Saturday, December 16, 2017
Cooking

Try This: Cigar City Smoked Salsa

In a world consumed with Internet reviews and targeted advertising, it is rare to find a new favorite food by pure serendipitous discovery. But that's what happened a month ago when I was shopping in Publix for taco night at my house.

As I strolled down an aisle, I decided to see if there were any jarred salsas I'd be interested in. I wanted to try something different from my go-to choice, Publix's fresh, refrigerated salsa. I did not have high hopes for the jarred kind, but then I spotted the whimsical cursive branding of Cigar City Smoked Salsa.

Being a fan of all things Tampa, I grabbed the jar to see if it was produced in the area. The label provided a Tampa address and boasted that it was all natural, listing a total of seven ingredients that I could find in my own kitchen. I was sold.

Cigar City Smoked Salsa is now a trending item in my household.

According to CEO Mark Adwell, the local delight was started in 2012 by a group of Tampa guys. The friends were doing what Tampa locals do so well, barbecuing, when they decided to smoke some veggies on the grill and make a homemade salsa. They tried the salsa, then their friends and family had a taste, and now Cigar City Smoked Salsa is sold in all Publix locations, at several bay area Walmarts and at 25 local food markets. The product will make its debut in 150 Central Florida Winn-Dixies in December.

The name is an homage to its original production roots in Ybor City, but with its successful growth the salsa is now cooked and packaged in Largo.

Made from tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and salt, Cigar City Smoked Salsa contains no preservatives or additives and is gluten-free and vegan-friendly. Currently, the salsa comes in Hot, Medium and Mild flavors. I'm a baby when it comes to spicy flavors, so I've only tried Mild, but I love it with Tostitos Cantina Tortilla Chips, on salads and on tacos. Adwell says a lot of people enjoy the smoked tomato goodness on pizza, so I'm going to give this a try in the near future.

Amber McDonald, Times staff writer

Comments
Five trendy gift ideas for the cook in your life

Five trendy gift ideas for the cook in your life

Giving the gift of cooking isnít really something you can mess up. Whether gifting a gadget or paying for a class, you can encourage a budding culinary enthusiast or give a seasoned veteran a new toy to play with. Here are five ideas for holiday gi...
Published: 12/13/17
Four ideas for edible gifts you can find throughout Tampa Bay

Four ideas for edible gifts you can find throughout Tampa Bay

Carlynn Crosby, Times correspondent Florida Pure Sea Salt Harvested from Tampa Bay’s waters, these handcrafted salts come in flavors like maple bacon, Sriracha, lemongrass, habanero or black truffle. They retail for $15 a jar online, at flor...
Published: 12/13/17
Six kitchen gadgets that are completely useless

Six kitchen gadgets that are completely useless

If youíre buying me a gift this year, donít get me an Instant Pot. Iím serious. I donít subscribe to the "you can never be too thin or too rich" school of thought, but the "you can never have too much kitchen cabinet space" is dead right in my book. ...
Published: 12/13/17
From the food editor: How to make perfect, hot Crispy Roasted Potatoes

From the food editor: How to make perfect, hot Crispy Roasted Potatoes

Sometimes, you just want a hot, crispy potato.I didnít get home from work the other night craving a full dinner; I arrived at my house with cartoon visions of potatoes in my head, and knew I had to make it happen.I wasnít looking for a fast food fren...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Party like itís Christmas in Narnia with these recipes perfect for tea time

Party like itís Christmas in Narnia with these recipes perfect for tea time

As a kid, I always looked for doors into other worlds. I blame Narnia. In C.S. Lewisí classic novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, four British children step through a magic wardrobe into Narnia, a world filled with talking animals and plenty ...
Published: 12/12/17
Cooking challenge: Making homemade edible Christmas gifts

Cooking challenge: Making homemade edible Christmas gifts

Should I infuse this vodka with bacon?Thatís not a question I expected to ask myself on a Sunday morning, but here we are. This Christmas, Iím giving homemade gifts: infused liquor and chocolate fudge. But I didnít realize it would be so hard to find...
Published: 12/12/17
Lightened Shepherdís Pie comforting, quick

Lightened Shepherdís Pie comforting, quick

When the weather gets cooler, we want to tuck into comfort food in our home. Doing a recipe makeover on a tasty-but-less-than-healthy dish is one of my favorite challenges. Today, Iím taking on a wintertime classic with my Lightened Shepherdís Pie. T...
Published: 12/08/17
Green Salad With Pumpkin Vinaigrette celebrates holiday season

Green Salad With Pumpkin Vinaigrette celebrates holiday season

By MELISSA DíARABIANSummer may officially be the season of green salads, but wintertime versions have advantages that make them worth exploring. The cooler weather seasonable greens are hearty and darker green, which makes them nutrient-rich. And, th...
Published: 12/08/17
My holiday tradition: Making a whole bunch of beef Wellington

My holiday tradition: Making a whole bunch of beef Wellington

For the past 20 years, my family has looked forward to a boat parade party hosted by some of our dearest friends. The hostess provides cocktails, appetizers, dinner, desserts and a trombone choir to perform from a balcony overlooking her pool. My fav...
Published: 12/06/17
Tampa Bay Times readers share their treasured holiday food traditions

Tampa Bay Times readers share their treasured holiday food traditions

When we opened this yearís call for reader submissions to any treasured holiday food tradition, I had no idea what to expect. That was kind of the point. I wanted to see what such a wide gamut would inspire. And you delivered. The stories that reader...
Published: 12/06/17