The Princeton Public Library got the summer off to a hot start in more ways than one. They hosted their first Salsa Slam, celebrating the sauce and the dance. Librarian Susan Conlon mentioned that it’s a great way to bring the community together, and it was indeed a success based on the turnout.
Fourteen local businesses and restaurants participated in a salsa tasting competition. Conlon referred to it as our version of Cup Cake Wars. I think it was actually genius. What a great way of chefs using fresh, Jersey tomatoes, as well as other ingredients of the season, while creating an interactive event for the community. The Youth Services Team Leader coordinated some teen volunteers to work the tables, while she and Public Programming Librarian Janie Hermann checked people in.
Dorothy Mullen (Suppers Club Founder), Judith Robinson (Farmers’ Market manager), Pat Tanner (food journalist and critic), and Sue Gordon (food journalist and blogger) were the four foodie judges on hand to do a blind taste test based on flavor, creativity, and other criteria. The winner of the jury award was the Bent Spoon (#8) for a sorbet salsa (most likely for creativity).
The People’s Choice was given to the top three winners:
- First place – Olives (13) This was a tomato and avocado salsa.
- Second place – Eno Terra (2) A tomato and chipotle salsa.
- Third place – TIE! The Nassau Inn (1) The classic salsa. Savory Spice Shop (3) A tomato and peach salsa. CORRECTION, this was a mango-urfa pepper salsa.
The salsa dancing took place at Hinds Plaza. Henri Velandia of HotSalsaHot led a large, outdoor dance lesson, followed by a contest, and exhibition where he danced with Claudia Palestini (above). Two other instructors showed off their fabulous skills. HotSalsaHot was muy caliente!