When Hector Saldivar asked about sending me his brand new sauce to try, I have to admit I was busy and told him I only had time for a cursory review on Facebook or Instagram. But I was honest with him and he sent it anyway. And as you might have concluded, the impression it made was enough that here I am with a full on review! The box came quickly with 2 bottles of sauce, some stickers, and a purple hair roller! “Well that’s all kinds of random”, I thought when looking at the roller. Then I looked closer at the Tia Lupita label, then back at the roller, back at the stickers, then at the roller, then back to the sauce, then to the…..okay, enough! Turns out Hector named his sauce after his momma, Tia Lupita. And Lupita always had a purple roller in her hair! What a loving memory of his mom, and what a lasting tribute. So….it made me curious to learn more…Score a point for marketing! Then I went to the website and my heart was touched at the Tia Lupita backstory. Turns out that everyone calls Hector’s mom Tia (Spanish for Aunt) Lupita! And she would give Hector her old school, Old Mexico hot sauce to remind him of home after he moved to the states. And fast forward to everyone begging Hector to make them that sauce! And fast forward to Hector’s entrepreneurial spirit, and just like that, Tia Lupita was born! Born from a mother’s love for her son! (Can you tell I’m writing this around Mother’s Day?)
So, now for the quickie review – this sauce has instantly become one of my all time favorite Mexican style sauces! Holy Majolie is this stuff good! But I’m getting ahead of myself. If you’re super busy, then the review is over. Go forth and buy and enjoy! But if you want a little more detail, read on!
The labeling is smart with a caricature of Hector’s mom on the label bearing her name, complete with signature roller. Nice graphics, easy to read, and the bottle is a short, 8oz squatty bottle, so plenty of product to enjoy in attractive packaging. Good descriptors on the side (non-GMO, Gluten Free, No Sugar, all natural, only 7 ingredients) and the website’s URL, www.tialupitahotsauce.com. The write-up on the label is fun, but a little long for a label and kinda hard to read with less than young eyes! I also enjoyed the hashtag lines, #makehotsaucegreatagain and #curlpower. Very catchy, but be careful making claims like “make hot sauce great again”! There’s lots of really great small batch, artisan hot sauces out there!
With only 7 ingredients, Tia Lupita tastes clean and authentic. Here’s the lucky 7: Red Chili Peppers, Distilled Vinegar, Garlic, Salt, Black Pepper, Oregano, and Cumin. A simple list of ingredients but it provides a full depth of flavor. The type of peppers aren’t specified, but I asked and my suspicions were confirmed: Tia Lupita uses fully ripened jalapeno’s. The flavor, combined with the black pepper and toasted spices like cumin, reminds me of a nice, earthy Arbol Chile, and that’s a very good thing!
Now for the good part! This sauce just tastes old school Mexico! Deep, rich, earthy, full-bodied with a nice texture. It’s a smooth sauce, but not watery. In fact, it’s a thick sauce, with a consistency similar to ketchup. I enjoyed the thickness, as it didn’t run everywhere, stayed where I put it, and coated very nicely. I am very sodium conscious these days and the low sodium content allowed me to hit the shaker and dial in just how salty or not I wanted the sauce, which I thoroughly appreciated. Tia Lupita says it toasts its spices, and the earthy, smoky flavor profile was testimony to that, since they aren’t using a chipotle pepper. The black pepper shined through and makes a great statement, and the oregano and cumin paired really well and provided a nice brightness that screamed, “Viva Mexico”!!! Of course, I tried it on eggs, and it has become my current go to for that breakfast staple! I also used it on chicken, pork, and steak. It worked extremely well with all of the meats listed. Ironically, I haven’t made tacos yet, but I have no doubt it will be superb on any traditional Mexican/Hispanic food choice! And of course, let’s not forget pizza! This sauce will be stellar on a good pizza!!!! The thickness and the toasted spice blend with the garlic and oregano will add great value to a basic pizza sauce.
