White Mexican Sauce; a unique Virginia food

https://pilotonline.com/life/flavor/restaurants/article_fe7119ba-6c23-11...

Sit down at a family-style Mexican restaurant in southeastern Virginia, and chances are you will be served a mysterious white sauce unknown in Mexico.

The dipping sauce has no name except "white sauce," or "salsa blanca," and it was, by all accounts, invented in Hampton Roads.

It comes free with your basket of tortilla chips, alongside standard tomato salsa, and it is so popular that old-school Mexican American restaurants can live or die by the quality of their version.

As someone who left Virginia in 2008 I truly have missed "white dip". In richmond there is a group of restaurants called Don Pepe and other version of that name. They were the go to casual Mexican for our family. I would pay someone to get me some of the white dip and send it to me.

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You can keep mine. Never seen the point to it. I want good tomato or tomatillo salsa.

I'm not a huge fan. If it's what I'm thinking about, its kinda of like a tangy, yoghurt, sour cream

They serve it at the restaurant down the road from me in Gloucester. Don't know if they sell in bulk. can check

Juan's?

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It is also excellent as a grilling sauce for ribs and chicken.

The secret ingredient turned out to be plain-old Miracle Whip salad dressing, mixed with milk, cumin, oregano and crushed red peppers.

As someone who left VA for TX in 2017 I truly do not miss any Mexican food served in VA.

HokieSpider

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

There is a lot of "Tex Mex" that wouldn't be recognized as Mexican food Either. That's the great thing about a good melting pot like the US is.

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CO instead of TX, and 2009 instead of 2017.

But this sentiment is spot on.

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New Sigline: lol it's football season.

Same boat. Live in Houston and my eyes were opened about real Tex Mex being amazing. There are still some places in VA that are OK (always gonna hit elrods when back in bburg), but I could eat the tex mex here 4 times a week

Danny is always open

That stuff is disgusting and it makes me so disappointed that it was created in Virginia.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Gotta agree it is terrible. I've been to Latin restaurants that serve hot sauce with diced onions with their chips and while it might be slightly better, that's pretty terrible too.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I had this yesterday for the first time at a Plaza Azteca...a friend ordered it and I'd never had it...not my favorite dipping sauce...

Sean

This is for all of you haters.

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You do a lot of backpedaling when it comes to your shitty food choices.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

I'll never back of my food take Hills. Pie is better than Cake, Raising Canes is best fried chicken fast food, Moe's is better than Chipcraple, and white sauce is fucking amazing.

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Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

Whoa. F-Man dropping F-Bombs.

I've seen that white sauce here in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. Not so sure about the VA exclusivity .

For the record, it's a silly idea for a sauce.

Leonard. Duh.

Wait a minute. There's people out there that actually think Moe's is better than Chipotle?

I like Moe's cheese dip and that's where it ends. They use wayyyy too much rice as a filler. Very little meat. Although the last couple of times I've had Chipotle they've not been the best but I think it's because of the help.

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

I can't stand Chipotle's meat, I always go meatless with them. They have better rice and slightly better shredded cheese than Moe's but that's not enough to make me prefer Chipotle

Can we just not start this again? Thanks.

You're also the guy who likes Moe's though so I don't trust your Tex-Mex preferences.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

the minute i read this, i knew it was referencing Plaza Azteca's "sauce"

You from the burg? Also white sauce is older than plaza

Free Hugh

nope, the 757.

Also white sauce is older than plaza

true, my reference point is from Plaza Azteca in the 90s since it was the first time I've had it. I wasn't old enough to experience it originally from El Toro in the 70s. but because every new Tex Mex restaurant in the area that opens up comes from the Plaza Azteca lineage (family members, former employees, etc.) i've had some variation of it.

TBH, i won't touch Plaza Azteca anymore. IMO, Los Cuates Taqueria is my fave and when owners of other local Tex Mex restaurants can agree they like this place outside of their own establishments, that confirms it for me. if you like SoCal-influenced Mexican food, La Hacienda is the place to go.

and if you're a Jessie's fan, the OV location is the place to go. the VB one is take-out only and the "hipster Jessie's" has customer service issues (i'm friends with an ex-manager of that location).

i'm not sure what the point of community guidelines are if they don't prevent opinions like this.

Not the bagman VT deserves, but the bagman VT needs right now.

I'm a salsa and queso man till the day I die, but it's ok in my book with some salsa. Only place I think I've had it is the El Rodeo in Rocky Mount, Va.

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Next y'all going to say Ukrops wasn't the best grocery store.

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☝ I agree with this. Free rainbow cookies!

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

You can order most Ukrops Bakery items online l, Amazon or at Kroger's on the east coast and Midwest.

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*clears throat...

FOOOOOOD LIIOOOONNNN

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Dr. Perky all day long

Wade's Foods and there's no other acceptable answer.

Three words; White House Rolls.

*Mic drop

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Ms. Wade's fried chicken!

Some places call it Rango Sauce. I love it, but it has to be done right. El Gran Rodeo in Christiansburg is the most consistently good one I have had.

