11:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

At this point (been in Houston 30 plus years now) I love pico, but it's definitely an acquired taste (at least for the non-native Southerners)--it took me a long time to appreciate it :-)


2013-04-05 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

I find that fascinating, I've lived in Indiana, the Philly area and the Chicago area and eaten salsa practically by the spoonful my entire life... I've never thought of it as an acquired taste. (And I'm about as white as they come.)


2013-04-05 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Nightshade1972 said that pico is an acquired taste, not salsa. I don't like pico because of the cilantro, but I do like salsa as long as it's not hot.


2013-04-05 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Pico de gallo is salsa - it's just a specific chunky variety. Many other salsas have cilantro in them as well.


2013-04-05 12:13 am (UTC) (Link)

I never knew what EXACTLY was in pico de gallo. Thanks! And yum!


2013-04-05 01:21 am (UTC) (Link)

My first thought was to wonder if the customer was somehow confusing pico with picante. Or not, I suppose.


2013-04-05 01:28 am (UTC) (Link)

The only pico de gallo I've ever had was super hot, actually.. I've had it numerous places, too.


2013-04-05 02:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Me too, I've never seen it without jalapenos in it except for Chipotle.


2013-04-05 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)

This is intriguing to me, as I've only ever had it in a mild form - tomatoes, onions, cilantro.


2013-04-05 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

The Chipotle here has a pretty spicy pico too. But that might be because it's in Texas, and folks here expect Tex-Mex food to be spicy.


2013-04-05 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)

This too. Honestly, I think we're all learning something here. And I'm glad the customer didn't escalate things because they might've felt they'd been stupid.


2013-04-05 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

I've seen it in all varieties from really mild (no chiles) to fairly spicy. I think green chiles (a bit milder than jalapenos) are the most common, but I haven't taken a survey or anything.


2013-04-05 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Same here, the pico I've seen will melt spoons and scents/flavors anything near it. I never get it just simply because it is so spicy.


2013-04-05 01:41 am (UTC) (Link)

I never did figure out why y'all call the corn salsa hotter. :) (The burrito bar with the new brown rice, yes?)


2013-04-05 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Growing up in Texas, I was told pico de gallo meant 'peck of the chicken', meaning it bit you back like a peck on the tongue. It was also a rough chop of tomatoes, onions, cilantro and a hot pepper. Of course, asking ten different people to describe salsa and/or pico de gallo, you will probably get ten different answers...

Seems like OP's customer didn't really understand the difference. Or she was told pico was hot, not realizing y'all's pico de gallo isn't actually spicy.


2013-04-05 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Ooh! Corn salsa sounds tasty!


2013-04-05 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)



2013-04-05 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Growing up in the burbs East of LA, we learned that any salsa here is milder.

If you go into LA and ask for mild salsa, the uninitiated can have heartburn. I thought I was having a heart attack.


2013-04-05 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Texas can also have some pretty hot salsa. And the pico usually has small green chilies in it that are strong scented. (Their spicy scent will clear your nostrils!)

I tried some supposedly 'mild' salsa once way back before having acid reflux. I couldn't even swallow it, it was so hot. Pico around here tends to melt spoons.

I once had someone who was used to eating spicy stuff tell me that you are supposed to have it with alcohol (like beer) or milk. Haven't tried that. I've tried other stuff, but I think I'll avoid all salsas from now on.

Oh, a classmate was talking about when she went to Montana, and got what they called a "chile relleno". It was a green bell pepper stuffed with ground beef. She protested with the waitress that it wasn't a real chile relleno, and the waitress pointed out that they were in Montana, no one knew what a poblano pepper was up there.


2013-04-05 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Where I live, Pico de Gallo is this really hot stuff. It cannot possibly be just "tomatos, cilantro, onion, lime juice, and salt" and be so hot. It has a very pungent scent. If it just barely touches something, it will flavor it.

Edited to add: the Pico de Gallo around here will burn a hole in your tongue, and possibly melt your spoon. (I swear my fork started sizzling when it touched the pico!)

My mom and I avoid pico, along with salsa because even the mild is still way too hot for us.

But I live in Texas, where we have lots of Hispanics who are used to hotter foods, plus a lot of non-Hispanics who grew up eating from taquerias and thus are also used to hot & spicy.

Edited at 2013-04-05 06:04 pm (UTC)


2013-04-05 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

This! I live in deep South Texas.. Brownsville to be exact.. and pico de gallo is hot. It has to be hot. You will shame your Mexican family by offering something mild and you will be even more shamed by asking for it! Such is our culture! :D

The OP has forgotten to mention the pepper. The pico de gallo you get that is super hot is made with usually made with the tiny peppers that most everyone has growing in their yards down here. I don't know the proper name. They are not much larger than a bloated piece of rice and are red and green. The green ones are the ones to look out for. After you pick them, wash your hands several times. Even then, if you wipe over mouth or eyes, you will feel it! O_O

Edited at 2013-04-05 11:03 pm (UTC)


2013-04-06 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)

This is correct! I forgot jalapeno pepper.


2013-04-06 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)

You will shame your Mexican family by offering something mild

And then their ghosts shall return to haunt you until you offer *proper* pico de gallo! XD


2013-04-06 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Worse! They will leave and tell everyone about your pathetic pico de gallo and that you'll never find a man if you don't learn to cook better. XD


2013-04-06 08:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

LOL! Good one!


2013-04-05 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

I feel like Chipotle changing the salsa names to just "mild", "medium", and "hot" just made things more confusing.


2013-04-07 11:24 am (UTC) (Link)

We have a Qdoba on my uni's campus, and I chuckle whenever I hear the person ahead of me ask for "the tomatoes" in their burrito.

Then I ask for a tiny bit of pico and the worker looks completely confused... so now I'm the jerk ordering tomatoes, hahaha.