Fiery Foods Show ’08 Saturday
Have you ever eaten something so spicy it made your eyes water? How ’bout something so hot it caused hiccups? Maybe you’ve ingested something that made you gasp for air? Swallowed anything that made you sweat? Did you grin and immediately decide you must have said product? If so you really owe it to yourself to attend one of these tongue toasting, head sweating, sucking air, where’s my beer?, chilepaloozas!
Well, if you are reading this and didn’t attend the show, you are probably wishing we would stop talking about it. I know exactly how you feel. That was me last year! I watched as the days to the show counted down. I read every post, and I swore to myself “I will be there next year!”.
This was only the 2nd show I have ever been to. The 1st show was ZestFest last year in Fort Worth.
We arrived later Friday on separate flights. My wife got to the hotel about 2 hours before I did ( we flew on miles), so she took a nap. We made a few phone calls and ended up B.S.’ing with MSK all night.
I have been told that they had a record breaking attendance this year. I was shocked at the size of the crowd on Saturday morning when I came down from my room. The only thing I have ever seen like this is a rock concert! The crowd was 6-8 people deep and more than 100 yards long!
Did I have to wait in this line? I thought to myself “I am screwed “! It was still 1/2 an hour before the show started, my wife was still getting ready upstairs, and I was getting ready to panic! I approached one of the security guards clutching my pre-registration paper work. “Just go to the counter there and get your badge”, he told me. WOOO HOOO!!! I excitedly grabbed a badge for myself and my wife and boogied into the show. I walked past a table at the entry that had bags with The 20th Annual Fiery Foods Show silkscreened on them (these were gone before the public got in). Let me pause to give you a little tip, if you see something you want here, get it before it’s gone!
I decided I should first unload a little weight from my backpack, so as soon as I saw Danny Cash’s booth I dropped off a gift. If you are a vendor just in attendance at an event remember gifts of booze are always appreciated especially if you have just released two new Bloody Mary mixes. I met Danny at ZestFest and he really has helped us out, so a token of appreciation was in order.
Lee, Pepperman, Alaina, and Danny
I stopped next door at Jim Campbell’s booth to say hi and ask If he knew where Big Dawg Salsa’s booth was. Jim gave me directions and away I went. I had committed to work at Darrell and Candy’s booth for a jar of salsa and a beer per hour. Turns out they didn’t need my help. Being released of this commitment I returned to the room, dropped off the wifes badge, and told her to hurry up ’cause it looked to be over 1000 people in line waiting to get in already. I then headed back to the show.
One of the great things about these blogs is you get to know what people look like. When you see them you can just step up and introduce yourself. The first new friend I met at the show was ChileheadEd, the maker of Redrum hot sauces. I was asking the guy at the Zeo label printing booth if that was the same machine that Danny Cash uses. Since the show had not started yet Ed could clearly hear the conversation. “He uses a Primera 400”, Ed stated flatly as he walked by. I finished up my conversation with the guy at Zeo, thanked him for his time, and tracked Ed down.
When I caught up with him, I introduced myself, and got the scoop on where to find Buddah, another friend from the blogs that I had never met in person. Those of you who know Buddah know he is never at a loss for words. Budah had many great recommends, having been to the show the night before. Buddahs friend Steve while not yet a chilehead, got a great introduction to all things spicy.
After I met Buddah and Steve we tried some of the Intensity Academy products, and since they were sharing a booth with Bodine I tried everything they had as well. I left the booth with my backpack 5 bottles heavier.
I wandered back to Big Dawg’s booth and munched on some of their samples. My wife called and let me know she was at the DC booth, so I was off to meet her. By this time the crowds had been not so slowly building and it was getting harder and harder to get through the aisles. Danny put together a beverage for me (’cause sampling hot sauces all day is mighty thirsty work). We decided to make a beeline for the CaJohn booth. On the way we stopped by the Salsa king booth and tried some delicious salsas. My favorites contained seafood and pumpkin seeds.
Sue, John, and Tina
When we got to John and Sue’s booth we were pretty much swamped by the crowd of people that just kept building. John invited us into the booth so we could chat and try some of the new goodies he had created. At that moment I probably looked like the Cheshire cat (ear to ear grin). I had brought a few old label Wanza’s Wicked Temptation bottles with me and had Sue (Wanza) sign them for me. I also got an awesome picture of John , Sue and My lovely wife Tina. We asked what they were doing for the evening, and found out they were going to the vendor party sponsored by El Pinto. They offered us a ride if we wanted, could this get any better? I sampled the new super secret processed Killer Chipotle, Killer Jalapeno, Killer Cayenne, and then the Lethal Ingestion, which Sue was serving up out of an injector syringe. These are hot, the latter of the group is on par with extract. No extract taste, pepper flavor then HEAT! My backpack was a couple bottles heavier now and I was sweating a little, at least I think it was a little.