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Yep. Spot on.

Agreed

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Theirs is good, but el bronco's is better.

EDIT: Ignore my stupidity

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

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If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

I don't think it reads that pretentious. It is however, pretty darn true. I've become fairly good friends with the owner of a local Mexican restaurant and this has been something we've talked about it the past. His place has a large menu and several great dishes that are more traditional, but by and large his customers are just ordering ACP. Many of them coming for years getting it every time. Like damn, explore the menu just a bit. No one's asking you to be Tony Bourdain but could you at least try some mole sauce?

Not true they serve it at every Mexican joint in Michigan

Free Hugh

Mi Hacienda in Midlothian is a favorite for my wife and I, and we pass by 3 other Mexican restaurants to get there, and the white sauce they have there is magical.

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That place is still there? Used to go all the time with the Rescue Squad. I assure you give Pepe's on Midlothian or Don Pepe's on Hull street a try.

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+1 to Pepe's. My favorite in Richmond. Pepe's in Midlothian was Don Pepe's until the father left to work solely in the other one believe. Awesome wait staff there as well.

Yep the son Pablo (sp), bought it. The dad still owns the other two. Their very first one opened on Hull near Chippenham was right near our house, I was there multiple times a week.

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We went enough that the staff new my entire family. Before it opened we went to Mi Hacienda mostly. Sometimes Casa Grande or Mexico if we were nearby while running errands.

Same here, my dad went enough he and my mom were invited to one of their weddings and the waiters would call my dad up (retired law enforcement) when they had legal questions or when people tried to take advantage of them.

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I live just down Midlothian from both of these places. I've never actually given mi hacienda a try, mainly because I'm in love with Pepe's and they're about the same distance away from me.

Pepe's has blown up recently. They opened up a hibachi bowl place on vcu campus where you can get the white sauce from Pepe's to use like yum yum sauce. Also Pepe's is going to serve food in some capacity at the new Veil location going up in the next year or so.

I'm pretty sure this place used to give kids like little colored wax sticks to mess around with. At least I think this is the place I was like 6 when I was in there last.

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Was just there 2 1/2 hrs. ago for dinner and had both the red and white sauces with my chips... The white sauce is fantastic! Mi Hacienda is wonderful, have been going here as long as they've been around. Excellent folks!

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I've been a VA resident for 15 years, 19 if you count college which I lived in Blacksburg every summer since I started college. I have no clue what you're talking about. I have never seen this. Does it exist in Northern VA?

Probably more the southern bit of Virginia every restaurant in Richmond knows what it is

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Wait, wtf, this stuff is unique to VA? I never knew. I just assumed everywhere had it. I fucking love this shit. It's like the latin inspired yum yum sauce.

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I mean, I love me some salsa too, but I'm pretty sure they use cocaine to make that sauce white.

I haven't had it in forever, miss that shit though

This is 5th Fuller material here.... I'm sure French would love the white cheese.

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

It's not cheese.

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Damnit. I was picturing the white queso... should have read the article and looked at the pic.

I'll drink

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

That's what every other place outside VA thinks too.

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Can confirm both Mexican restaurants in South Boston, VA serve a white sauce with the chips and salsa.

"For those who have passed, for those to come, reach for excellence."

I remember my parents taking me to a specific Mexican restaurant right next to the bridge in Great Bridge for the sole reason that they loved this place's white sauce. Can't remember the name of it off hand but I seem to remember liking the sauce

El Toro Loco I think.

Me and Mrs MattBoard had dinner there the other night when we tried to stop by Big Ugly and couldn't find a parking spot

edit: I am partial to El Azteca in Hampton, but mostly because it is close to work and they serve you so ridiculously fast. They probably just have food heaped up at lunch, but it tastes good, is cheap, and you can get in an out fast enough that I don't question it.

No no, that would have been Three Amigos I believe. A real throw back. That has been gone for like a decade.

That was it! God that's been irking me since I saw this thread

We are all at least in agreement that the best sauce at a Mexican Restaurant is something a little stronger, right?

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El Rod's margaritas

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The local Mexican restaurant in my hood (El Charro's) serves white sauce as well, and I've been known to order a large to take home for extended gaming sessions. That shit is the bomb, and anybody who says otherwise is absolutely, emphatically, unequivocally wrong.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

We have 3 El Charro's in my area but I never tried the white sauce.

Maybe you should.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

I'll have all the naysayers know this is now trending on Richmond Facebook posts.

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Is it trending anywhere they serve Mexican food?

j/k

White sauce...also known as Ranch with Goya Adobe seasoning.

Not even close.

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I hadn't had this stuff till recently. Had never even seen it till I went to the Mexican place just outside NS Norfolk. It's awful.

If you want white sauce on your chips, stick to queso blanco or Chuy's jalapeno ranch.

At first I was like, this guy is so wrong. But then I was like, damn, what a genius. First mention of Chuys in this thread. I'd give you all the legs if I could. I think I'd give up a year of early retirement to have a Chuys in Blacksburg. Seriously good food. Maybe not Mexican but definitely my favorite of this category.

