A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 01, 2006
Salsa Picante (Picante Sauce)

Salsa Picante (or Picante Sauce, or simply “hot sauce") was popularlized just after World War II, when David Pace introduced his Picante Sauce in 1947. Mexicans had been making “hot sauce” for many years—the Oxford English Dictionary records the term in SPanish from the 1600s.

Pace is also famous for the “Salsa From New York City?” commercials.


(Oxford English Dictionary)
picante, n. and adj.
[< Spanish picante (1737 as a slang term in sense ‘pepper’, 1748 in American Spanish (Peru) in sense ‘spicy foodstuffs’ or perh. ‘hot sauce’; earlier in abstract sense ‘spiciness’ (1599 or earlier)), use as noun of picante PIQUANT adj. In quot. 1693 at sense A. prob. after Spanish salsa picante (1611 or earlier in plural salsas picantes, though this is app. not subsequently attested until the early 19th cent.). Cf. earlier PIQUANT n., PIQUANT adj.]

A. n.  Any of various spicy, hot sauces or dishes traditionally associated with Spanish or Latin American cuisine.
In quot. 1693 as part of an extended metaphor.
1693 T. RYMER Short View Trag. sig. K4v, But that..the melancholy Scenes lye too heavy, undigested on our Stomach, this Act gives us for a farewell, the salsa, O picante, some quibbles, and smart touches.
1825 W. B. STEVENSON Trav. in South Amer. I. xiv. 341 This is the favourite picante, and to my taste is extremely delicate. 1894 Catholic World Aug. 602 The people are of the lower class, called Cholos; they use for food picante, a native dish of Chili peppers and corn, with potatoes and a piece of the guinea pig. 1974 Black World Jan. 73 Don’t you know that bodegas feed negritos and picante makes food feel good.

B. adj.  Of food: hot, spicy. Also in extended use.
Chiefly used in reference to Spanish or Latin American cuisine.
1955 Jrnl. Amer. Folklore 68 125 The chile and the onion are hot because they generate within themselves the picante quality which burns a person’s mouth when he eats them. All picante foods are classified as hot. 1972 D. KENNEDY Cuisines Mexico i. 37 A large, good-quality ancho [chilli] is about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide, and it ranges from almost mild to picante.

Pace Southwestern Cooking Glossary
Picante
[pick-CON-tay]
The Spanish word for “spicy”. In the U.S., Picante Sauce is known as a Mexican dip, condiment or cooking ingredient that can be mild or spicy. It is typically thinner and less chunky than salsa, but it is also made from tomatoes, onions and chiles. 

Pace History
The David Pace Story
In 1947, a young Texan named David Pace had a passion for producing the freshest tasting picante sauce. Determined to create a product that lived up to his expectations, David experimented with ingredients and bottling techniques.

First Steps
As a young boy, David worked at his family’s syrup business. This experience gave him a solid understanding of food processing techniques. In college, David earned a football scholarship to Tulane University, where he played in the first Sugar Bowl, while studying to become a dentist.

After college, David turned to coaching until World War II. After serving duty, David returned to San Antonio, and — luckily for salsa and picante sauce fans — re-entered the food business.

A Different Path
With the end of the war and sugar rationing, the bottom fell out of the syrup industry. David re-evaluated his position and his surroundings and promptly decided that the real “syrup” of Texas was picante sauce.

David’s passion for fresh ingredients led him to experiment with jalapeños, onions and garlic sautéed in oil. Because he felt that the oil interfered with the taste, he substituted tomatoes for the oil....and voilà! — the first commercially available picante sauce.

David believed that picante sauce should be added to everyday food like eggs, chicken and burgers. He was even known to put picante sauce in his coffee. That’s a fact, by the way, not a serving suggestion!

The final product—a special blend of tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños and a unique production process—became Pace Picante Sauce. Of course, none of this stuff happened overnight, and David’s curious career twists of fate are the stuff of legends.

The Tex-Mex Cookbook
by Robb Walsh
New York: Boradway Books
2004
Pg. 6:
SALSA PICANTE
Salsa picante or picante sauce is the chunky tomato and chile sauce also known as “hot sauce” in English. In Tex-Mex restaurants, it refers to the omnipresent table sauce that is spooned onto tacos, eggs, and guacamole and used as a dip for tortilla chips. Pepper sauce is a vinegar-based solution dispensed from a shaker bottle, such as Tabasco sauce. Salsa ranchera is blander and made with more tomatoes.

2 December 1891, Indiana (PA) County Gazette, pg. 4, col. 2:
At dinner in the legation the other day Messrs. Carrerra and Mackenna supplied some salsa picante for the meal by quarrelling, rising from their seats, and “having it out” right there, while the others were finishing their roast beef.

4 October 1946, Yuma (AZ) Weekly Sun, pg. 3, col. 8 ad:
BENNIE’S CABANA
(...)
Old Fashioned Meat Loaf
with Sauce Picante

21 July 1950, Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, TX), section 2, pg.5:
PACE’S
PICANTE
SPANISH HOT SAUCE
6-Oz. Bottle
17c

14 April 1958, Newark (OH) Advocate, pg. 10, col. 2:
DINNER LATIN AMERICAN
(...)
Con Salsa Picante

24 April 1958, Reno (NV) Evening Gazette, pg.4:
In the cold belly of the plane, I am packing a complete Mexican dinner for 10 people: Tortillas, tacos, enchiladas, salsa picante, green hot peppers—“the chiles of the poor” they call them because in Mexico everyone can afford them.

29 April 1958, Reno (NV) Evening Gazette, pg.4:
“Also in these boxes are a few bottles of salsa picante.”

16 November 1967, Dallas Morning News, section E, pg. 15:
SAN ANTONIO, Texas—A genuine gourmet-type Mexican Picante Sauce is being introduced nationally by Gebhardt’s Mexican Foods Co.
(...)
Picante Sauce is a blend of tomato paste, chili peppers, onion, sesame seeds and oil, carrots, pickles, bean gum and selected spices and flavorings developed by Gebhardt.

(Trademark)
Word Mark TEXAS GOURMET PICANTE SALSA
Goods and Services IC 030. US 046. G & S: picante sauce, [ barbecue sauce, ketchup, relishes, dry chile seasonings ]. FIRST USE: 19910129. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19910218
Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code 05.11.01 - Beets; Carrots; Parsnips; Potatoes
05.11.04 - Tomatoes
26.11.02 - Plain single line rectangles; Rectangles (single line)
26.17.13 - Letters or words underlined and/or overlined by one or more strokes or lines; Overlined words or letters; Underlined words or letters
Serial Number 74124126
Filing Date December 17, 1990
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition October 8, 1991
Change In Registration CHANGE IN REGISTRATION HAS OCCURRED
Registration Number 1855319
Registration Date September 20, 1994
Owner (REGISTRANT) SPICE MOUNTAIN FOODS, INC. CORPORATION TEXAS 2830 Miramar Drive Carrollton TEXAS 75007
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record ANITA NESSER
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “TEXAS” OR “PICANTE SALSA” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Description of Mark The mark contains a stylized depiction of a tomato and a chile pepper.
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR).
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE