Portland grocery-store aisles are lands of salty, fatty opportunity for snack-food fans, but when it comes to a tortilla chip that sets the crispy gold standard, it’s all about locally made Juanita’s. The salt-to-oil ratio sets Juanita’s tortilla chips apart from Tostitos and their brethren. Made in Hood River since 1977, the chips fried up by this family-owned tortilla and Mexican-food factory are an obsession for locals looking to indulge in a guacamole-and-salsa bender.
Juana Dominguez opened her factory in Hood River after years of working in Californian frozen-tortilla companies during the 1950s. The chips are deceptively simple: stone-ground-corn masa flour, a “touch of lime,” salt and water. “Our chip is different from others because we just learned to make it better without adding additional chemicals to make it taste better,” explains Joe Dominguez, vice president of Juanita’s. Agreed. Once the bag is open, it’s almost impossible to stop cramming them into your mouth. The lifespan of one red bag of Juanita’s in my house: three days. That’s it. That’s three days of eating nothing but chips for every snack, pre- and post meal. The only thing better than these greasy, salty triangles of deliciousness? Eating ’em with a pint of Emerald Valley salsa.
EAT: Juanita’s Corn Tortilla Chips are available at Whole Foods, Safeway, Fred Meyer, WinCo Foods and online. $1.99 for a 15-ounce bag. Info at juanitasfinefoods.com.