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Best Chips and Salsa Phoenix 2000 - Pica Poco Taco

Some Mexican restaurants have great chips. Some have great salsa. The red and green neon lighted salsa bar at Pica Poco Taco has them both.

The chips here are homemade, stacked high in a large bin atop the bar, where they're kept warm and replaced constantly through the day. They're thick and crisp, and customers are free to scoop to their heart's content.

Salsas, too, are homemade and fresh. Mild, traditional salsa is powerful, rich with tomato juices anchored by chunks of tomato, onion, chile and cilantro leaves. Sweet tomatillo salsa packs a one-two punch with marvelously tangy vinegar tones. A sign warns that the bright orange salsa Pica Poco is hot, and it is -- a smoldering purée hides heat that grips and won't let go.

Plunk some of each into the little plastic cups at the bar. Taste them all. But remember, as the sign above the bar requests, take only what you can eat -- "This salsa is too precious to waste." We'll say it is.

Readers' Choice for Best Salsa: Macayo

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