Meet Doña behind Tacodeli’s famous doña sauce
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.
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