Suffering from a minor gastro-intestinal anomaly this morning, I decided to make a list of one of my greatest pleasures – spicy foods. I’ll list them roughly from mildest to hottest. Some of them actually have warnings for people with breathing problems, so please understand that it’s taken me years to build up to many of these. Otherwise, you’ll have to sign a waiver (just kidding, though I’d love comments).
1. I’ll start with plain old-fashioned red pepper flakes – I love the versatility and buy it in the super-size cartons; great on pasta with marinara sauce
2. Andy Capp Hot Fries – what makes me mention them is that they were my earliest introduction to heat in a childhood home where the hottest thing my parents have to this day is chili powder
3. Frank’s XXX – now onto the serious list I’ll first mention that Frank’s carries a milder version without the “XXX” insignia and it’s still good, better in my opinion than the famous Tabasco with less of the overwhelming vinegar (forgive me, Tabasco people, and know that I still love my six art posters featuring your bottle!)
4. Carolina Gold – I found this at a diner while visiting my parents and liked it so well I purchased a whole case off the internet rather than wasting time in a brick and mortar store search
5. Family Value generic salsa – seriously! It’s got a great, fresh flavor
6. Melinda’s Mango Hot Sauce – I honestly haven’t tried the hotter stuff; it’s not all about the Scoville units
7. Pain is Good salsa – I need to try some of their sauces
8. Bird’s Eye dried chilis – this treat from Thailand kicked my late aunt’s Mongolian beef recipe to a new level, the memory is making me sweat; in Thailand it’s called phrik khi nu, literal: mouse dropping chili (I think due to the size and shape, though their mice must be huge!)
9. Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin’ – last night I had a shot and beer at the bar followed by the lower rated Wild sauce and found myself in a very happy place – I’ll have to remember that next time; drink first and eat after!
10. Rooster’s Super Killer – the first time I had this, I almost fell off my bar stool; on work nights the Donkey sauce is my choice even after the second hottest Killer
11. Quaker Steak and Lube Atomic Sauce – though I swear they’ve “dumbed it down”, I like it on their skinless chicken salad – removing the fat really cranks up the experience
12. Endorphin Rush – well-named, it’s more of an additive to cooler and less bitter sauces; pairs well with Frank’s
13. Dave's Gourmet Ghost Pepper Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce– I haven’t dared revisit this dangerous flavor adventure since a teaspoon on my homemade chili kept me awake five hours later as it tried to eat through the wall of my stomach
I lament that my current office is several minutes’ walk from the restroom. So many hot foods, so little time. Sigh…
Maybe I’ll retire to Thailand.