The restaurant is a fixture in the Austin scene and the salsa is a fixture at the Hot Sauce Festival. Year after year, Trudy's tops the list with its piquant salsas, both the red and green variety. And year after year, the mastermind behind the success is one Victor Hernandez who brought the recipe to Trudy's some 13 years ago and still makes the stuff today. He got the recipe from his family; he's not sure who started it, but it was, and is, the salsa they use in their everyday eating. And you thought you had it good when you got Pace picante sauce on your Tuesday tacos! Mr. Hernandez left home with a culinary equivalent to the secret of El Dorado. His folks live in Mexico; they still eat the stuff regularly, and they have no idea that their concoction has developed legions of devotees in town and beyond.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Hernandez is reluctant to disclose much about the salsas. We know the pepper of choice is jalapeño. We know the red is slightly more popular at the restaurant than the green. And we know that due to popular demand, the salsas are available for purchase at Trudy's locations throughout town. These salsas are fresh, and as a result, they must be kept refrigerated. If you were thinking of indulging a far-flung friend, better plan on sampling some the next time they're in town.

For the Hot Sauce Festival, Hernandez sometimes whips up a specialty batch of salsa; a recipe just for the occasion. This year, he is planning just such an entry, if the experiments in the kitchen are to his liking. Hot Sauce Festival salsas can be more whimsical than the stuff Trudy's loyalists demand, so who knows what the result will be. Past specialty entries have been of the green persuasion, so that may or may not be a tip-off. Fear not: The familiar red and green salsas will be there too, as they are on any given day at your local Trudy's.

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