So given that this post will be released around Mother’s Day, it’s very appropriate to celebrate the awesomeness that is Tia Lupita, as Hector pays respect and homage to his mom, Lupita. She shared herself, her family treasures, and love for her son when she sent him sauce to remind him of home. What a sweet thought and visual image of family and the love that so often revolves around our kitchens and the food we eat! I can almost see Hector spending time with his mom talking about life, food, his messy room, childhood memories, etc. etc .etc. My Mother’s Day wish for everyone is that you all have a Lupita in your lives. A special someone-mother, aunt, friend, or whoever- who loves us enough to share and sacrifice their talents and treasures so that we can smile and be happy and experience a little taste of home and family through the culinary cue cards embedded in our hearts and brains! All while rockin’ a big ‘ol purple hair roller!
You can find Tia Lupita on the web at www.tialupitahotsauce.com and at a few lucky, select locations in and around Marin County, California! This is an outstanding hot sauce! One of the best new sauces I’ve tasted in a long time! So get your hot sauce on! Tell Hector I sent you! And tell your momma you love her! And thanks to Hector for allowing me to share a little bit of my world with you, because we all know, Ladies and Gentlemen, that It’s a Fiery World!
When you first pick up a bottle of Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce, you see a fun image of a sombrero and sunglass wearing, very white (thus the Gringo part of the name, I assume), blonde, pistol packing, bandolier draped character carefully guarding the contents. What you may not know is that is the image of Gringo Bandito founder Dexter Holland, front man for the punk rock group The Offspring! What you may also not know is that Dexter developed and founded his sauce company in 2004 because it would “be cool” to have a hot sauce, and because people who are into hot sauce are passionate! Before taking the first taste, I already like this guy! Luckily, I also liked his sauces!
There are three main sauces in the Gringo Bandito lineup- the original red sauce that features habaneros, jalapenos, and red Japanese chile peppers (more on this later), and two offspring sauces – a green sauce with habs, serranos and “more” peppers, and a Super Hot sauce with scorpion and jolokia (ghost) peppers. According to their website, there are limited release private reserve sauces that appear annually and a taco seasoning coming out in 2017. The original red sauce is a nice, smooth blend of the habs, jalapenos and the darker, earthier, “chile arbolish” Japanese chile, which is actually a native of Mexico’s Jalisco region. The Japanese Chile is a well known player in Asian dishes, especially Szechuan! How’s that for cultural diversity! With a nice front end playful heat, the red sauce makes very good use of black pepper and spices to enhance the earthiness and complexity of this signature sauce. I’d say it has a low to medium heat and does justice to eggs, pizza, tacos, fish, chicken, black beans, and I’m sure lots and lots of other things. Given the complexity of flavors, it’s almost like Dexter used the recipe for some sort of doctoral research in Molecular Biology!
Next up is the green sauce, which pairs a mid palate pop of habanero pepper with the bright, citrusy front end annum style heat of the Serrano’s, and, according to the label, adds in the mysterious “more” peppers. What peppers are those? I really couldn’t discern any specific type, so we’ll just let more be less. And while this sauce has a light green appearance that isn’t the most appealing to me, it takes off on a mojo-induced, solo green sauce flight around the world, landing right in the center of my flavor runway! I loved this sauce!!! So much I could see myself getting on a private jet, flying to the Isle of Man, skydive down, and telling the first person I see that I give Gringo Bandito’s Green Sauce my Fiery World stamp of approval!!!!!
The last entry in this Rock trio of sauces is the “ridiculously rambunctious” (straight from the label) Super Hot! Made with Scorpion and Jolokia, or Ghost, peppers, each known for big hits of heat and flavor, I have to say I was genuinely surprised, as I was fully expecting some super charged, tubular, “nitro” induced blast of heat! However, the Super Hot came across my tongue in a wave of balanced flavor, heat, and spice! It was almost like I had just experienced the Housewives of Orange County- richly flavored, plenty spicy and wildly playful, but still grounded in suburbia!
All in all, of the two traditionally styled hot sauces, I have to give the valedictorian award to the original red sauce! I liked them both, but I especially liked the way Dexter used the blend of the earthy Japanese chile with the habanero, jalapeno, black pepper, and other spices. Don’t get me wrong-the Super Hot was also very good, and it had plenty of good heat that made you pay close attention to the ride. I compare it like this-You’re expecting that knock you off your surfboard big wave of heat, and instead it gives a fun, tricked out skateboard ride through the streets of Orange County! But the green sauce, pukey color aside, was a solid home run for me! I really, really liked it and I’m super picky when it comes to green, verde style sauces.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk a little about labeling, since that’s what draws people to a product on a store shelf. According to some random internet sources, Dexter’s choice of label art was a way to pay a bit of homage to a staple of the Mexican sauce world, Tapatio, which displays a similar image, albeit not the very blonde, Dutch looking white guy with punked blonde hair! Gringo Bandito sports a smart, clean, visually appealing label, each flavor with it’s own label color, making it easy to spot on a store shelf. And the witty banter they placed in the contents and nutrition info certainly brought a smile and soft chuckle to this fiery food aficionado. Now found nationwide in several thousand grocery stores, and online at www.gringobandito.com, Dexter Holland’s labor of passion and love is doing quite well for itself.
So there you have it! A punk rock inspired, three piece band of sauces – each instrument with a unique sound – kind of like a Gibson and an Ibanez, but when connected with a Marshall stack, they come together as a finely tuned symphony of flavor, spice, and heat. El Sabor Gringo Bandito is highly recommended by this blogger and reviewer , and I’m sure it will bring a smile to any hot sauce loving family of Offspring! And never, ever forget, ladies and gentlemen – It’s a Fiery World!
The big sale is back, and we will update it as we get new additions to our listings. It usually grows as we get closer to the holiday, so if you are shopping or curious of what will be offered, then keep coming back. If you are a company that would like to add your sale to our listing, then please either email me your whole sale as you wish it to be listed, and I will link to your website or sales page OR you can post below in the comments. We will also we sharing this listing with some other chile blogs and numerous Facebook groups.
It is very important to note that we only want to include companies that have met all the legal requirements to sell products online and ship across the US. I can not speak of international law, so companies wishing to ship outside the US are free to do so at their own discretion. We encourage our Chilehead friends to support these small market companies and the small market companies to support the Chilehead Community.
A huge thanks to Al “Buddah” Goldenberg of I Love It Spicy for getting this sale together.
Howling Dog Hot Sauce
FREE SHIPPING (Priority Mail 2-3 day shipping includes $50 insurance) and 10% off on a set of 5 bottles for $36.00. Regular price is $7.99/bottle.
Mix and Match flavors – Cayenne, Jalapeno, Chipotle, Ghostly Chipotle and Tomatillo.
Black Friday Sale will be buy 3 get 1 free sale, and then will be doing 40% off the entire store front on Cyber Monday.
Heat Hot Sauce Shop
We will be offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $45 with coupon code “ILOVEITSPICY” through Christmas day – our selection has doubled since we did this promotion last year, so you can now get free shipping and low prices on over 400 incredible artisan hot sauces and other fiery foods. Plus, check out our freebies section to add your choice of superhot pods, spicy candy, or hot sauce sample packets, completely free.
We’re also offering 10% off any subscription to our Hot Sauce of the Month Club with the code “CHILEHEAD”. Our monthly club makes a perfect gift, and it includes unlimited free add-on shipping from our online shop. January’s featured sauce will be a brand new release exclusive to us, so members are in for a treat!
On top of all of this, we have some great deals on specific sauces (like Reapercussions for 30% off!), and awesome gift sets too. For a full list of sales visit: www.HeatHotSauce.com/BlackFriday.
Patter Fam Sauces
Discount code BlackFriday2016 for 20% off and Free Shipping on orders over $70
Then we will do Cyber Monday as well, Discount Code CyberMonday2016 for 20% off and Free Shipping on order over $70
Hellfire Hot Sauce
We will be doing our Annual 50% off sale on all of our sauces
Free shipping on orders over $50 through Dec 31st.
We will be offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $45 with coupon code “ILOVEITSPICY”. We are approaching 1,000 hot sauces, BBQ necessities (rubs, sauces, marinades), spices, seasonings, gifts and other gourmet foods. Free shipping applies to the US only. This offer can not be combined with any other discounts and is only available from November 25th (Black Friday) to midnight EST November 28th (Cyber Monday).
