$20 Spicy Chef Challenge #1
Victim: Carlos O'Kellys
Sunday night we ate at Carlos O'Kellys Mexican Restaurant. I got there early, and nursed some beers while waiting for my girlfriend and her mom to show up. The waitress was friendly, but looked pretty bored in her section. As I was perusing the menu, I came across their "spiciest" dish: Más Macho Burro. It had a spicy icon picture next to it and everything! It must be hot. Well, of course it's not really. But an idea struck me at that moment.
When the waitress came by to take our orders, I asked her, "Do your cooks have any leeway in making their dishes? Can they make it more spicy or less spicy?"
She saw me pointing to the Mas Macho Burro in the menu and replied, "Oh yes, they can make it as spicy as you wish! That entree is definitely spicy."
I smile back at her. My girlfriend looking up from her margarita with a puzzled look on her face. "I have a challenge for chef. If he can make this dish so spicy that I can't finish it, I'll give him twenty bucks."
The waitress’s eyes lit up. Her boring night just took a turn for the better. "I'll be sure to tell him EXACTLY what you said." She practically ran back to the kitchen.
Now the cool thing here is how I worded this challenge. Normally if you ask your server to bring your dish extra spicy, you immediately run into two problems. First, "extra spicy" is relative. And let me cut to the chase, I'm a god among mere mortals in this realm. Second, if it's too hot, some asshole customer will bitch and return the dish, getting the waitress and the cook in trouble. Hell, they could even be sued if it hurt the customer.
But what I did that night was give the cook permission to fuck me up. Hell, I endorsed him. Challenged him. Practically called his momma bland. Not only is the gauntlet thrown down, but the limits were removed. If I took one bite, and it was too hot, I would CONGRATULATE him with $20. It's absolutely brilliant, if I do say so myself.
So quite a few minutes later the waitress comes by with more drinks, and I make eye contact and ask slyly, "So, is the chef up to it?"
"Oh my god, yes! He was jumping around yelling, 'Get me the atomic sauce! Grab those jalapenos'," she replied.
I smile, "Can't wait".
It wasn't long after that we got our meals. I swear to god that the kitchen cooked our meals first, making everyone else in the restaurant wait. The waitress gives everyone their plate, and then does me last. With a big flourish of the arm, and nasty grin, she puts down the biggest fucking plate I've ever seen. "Remember, the whole thing. Or Twenty Bucks! Oh yea, he said to use these too," and put down 2 more hot sauce bottles on the table.
Holy shit. The burrito was 14 inches long, if it was 3. It was huge. And the fuckers filled up the rest of the plate with extra rice and extra beans. I am pretty sure the table tilted in my direction due to the weight. I suddenly realized there was a loophole in my challenge. He supersized me. After the shock, I had to smile. The chef showed some ingenuity. Not only was it a heat challenge, now it was a quantity challenge. In my mind, I could hear him snickering in the kitchen.
Well, like they say, each marathon starts with the first step. Already conceding defeat, I took my first bite anyway. DAMN, it was good. Usually I pick chicken as the meat, but I didn't want to fiddle with the ingredients when I ordered this challenge, so I was stuck with the shredded beef. I'm glad - it was excellent. The tortilla was bursting in capacity - every time I cut into the tortilla, jalapeno slices spilled out, skating down on all the atomic sauce.
I had to laugh at the 2 hot sauces she brought me. There was already a Cholula bottle on the table when I came in, My half bottle of Tabasco was sitting next to it, and she brings out Original Louisiana and Pickapeppa Sauce. Basically, 4 of the weaker sauces in the world. The cook should have realized that their Atomic sauce is much hotter than any of these. But to follow his rules, I splashed some of both on the top. I would have used more, but I needed to finish the Tabasco bottle during this meal.
Half way through the tortilla, I ate the garnish: Half a raw jalapeño. Now this was the hottest thing on the plate. My mouth felt a low buzzing, and I enjoyed a nice mellow glow for about 5 minutes. It was really enjoyable then.
The waitress came by quite often, stopping once and asking me how it was. I told her it was delicious, that the cook did a bang up job. Best meal I've had in quite a while. She looked a little disappointed, "Did you try the hot sauce too?" I told her yes, but the sauces aren't hot. "You're nuts," she said and walked away.
Well, I am extremely embarrassed to admit it, but I finished the whole damn plate. I was full. Very full. But not gut busting full. Fuck, I need to go on a diet.
When she came back at the end of the meal, she asked for my plate. "He wants to see proof that you ate it all." I explained to her that it was a nice try, but he probably just doesn't have the right tools for the challenge. Those sliced jalapenos that come out of a large jar are more pickled than hot. The Atomic sauce is delicious, but not atomic, and the hot sauces were pretty mild sauces. The only hot thing on the plate was the garnish, and even that was yummy. Next time he should sneak more of the garnish inside the tortilla, then at least we'd be getting somewhere.
It was a hell of a lot of fun, and I'm going to do this every time I go out now.
I left the waitress a 20% tip, and gave the cook the same amount. A "Nice try though!" written on the check.
Topics: Hot Sauce, Challenge, Spicy