We’ve been enjoying this taco-and-salsa combo all summer. But now you’re in on the secret too.

Leah: This is the story of when you share a recipe with a friend and she makes it so much better.

Renee: One Yom Tov, I wined and dined my in-laws for 3 days. I slaved over all kinds of desserts and appetizers, yet the one thing they still talk about today is the mango salsa that I plated with the Reserve Cut Tacos from Secret Restaurant Recipes.

Leah: It’s always been everyone’s favorite. There hasn’t been a person who wasn’t excited when we got that “Secret” recipe from Reserve Cut, one of the top kosher restaurants in Manhattan.

Renee: I always felt that this recipe is awesome but the presentation a bit blah. On erev Yom Tov, my friend Rivki S. sent this salsa and nonchalantly suggested I serve it with anything that needs some oomph. Well, making a long story short, the salsa was a hit and my mother-in-law raved about it while I had to pretend I knew exactly how I made it.

Leah: And since the meat freezes so well, it’s really the perfect appetizer to prep ahead. When Renee said, ‘Let’s share it on Between Carpools. I said, sure. More people should know the secret. And then the day of the shoot came and she pulled this salsa out of nowhere. Reserve Cut should take note. This is the salsa that’s made to go together with these tacos. We sat down during the shoot and ate it on the spot. We didn’t leave one cube behind.

So here you go.  That perfect addition to any meal. And the perfect appetizer this Yom Tov.

Disclaimer: We have been eating this over and over all summer long, feeling kind of guilty every time, that we couldn’t yet share the recipe with you. Well, here it is.

Mango Salsa
  • 1 firm mango, diced small
  • 1 red pepper, diced small
  • 1 orange pepper, diced small
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, diced small (don’t peel)
  • 1 small red onion, diced small
  • Bunch of parsley, chopped finely
  • Mint, chopped finely (optional but highly recommended)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Pinch of hot pepper flakes
  • Dash of salt
  1. The trick here is the small dice. Be patient and put your best knife skills forward. Dont skimp or rush, the size makes all of the difference, for presentation and taste.
This salad is great served with any meat or fish. Because of the tiny dice it will keep well for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Some hold that tiny diced salad shouldn't be cut on Shabbos. Please ask your LOR.


Short Rib Tacos
  • You can use a cut of meat that’s cheaper, but cook it longer (always make sure there’s plenty of liquid in the pan) so it gets super soft.
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 pounds lean beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 24 mini taco shells or wonton wrappers
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large, heavy, oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, and brown the ribs on all sides, about 5 minutes, working in batches if necessary. Sprinkle ribs with salt and black pepper as they brown. Transfer cooked ribs to paper towels to blot up extra oil.
  3. Stir in the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Mix in tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, beef stock, apple cider, and mustard; bring the sauce to a boil, and simmer for 1 minute to blend flavors. Stir in the browned ribs.
  4. Cover the pot, and bake in the preheated oven until the rib meat is very soft about 2½ hours. Turn the ribs occasionally while cooking.
  5. Hand shred beef. Season with salt and pepper. Return to a pan with some of the cooking sauce and cook until warm. Stuff into taco shells, or to make your own using wonton wrappers (instructions below).

How to Make Your Own Mini Taco Shells from Wonton Wrappers:
There are two ways to fry wonton wrappers so they take the shape of a taco. To get them perfectly shaped like the restaurant, you’ll need to use a taco shell deep fryer basket. A taco shell maker/taco press, which looks like tongs,  will also mold a taco into shape as it fries, but you’ll have to fry one by one. You can still make a mini taco shell without any gadgets at all. Heat oil in a saute pan or skillet. Fold the wonton wrapper in half at dip one side into the hot oil. Use a fork to press it down at the bottom. Use tongs to hold the top half in place. Once the bottom becomes stiff and crisp, flip and fry the opposite side.


  1. Can you share the best way to make this ahead of time?
    1) Freeze the meat whole or shredded?
    2) How far in advance can the salsa be made?
    3) Do the short ribs have bones in them when you buy them?

    • 1) I freeze the meat shredded. Defrosts so easily and quickly.

      3) The original recipe (the 5 lbs) refers to bone-in but we’ve made it with lots of different cuts. Leah has only used boneless ribs, flanken, or French roast cut into chunks. I think Renee uses the original short ribs. I’ve used brisket (2nd cut) and brick roast (I think that’s the same as French roast in some butchers. Of course, if using boneless, you don’t need 5 lbs.

  2. Wow! This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try. If using a second cut brisket do you cut into cubes to brown?
    🙊poor Renee, she always works so hard and her guests like something she x make (I’m sure that’s not true, she’s an amazing cook and hostess! Lol!)

  3. These are the bomb in my house a must for every occasion! A few pointers:

    Totally worth splurging on the right meat, no bones. It’s melt in your mouth tender. I got a cheaper cut once was very disappointing.
    I do my Salsa with lime and cilantro instead of lemon and mint/ parsley it’s a knockout!
    When plating you can make your own taco stands by cutting a lime in half then cut side down cut a v shape notch to hold the tacos.

    • The mango salsa does not freeze, however, you can prepare it up to 3 days in advance. It will be less crunchy but just as flavorful


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