When you first pick up the product and look at the scenic mountain art on the jar and read the name “Cactus Lace“, you just sort of assume it’s a bit of brand development, until you start to read the ingredients list and realize that there is actually cactus in the product, which to me, is pretty cool. Nopales is typically found at your grocer as the canned julienned pads of prickly pear cacti (or cactuses if you’re not in to the whole brevity thing), and has almost a texture similar to French style canned green beans, with really no discernable taste. Most people I know use it almost exclusively for filler, since it doesn’t stand out much on it’s own, but I’m sure there is some magical Rick Bayless recipe out there that uses it that I would really love to try. In this case it’s part of the puree of the salsa, so I’ll imagine the texture and taste of nopales won’t come through much. We’ll see.
Fire – The pepper selection for this salsa is primarily jalapenos with what looks to be a small addition of habanero, neither being very high on the ingredient list, so I wasn’t expecting too much burn, which is about right. This clocks in just about the heat level of a weaker fresh jalapeno, so there is not much to fear here. Score: Mild
Flavor – The first smell of the jar hints at smoky garlic mixed with a citrus and vinegar, which was fairly appealing considering there were habaneros in the mix, but things took a turn for the worse when I took the dive in to it. The salsa has a consistency of a thin pea soup with chunks in it, and the flavor of the salsa almost comes across as just a bad mash of jalapenos with Worcestershire sauce with a kick of black pepper at the end. I can’t think of any way this passed a panel review for new food products. This is the first product I’ve ever spit out without swallowing. Score: Nauseating
If you’ve been with Eat More Heat for a while, you’ll recall a different salsa from Cactus Lace that James reviewed that was saved from a nauseating rating based on following the dip recipe on the side of the jar. I didn’t have any of the needed cream cheese or sour scream on hand to make the dip, so there isn’t a salvaged rating here for them this round. The sad thing here is that I had a friend’s mom who used to make me tacos with nopales in them for me, and I advocate for people to at least try them out to experiment a bit, but I can’t see in any way how adding them to this salsa helped the flavor profile at all, so I’m sad to see a product on the market like this making a bad name for an ingredient that I like.