The 16th 'Austin Chronicle' Hot Sauce Festival contest results

The salsas were hot, but the blast furnace of August was hotter. Still hot-sauce-loving crowds filled Waterloo Park, and once again, decisions have been rendered. Reviewing the results, we can detect a subtle shift in the competitive landscape. Among the commercial bottlers promoting their wares in the People's Choice voting, fresh preparations do seem to attract more votes than jarred items, with the winners from recent years past reshuffling among first, second, and third places. The addition of pico de gallo as a potential entry encouraged more individuals and restaurants to compete with a fresh-chopped creation and broadened the list of new winners. Now that longtime powerhouse Trudy's appears to have retired from competition after 14 years of domination, we're seeing new repeat winners emerge in the restaurant category: El Caribe Mexican Restaurant (5601 N. Lamar, 452-6207) took home prizes in 2003 and 2005 and came on strong again this year; El Rincon of Pflugerville (200 E. Pecan, 512/990-0250) showed well in 2002 and 2004 and has done so again. We also noticed that tiny El Chilito (2209 Manor Rd., 382-3797) competed in place of older sibling El Chile Cafe y Cantina with a fresh version of the red salsa you'll soon be able to purchase in jars at stores around town. Perhaps the most interesting result in the restaurant category is that two new out-of-town chain operations that have settled in Downtown took home first-place trophies in their first year of competition: Congratulations to Cantina Laredo (201 W. Third, 542-9670) and Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant (301 San Jacinto, 476-8300).

Our partners at the Capital Area Food Bank shared these important results based on participation at the Hot Sauce Festival. What a good day's work. Thanks!

16,992 lbs. of food collected

$4,329 donated

35,180 meals provided


(* denotes previous winners)

Red Sauce

First: Kim Johnson

Second: Shawn Muncy*

Third: Steve Huskey

Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Anderson (Alvin), John Robinson, Andrew Rodenberg, Akl Batrouni, Jason Brice, Jeff Schulz, Roy Alvarado (Round Rock), Jimmy Anderson (Alvin), Marc Irving (Cedar Park), Ken Coffelt (Briarcliff), Cesar Remus, Jarrod C. Mejia (Cedar Park), Paul Petersen (Alpine), Mike Bunga, Steve McMillon, Richard Botello (Dripping Springs), Jason Stanford, Rene Moreno, Dana Richie (Cedar Park), Roy Alvarado (Round Rock), Dennise Cowart, Juana Younce, Justin Williams, ManDee Mason (DeLeon), Bryan Bunkowski, Brandon Grebe, Scott Nettles

Green Sauce

First: Mark & Margaret Harsh (Round Rock)

Margaret and Mark Harsh
Margaret and Mark Harsh (Photo By John Anderson)

Second: Gene Golembiewski*

Third: Marti Cardenas

Honorable Mentions: Marc Irving (Cedar Park), Marvin Perez, Marc Burgamy, Ned McDaniel, Evan Bozarth, Debra Jo Gilchrist, John Unger, Benita Trevino, Pamela Wells, Geoffrey Cry & Joel Smith, Kala Uprety, Marlo Cooper

Special Variety

First: Chuk HellHall

Second: Paul Petersen* (Alpine)

Third: Burt Friedman*

Honorable Mention: Amanda Martin (Oklahoma City), Krazie Kick/Live Oak Community (Martindale), Paul Murray, Jimmy Sommerfield, Sonya Miller, Kelly Robinson

Pico de Gallo

First: Valery Caselli-Dubov

Valery Caselli-Dubov
Valery Caselli-Dubov (Photo By John Anderson)

Second: Kala Uprety

Third: Scott Willis


(every company listed is a previous winner)

Red Sauce

First: Two Hot Mamas Salsa Roja

Second: Classy Delites Aztec Salsa

Third: Texapenos Gourmet Red

Honorable Mentions: Tears of Joy 6th Street Salsa, Austin Slow Burn Salsa Con Habanero, Beanie's Home Made Salsa (Houston)

Green Sauce

First: Classy Delites Spinach Avocado

Second: Two Hot Mamas Chile Verde

Third: Texapenos Gourmet Green

Honorable Mentions: Tears of Joy 6th Street Salsa, Austin Slow Burn Salsa Verde

Special Variety

First: Classy Delites Mango Salsa

Second: Two Hot Mamas Creamy Cilantro

Third: Texapenos Orange Flame

Honorable Mentions: Austin Slow Burn Pepper Jams, Tears of Joy Tequila Lime Hot Sauce, Two Hot Mamas Salsa Creamy Chipotle Salsa Dip, SpiceItUp! Bloody Jalapeno (Richardson), Mangogh Sizzle Sauce

Pepper Sauce

First: Tears of Joy August in Austin

Second: (tie) Texapenos Red Flame/Aztexan Habanero Supreme

Third: Winston's Hot Pepper Sauce

Honorable Mention: Big Daddy's Ass Burn Hot Sauce (Houston)


(* denotes previous winners)

Red Sauce

First: El Caribe Mexican Restaurant*

El Caribe
El Caribe (Photo By John Anderson)

Second: El Chilito

Third: El Rincon*

Honorable Mentions: Flores Mexican Restaurant, Oaxacan Tamaleo

Green Sauce

First: Cantina Laredo

Second: El Rincon Mexican Restaurant*

Third: Torchys Tacos

Honorable Mention: São Paulo's

Special Variety

Rio Grande

Pico de Gallo

First: El Caribe Mexican Restaurant*

Second: El Caribe Mexican Restaurant*

Third: Serranos – Symphony Square*

Honorable Mention: Palazio Gentlemen's Club

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16th Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival winners

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