This one goes out to all our homies from the south who no longer live in a state bordering Mexico: is good queso from a jar an oxymoron? We’re so over trying to explain that queso is so, so much more than “cheese dip” to our well-meaning, cheese-loving Yankee friends, but when you live in a place where there are just a handful of places sparingly dispersed that even attempt to do queso justice (some failing explosively), it can be harder to show than to tell. What are you to do if you’re desperado for queso and you can’t make it to Texas or the few places in the city that do right by a discerning Texan’s queso palate? Suffer? We decided that wasn’t an option and took one (four) for the team to see if it is ever worth it to eat queso from a jar. We taste tested a range of jarred cheese foods ranging from gas-station to fine quality to see which, if any, was best.
Trader Joe’s Queso Cheese Dip
This was weirdly fresh tasting thanks to lots of lime and cilantro, almost like salsa mixed with cheese. It wasn’t too salty and had lots of flavor, though it was pretty mild. Wouldn’t be mad if someone served this to me in a restaurant.
Desert Pepper Chile con Queso
This is more like nacho cheese that comes from a big tub at baseball games or in cafeterias. Like Velveeta in the worst way. Real sad and not legit.
SalpicA Salsa con Queso
This was pretty smoky and good, like there were chipotle peppers involved. It was creamier with big chunks of tomato and pepper, which seemed right, but it didn’t really taste authentic.
Tostitos Queso Nacho Cheese Dip
Too creamy, like mac and cheese sauce. We don’t hate it though!