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The Smoking Tongue

August 17, 2005

$20 Spicy Chef Challenge #2

Victim: Durango's
Winner: No one.

On Saturday we were out of town visiting family. For weeks they've been telling me about this excellent Mexican restaurant in their town that we just HAVE to try. They have such a HOT hot sauce bottle there! We do some research, as I analyze their descriptions and we go through my collection. When we finally narrow it down, I'm impressed. If this place puts this bottle on every table, then they ain't messing around. They also make killer margaritas. They think gringos like Mango, so that is what you get when you ask for one. If you specify a flavor, they might understand your English and give you the right one. But it's never very strong. The Mango ones, however, are pipin' drunk.

Can't wait to go.

"Please come this way, my friends," The host said.

He seated us at a booth, and all 4 of us got in. He saw my hot sauce bottle and grabbed it, "Can I see your sauce, my friend?"

Uh... sure. How embarrassing, It's the weak green Ditka sauce.

"You should try our sauce, my friend."

I nod and agree. "I've had it before, it's very hot", I say. It's the XXXTra El Yucateco sauce. I just ate a whole bottle of it a few days ago.

Three other waiters or staff walk by and they all take big interest in my hot sauce. I meekly say it's weak, yes it's got jalapenos in it. I just can't explain that I'm stuck with the bottle today because I have to eat a bottle a day, every day.

"You should try our sauce," they all say, pointing to the El Yucateco.

Argh! In hind sight, I should have taken a HUGE swig of the El Yucateco. Poured a huge amount on a chip and eaten it in front of them. But instead, all I can think about is saving my taste buds for the big challenge. Not to mention I need to tap this Ditka sauce to hit my quota today.

We finally order, and I order last: "....and if you could make this so spicy that I can't finish it, I'll give the chef twenty dollars." Blank stare. "It's like a challenge." Crickets chirp. I repeat the story.

"Err.... So you would like it very spicy, my friend?"

Yes. Very Hot. Muerte. I make a finger across the throat sign.

My shoulders slump. He has no clue what I said. I feel like an idiot. His English is much better than my Spanish, so I'm not complaining at all. I wish I'd get off my ass and learn Spanish again. Or hadn't sluffed off in High School and College in the subject.

The meal comes, and he puts everyone's food down. A few minutes later he comes by with more drinks and says to me, "I didn't make your meal very spicy, my friend."

No? Why not? I try to give my most crestfallen face as I pour the rest of my sauce on the burrito. He doesn't answer.

To be honest, it tastes really good. Ironically it's hotter than the first time I tried this. I can tell they jacked up some peppers in the meal, and damn if it doesn't go good with the beef & chicken. But it's only a sucker punch. Nothing too crazy. I make the most of it and go back to enjoying the meal with everyone.

After I finish without any problems he comes by and apologizes. It turns out that he had a person before boast loudly and arrogantly to make it very very spicy. They obliged and the guy couldn't eat it. So they made him another one.

Thanks a lot asshole, whoever you are. Now, I know this stuff happens, and I certainly don't want to put any of these guys out. It's a business, and they shouldn't have to remake food for free because someone got what they asked for. And that's why I try to emphasize when I order that I'd be PLEASED when I couldn't finish it. That I'd pay them MORE money if I can't finish it. Hell, I can eat chips and salsa if I have to. My girlfriend hates rice & beans, and she'd give me that if I was hungry. Anyway, all of this was simply lost because of the language barrier. Not to mention the pussy Ditka sauce that I brought in.

I truly missed an opportunity to wow them with the El Yucateco sauce.

"My friend, next time you are here, we will make it very, very spicy."

I look forward to it!

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4 Comments:

  • It's too bad they diden't understand what you were asking them, but maybe they did but someone else messed it up for you. or maybe just maybe they saw your sauce and said he can't handle heat and we will have to make him another dish as well. It's good to know that it's all quiet on the gastronomical front too.

    By Blogger Mr. Matt, at 12:05 PM, August 17, 2005  

  • Nothing better than homemade fiery foods. You need to go back quickly to take them up on the offer for hotter next time!

    By Blogger John S., at 5:54 PM, August 17, 2005  

  • I've been refused them making my food disastrously spicy a lot of times, based purely on the fact that it was against their health and safety policy to have me die in there.

    By Anonymous Will, at 12:24 AM, August 18, 2005  

  • Yea john, I know I'll be back in October. Maybe even before that.

    Will, you bring up a good point. That's why the approach is so important. I guess that's just part of the challenge. One I'm going to have to practice each time.

    By Blogger Smoking Tongue, at 5:07 AM, August 20, 2005  

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