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Posted August 17, 2005 by Adam in Hot Sauce News
 
 

Some Like it Hot


Welcome to another HSB reviewer. Adam also writes/runs the Men In Aprons blog

In the world of firey foods, there are two kinds of people: those who will and those who won’t. Those who will are those who burn … and like it. You may find these two type of people at any given moment in a Mexican food restaurant somewhere in the world. The conversation sounds something like this:

“Man, you should try this salsa!”

“I did, and now I can’t feel my mouth.

“Me neither! Ain’t it great!”

That person would be me. My name is Adam, and I like it hot.

My introduction into the world of chile peppers began when I was a small child and I saw my father put some pepper sauce on his lima beans at dinner. I was intrigued. When I asked what it was, he told me it was pepper sauce and held it under my nose. I did. And I was disgusted.

No, my hot sauce home at that point in time was a little bowl of red stuff at the local Tex-Mex eatery called Tia’s. I was such a wuss back then, just barely dipping one centimeter of the corner of my chip into the bowl of salsa. I shook all the excess off then ate it. Then, after downing about 2 glasses of water because my mouth was ON FIRE, I went back for the next chip.

My parents laughed at me, but encouraged me gently. It was a tumultuous experience, but one thing was for sure: I loved it. Over the years, I was able to put more and more on each chip, until I was actually able to taste the flavor. In my teenage years, I began to put salsa on other things like beans and rice, eventually spooning large amounts directly onto my enchiladas and tacos.

College. The first week I came down here to Austin, some friends took me out to dinner at a restaurant called Jalisco. There is an interesting entry on the menu: El Muy Picante. It is shredded pork in a very hot sauce served with rice, beans, tortillas, and all the fixings just like fajitas. There was a caveat: “This dish is very very spicy. All sodas, iced tea, and milk are free with this dish. All of those who finish get to sign the book of honor.”

My eyes skipped over the spicy part and saw FREE DRINKS! I was a broke college student, so you know that I had to accept the challenge, no matter what kind of pain it would impart on my sphincter. Because hey … free drinks.

When the meal arrived, it smelled great. I made up a tortilla and took a bite. The heat hit me instantly. I managed to finish the first one without coughing or gagging, but my eyes blurred from the tears, and my nose started to run into my mouth. I inhaled big gulps of water, which did nothing. I then ate another, not wanting to get gipped on those free drinks, but more importantly I wanted to sign the book of honor. My mouth, tongue, gums, lips, and throat were all on fire, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had just taken the big bong hit of capsaicin, and I knew that if I didn’t die right there, I would be able to hold my own against most chile pepper concoctions from then on.

I just know the line cooks were probably laughing at me. “Hey look, Gringo is turning red.” In hindsight, I know that what they used was habanero peppers to spice it up.

So here I am. I live in Central Texas with my wife and two kids, and I love to put hot sauce on my food. I usually gauge the quality of hot sauce by two dishes: Eggs and Macaroni. I really like my foods spicy, but if it’s so hot, I can’t taste the flavor, I usually don’t think it’s worth eating. Tabasco is my favorite vinegar-based hot sauce, and my favorite salsa is Anna’s Salsa, a local fresh variety found in the produce section of local grocery stores.


Adam