Next Stop was Tony Legner’s booth. He had stopped in and said hi while we were talking to John and told us to come on down. Tony, Maddie, JD and his wife made up the crew of four fun loving Texans running the booth. At this stop we were again invited in to the sanctuary that now existed only inside the booth. The crowd had reduced all movement to foot shuffling only. I had started a rumor that Tony would have a new hot sauce at the show. People had already been asking him about it. Well turns out none of the recipes he came up with met his high standards, so instead he produced a new steak sauce and some pickled goodies for Bloody Marys. Still sweating backpack much heavier we turned the corner from Tony’s booth I grabbed a beer and we shuffled back toward the entrance/exit, which as it turned out was a whole beer away, perfect. We went back to the room and unloaded the pack.
After resting our feet for a few minutes and making myself a cocktail in disguise (rum and Coke in the coke 20 oz bottle), we headed back to the show. On our way out the door I commented to my wife how much this was like Mardi Gras. “That’s exactly what I was thinking!”, she burst out. Dropping off the sauce each time the pack got heavy was reminicent of dropping off beads everytime they got too heavy.
When we got back into the show we worked our way through the crowd to Capt. Thom’s booth I love their Dia De los Muertos, and it is my son Zack’s 2nd favorite sauce (only behind THT Crybaby). Since we were stopped I tried everything they had. Wow, the Thai Monkey, White Zombie and African Queen were deeelicious more weight in the pack and let’s keep movin’. The next stop was once again Big Dawg. We asked them what they were doing for the evening. Turned out they were going to go out for steaks with the Campbells instead of the vendor party. Bummer! By this time the wife was getting pretty hungry so we decided to go eat outside by the pool since it was 70 degrees out.
Sir, do you know who did this to you?
Before we made it outside we saw the paramedics attending to a wanna be chilehead emergency. Apparently someone ate something way out of their league, and forgot how to breathe. I couldn’t resist getting a few pics. This quickly brought security, I told them of course, I was taking pictures of the hot sauce booths. The pool side fare was pretty limited, burgers brats, or marinated chicken breast. The wife did the burger, I got a brat. As soon as we sat down I looked over and saw a rugged looking group of chileheads. Buddah, Steve, Chili, The Creator, ChileheadEd, and Bwana Bret were all chillin’ at the other end of the pool area. I had a few things for Buddah so I went over and snapped a photo before eating my meal and ended up handing off a couple bottles.
Buddah, Steve, Chili, The Creator, ChileheadEd, Bwana Bret
Now with actual food in my stomach, I fealt safe trying some of the Creator’s unique version of pain. I started with the Defcon 3, tasty but not hot. I decided to skip to the Deathmatch sauce. This was sampled off a swizzle stick which John dipped into the evil elixir. Nice, and head sweatin’ good heat. Next up? Zero of course! This request made John’s Smile double in size. I get the feeling he likes to hurt people. This one served off the same swizzle stick pain delivery device, seemed to have a certain bitterness I would compare to very dark chocolate, like 85% cacao. Maybe it’s just me? Anyway, I like the extra dark bitter chocolate flavor. So Zero was my fave out of the group. Since the endorphin rush would last for awhile I don’t recall sampling anything after that on Saturday. I do know I shuffled my way toward the beer vendor.
John all decked out
Next stop would be the El Pinto party. We were lucky enough to catch a ride on the CaJohn short bus! The more the merrier. 9 in one van. Buddah, Steve, Chilly Willy, Nate Dog, Myself, My wife Tina, Cowboy George, Sue and John. Free food, and some free drinks. Every one was asking what is up with the dudes wearing the pink Bermuda shorts and knee high black socks with dress shoes? Well it turns out they are the owners of Bermuda Jam Factory. They are sporting what would be common fashion in Bermuda. Cajohn’s bus was nearly the last to leave the venue, we headed back to the hotel roof top bar.
Danny discovers the mystery shot is Rumpelminze
We didn’t stay out late enough to close the bar , but hung out long enought to meet Lynn Duck AKA Devil duck and received a sample bottle of his Nuclear Scurvy Sauce. I surprised both Buddah and Danny Cash with the mystery shot. “Just drink it”, I told them, “you will recognize it”! Rumpleminze, a different kinda burn! By now it was bedtime so we said are good byes. Back at the room we pre-ordered room service and then crashed!
To be cont……