CaJohn’s Fiery Foods
40% Off on Cyber Monday on all items using CODE: CYBER2016
Bigfat’s Hot Sauce
We are offering 30% off all sauces and gift packs Black Friday through Cyber Monday!! Stay home, shop and avoid the insanity! Use coupon code NOPUSHING at checkout.
Hot Sauce Depot
Free shipping on all orders over $60 on Black Friday 11/25/16. LOW prices and no coupon code needed!v
Kearley Seeds & Pepper Co.
We are offering our first ever Black Friday, Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday sales! See the sales below. Don’t forget you can grab an e-gift card for the Chileheads in your life while you’re there! Shop online or, if you’re local, you can order online and arrange to pick up your items. This will be first ordered first served!
- Carolina Reaper seeds: 50+ seeds for $9.99! 50 packs available.
- Our already discounted Big Seed Collections will be 25% off! That’s a huge deal!
- Spend $35 or more on products and you’ll get a Basic Seed Starting Kit free! (Not applicable to purchasing gift cards)
- BOGO (Buy One Get One) on the following rare and other seed varieties:
Chocolate Lava Scorpion, Bhut Jolokia, Peach, Moruga Scorpion Red, Brainstrain Red, 7 Pot Primo, Kale, Cucumber, Bean Varieties & Lettuce Varieties (including Collards).
- FREE SHIPPING!!!
Small Business Saturday
- BOGO (Buy One Get One) on the following rare seed and other varieties: Moruga Scorpion Red, Brainstrain, Carolina Reaper, 7 Pot Primo, Kale, Cucumber, Bean Varieties & Lettuce Varieties (including Collards).
- Spend $35 or more on products and you’ll get a Basic Seed Starting Kit free! (Not applicable to purchasing gift cards)
- Our already discounted Big Seed Collections will be 10% off!
BOGO (Buy One Get One) on the following rare and other seed varieties:
- Brainstrain Red, Carolina Reaper, 7 Pot Primo, Yellow 7 Pot Scorpion, Bhut Jolokia Peach, Peruvian White Habanero, Kale, Cucumber, Bean Varieties & Lettuce Varieties (including Collards).
- Our already discounted Big Seed Collections will be 15% off!
- Spend $75 or more on products and you’ll get a Green Thumb Seed Starting Kit free! (Not applicable to purchasing gift cards.)
Crazy Good Specialty Foods
20% off all products and free shipping for orders over $50.
Voodoo Chili Sauces
rotating sales, may change daily, ANY/ALL flash sales (link above) through Dec 15th all include FREE SHIPPING
Wild Bill’s Sauces
Black Friday through the end of November, get 40% off all purchases. Use code: grabone at checkout.
We’re doing a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale! Take 35% off all products by using the code BLKFRIDAY
Madison Chocolatiers West
30% off sale on order for Black Friday.
Apinya Thai Food Co. – (http://apinya.co/) Huge Black Friday and Small Business Saturday Sale – 50% off of everything with $2 shipping on all orders. Sales direct link: HERE
Both of Dave’s Gourmet hot sauce gift packs are on sale for the entire Black Friday weekend for $19.99. It makes a great gift for spicy food lovers! You can choose from the Super Hot 2oz 4-Pk Wood Crate or the Spicy Six Pack.
25% off coupon code – black
PuckerButt Pepper Company
50% off Hot Sauce and Seeds. Use promo code BLACKFRIDAY2016
Sauce Goddess Gourmet LLC
20% off anything on our site, coupon code- iloveitspicy
now thru Dec 20th
still get free shipping for orders over $50
if you don’t lick your fingers, someone else will
According to an article in Gizmodo, Australia is having issues with their pepper population! Knowing how much the folks down under like their heat and spice, I’m sure it’s giving their pepper poppin’ populace great pause! (pretty good string of P’s, isn’t it? I’m proud and very easily impressed with myself- but after all, it is Monday so take ’em when you can get ’em!)
If I have your curiosity up, check out the article !!!! Have a great day, peeps, and remember, It’s a Fiery World!!