Lately, I’ve found myself gravitating towards local products at the grocery store. I like the idea of buying stuff made or grown close to home. It makes me feel like I’m helping make Houston a better, more self-sufficient place. For that reason, I’ve decided to start highlighting local products and/or producers I love. Don’t fret…there is no crass commercialism involved. I swear on a stack of Dove bars that I’m not being bribed or compensated in any way to promote any product. I just want to share the information; you can decide if you’d like to try them. Think of it like running into a stranger in the grocery store who turns to you and says, “Have you tried these yet? What did you think?” That’s not unusual for me. I seem to have random conversations with strangers in the grocery store quite a bit. I must have one of those faces. Anyway, here we go:
Local Product Spotlight #1: Arriba Salsa
I’m starting with this one because The Complete Package and I both love it to pieces. I’m not joking when I say that I have one jar in the fridge and three in the pantry at this very moment. We’re addicted. We eat it on everything and anything, but it’s also great straight out of the jar on tortilla chips. It’s good stuff.
Arriba Salsa - A Fiesta in a Jar!
Our favorite is the “medium” fire roasted Mexican style red salsa. It’s a perfect balance of roasted tomato flavor and heat. Not too spicy, but not too wimpy. It’s made by Riba Foods in Houston. They make a wide variety of salsas including Mexican style, California style and Texas style. They also have a line of pickles, peppers and olives as well as drink mixes, dips and sauces. We just tried our first jar of their Texas Pepper Works Candy-Krisp pickles and they are awesome! They’re sweet spicy pickles with a cayenne and garlic kick. Like the label says – not too spicy, not too sweet. I could eat the whole jar. I might not be able to feel my lips afterwards, but I could do it. If you don’t live in Texas or the Houston area, don’t sweat it! You can order directly from their website if you can’t find them at your local grocer. Here’s the website; the rest is up to you.
If you’re interested, you can check them out at: http://www.ribafoods.com/RibaCart/catalog.aspx
Antone's Style Deli Poor-Boy Sandwich
Antone’s is a popular deli in the Houston area, and this sandwhich is a best seller. They even distribute them to some of our local grocery stores (sold in the deli department). They’re easy to make and they travel well for picnics and road trips. Just between you and me, I’ve been known to eat them leftover for breakfast, too.
Here’s how we make our version:
2 fresh, soft poorboy buns, approximately 6″ long
4 tablespoons mayonnaise, divided
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish or sweet chow-chow, divided
24 hamburger dill pickle slices
6 slices smoked or baked deli ham (thin sliced)
10 slices hard salami, thin sliced (I prefer Boar’s Head)
4 slices provolone cheese, thin sliced
Start with two fresh, soft poorboy buns. Slice each almost through (so the 2 halves are still slightly connected). Spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise on both sides of each bun (4 tablespoons total). Then spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish or chow-chow on the top half of each sandwich. Arrange half of the hamburger dill slices on the bottom half of each bun, then fold ham slices to fit and place on top of the pickles, followed by the salami and then the provolone cheese. Close the sandwich, and press slightly with your hand to compress the sandwich. We like to serve these with jalapeno kettle chips, spicy sweet pickles and green olives. They’re also great with hummus and pita chips. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and they’re perfect for picnics or roadtrips. If you don’t finish them, wrap them up again and put in the refrigerator. They’re still good the next day!
Note: if you can’t find poorboy buns, a fresh loaf of French bread will do just fine.