Meet Doña be­hind Ta­codeli’s fa­mous doña sauce

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOD & LIFE - Rel­ish Austin spaghetti casse­role recipe,

Bertha

Gon­za­les was mak­ing a sear­ing bright green salsa of pureed jalapeños long be­fore she started work­ing at Ta­codeli.

“I’ve al­ways loved to cook,” Gon­za­les says in Span­ish one day out­side the orig­i­nal Ta­codeli, which is tucked ofi MoPac Boule­vard on Spy­glass Drive in South Austin. Be­fore mov­ing to the U.S., Gon­za­les ran a taco truck in her na­tive Ver­acruz, Mex­ico. “My friends and I, we’d ex­change recipes, and this one was a fa­vorite.”

She got a job as a cook at Ta­codeli about a month af­ter it opened 13 years ago, and to help fos­ter ca­ma­raderie among his new stafi and ex­pand the restau­rant’s salsa bar, co-owner Roberto Espinosa hosted a salsa con­test.

Com­pet­ing for a $30 prize, em­ploy­ees submitted sal­sas, and Espinosa re­mem­bers that many of them were “the stan­dard is­sue sauces” made with to­ma­toes, chile de ar­bol or tomatil­los.

But then Gon­za­les handed over a plas­tic sour cream con­tainer fflled with a thick, creamy salsa that was un­like any­thing Espinosa had ever seen.

“It was glow­ing,” Espinosa says. “It won on eye ap­peal alone.” And then he tasted it. “I was just blown away.”

They’d al­ready started call­ing Gon­za­les “Doña,” a Span­ish hon­oriffc ti­tle, out of re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion for the woman who had be­come the ma­tri­arch of the kitchen.

Janzen / amer­i­can-states­man emma

The Mo­jteato at The Steeping Room is a fresh com­bi­na­tion of matcha, agave syrup, fresh lime juice, mint leaves and sparkling water. It’s a great hol­i­day alternative to a real Mo­jito, which also features rum.

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