Were you at NAS Jax last night?

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Nah, I'm in the Med on a carrier. Heard about the rotator wreck though

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I will concede that, although white sauce is absolutely the #1 sauce to put on tortilla chips, dipping a chip in queso Blanco and then in salsa makes for a pretty damn good flavor as well. But still nowhere as good as white sauce.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Man, I had no fucking idea this was specific to Virginia.

I always thought it was maybe just certain restaurants that served it. I used to ask for it at every place it went to in Louisiana and they'd look at me like I was crazy.

Also doesn't help that it doesn't really have a name outside of, "that white sauce."

Every place outside of VA thinks it is cheese and looks at you like you are crazy when you try and explain it.

This might explain why this entire thread i'm thinking to myself, 'are they talking about the white sauce or are they talking just about queso blanco'.

I think people just think it's cheese because it so very much resembles cheese and they've infected me with this confusion.

Maybe we should come up with a name for it, then.

On second thought, no.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

It's not cheese French, it's ok.

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It's a food thread, French.

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"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

All of the El Rod's in Roanoke serve it. Great stuff. It's even better if you dip the chip in white sauce and salsa.

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

Was fixing to go to get sushi, but instead, here my wife and I sit in Mi Hacienda with bowls of white sauce sitting in front of us

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They give us the same sauce at the Mexican restaurant we all go to in Huntington. None of us know what it is, but it's so good.

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back in the late 90's, there was a Mexican place in Roanoke we used to go near our office for lunch, and they told us that it was Goat cheese. They said we could get it at most international foods stores. I don't know that all places have that, but it had a very distinct taste and always cost extra if you wanted it for the table chips and salsa.

I F'ing love white sauce in and around my mouth. It's like spicy tangy ranch.

Free Hugh

I F'ing love white sauce in and around my mouth

To quote the late, great Lewis Grizzard...

"Damn, brotha, I don't believe I'd'a told that!"

Or, for a modern reference...

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

spicy, tangy ranch is pretty close to what it is...swap out buttermilk for whole milk and add cumin

First introduced to it at Don Jose in Colonial Heights. Then they sold that location and opened another Mexican place near Southpark Mall. Their sauce was the best.

El Gran Rodeo is at the top too. Never understood why so many liked El Rods, as El Gran was always better to me. El Gaudalupe was really good (though no white sauce) too. Never understood why it closed.

Previously LowBrau.

El Gaudalupe was really good (though no white sauce) too. Never understood why it closed.

That's probably why, because they had no white sauce.

Either that, or it was driving distance for most students, and there were walkable options. That might have been a part of it.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Pretty sure all the love for El Rods in Blacksburg comes from the strength of the 'ritas, not the food.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

This. I went to El Rods to get half a bottle of tequila in my marg, not for the average ACP

Those Margs and Chilaquiles fired off quite a few great thursday/friday nights for some really dumb cheap price.

(add if applicable) /s

El Guad. El Gran. Thirty other places. El Rods.

That's my list.

El Guads. RIP. I heard they had tax issues and possibly an over abundance of illegal employees. Who knows. I miss their chicken nachos.

El Guad didn't pay their correct taxes and was closed. I remember when the food tax was changed, but the cost for my favorite lunch didn't change. Eventually not paying their taxes caught up. The entire staff went to the El Gran Rodeo over by the Lowes.

Yum!

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Fun Fact: "El Charro" is Spanish for "The Charro"

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gotta have two bowls for when the spouse tries to sneak it to their side of the table

I'm pretty sure it's left to right: cheese sauces red salsa and white sauce.

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While I believe you are correct, my strategy is still sound.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

I'm not fat because I don't eat too much.

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I had some white dipping sauce last weekend and it was sweet. Not good. The good stuff tastes more like a homemade ranch dip with cumin.

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

Ok sorry to bring this back but need to know where I can go in Christiansburg or Roanoke I can to today to get some white dip? What is still open AND good? Google reviews are all over the place. Need to get some before we fly out this afternoon.

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El Gran Rodeo in Christiansburg

https://granrodeo.com/

Is it this one?

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I know we took this to Twitter, but for prosperity and any other interested parties, yes, this is the one. They dropped the "El" when they moved from Blacksburg to Christiansburg. I'm married to a Christiansburg native so she/we always call it El Gran for short.

El Rodeo in Roanoke

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

I was pleased to learn there's now a Cabo Fish Taco in RVA

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Might be too late, but I would suggest Los Arcos in Roanoke. Good luck on this great journey

Sitting at the airport currently. Despite 81's best effort to be one lane I love it being such a small airport and now that they have added a TSA pre check lane it takes all of 4 minutes from parking lot to gate.

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Seriously. While I wish we had a few more direct flights, couldn't be much easier to fly out of

My folks requested it here at a fine Tex-Mex place in San Antonio, and the wait staff looked at them like they were loco.

I told them that's a Va thing, and NOT authentic to the real deal.

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