Growing up in Southern California really ruined me for Mexican food. New York has a handful of restaurants that have game, but if you crave the consistent taste and authenticity of real California Mexican cuisine, you might be better off cooking at home. Even if you want the convenience of using a few packaged ingredients, it’s important to have a fresh-tasting salsa on hand, and what I call ‘restaurant style’ chips that are sturdy enough to stand up to the thickest guacamole. The problem is, which brands of chips and salsa taste the best? Obviously, other non-native New Yorkers have considered this situation, because fellow East Village resident Matt Bennett has created Dreams Aren’t This Good (DATG); a line of unique salsas and authentic tortilla chips that blows away everything else on the supermarket shelf. Seriously, this brand is a game changer.
Inspired by and infused with the sights and sounds of New York City, one-of-a-kind DATG salsa flavors include The Original (which I received for review), The Fighter (garlic cilantro), Just Dance (jalapeno pineapple), Now or Never (avocado pepper), and Girls Girls Girls (blueberry coconut). All salsas and tortilla chips are gluten free, vegan and contain no preservatives.
DATG’s origin story goes back to Matt’s upbringing in Southeast Texas and his tenure as a student at Louisiana State University (LSU). “At school, I started making salsa by mixing Mexican style with a little Cajun spice,” Matt remembers. “As I experimented with different ingredients and flavors, the salsa was always a huge hit with everyone, and I knew I was on to something.”
After traveling around the world and experiencing different cultures, Matt settled in New York City’s East Village and quickly discovered that the salsa selection on store shelves was limited and lacking in quality. He started making his own salsa again, building a new type of brand in a space that had grown stale, and Dreams Aren’t This Good was born. “Our flavors push boundaries with each one being its own experience,” Matt offers, admitting that his goal to is develop many more flavors and eventually become the Ben & Jerry’s of salsa!
Matt continues, “Coming from Texas — where chips and salsa is a lifestyle — to New York, I knew that we had a massive opportunity to create a restaurant-level experience for consumers. With our focus on flavors rather than heat levels, we offer the freshest shelf-stable and clean-label chips and salsa on the market. All of our products smell and taste as if they were made just hours ago, and knowing the lack of brand loyalty in the stale packaged salsa space, we are changing the way consumers enjoy salsa.”
I enjoy cooking with salsa — adding it to scrambled eggs and sandwich fillings — but for a purist approach, I love the mild kick that DATG Original salsa adds to my lunchtime quesadilla. The flavor is just fiery enough to enhance whatever food you are eating without the need to have a glass of water at-the-ready to cool a scorched tongue. I am definitely curious to try the more adventurous flavors, which I bet would be great added to a favorite recipe, or as an ingredient in marinades for meat or fish as well.
Look at these chips. Just look at them: thick, crunchy and full of delicious, fresh tortilla flavor. You know these chips are not going break or crumble when faced with the challenge of scooping up a mouthful of bean dip, or your favorite guacamole recipe. If you are snacking on them by yourself, I recommend putting some in a small bowl and then clipping the bag and putting it away, otherwise you may eat the entire bag by yourself — they are that addictive. Ask me how I know.
Dreams Aren’t This Good chips and salsa can also dress-up a quick Trader Joe’s Burrito meal (don’t forget the sour cream)!
Dreams Aren’t This Good believes in giving back to the community. For each jar or bag sold, DATG donates five cents to partner philanthropies including Hunger Free America, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, The Center NYC, The Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE), Girl Up and LIFEbeat.
Dreams Aren’t This Good Salsa and Tortilla Chips Are Now Available Throughout New York City and Online Nationally at This Link.