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The Smoking Tongue

November 28, 2005

Day 130: Bee Sting Mango

Full name: "Half Moon Bay Trading Company Bee Sting Mango Passion Pepper Sauce"

On a whim, I went back to the little import store where I found the first Bee Sting sauce. I was completely surprised to find this very last bottle hiding behind all the other Bee Stings. The labels looked the same from afar, but upon close inspection I could see color differences in the font.

Today is Black Friday, so all the women are out shopping their hearts out. I weaseled my way into getting a few of the guys to eat lunch at the China Buffet. This way I could finally try out this sweet honey sauce. (I'm starting to realize that this is becoming a problem. My girlfriend has commented more than once that my lunches, and sometimes whole days, revolve around what kind of hot sauce I'm trying to finish that day)

Ulterior motives aside, the sauce went really well with the cuisine. In fact, it went much better than even the Dragon Sauce I used last time.

The flavor is sweet, and pretty mute. It simply added to the heavy sauces the restaurant was already using, instead of conflicting with them.

The smell, however, is amazing. It smells like my mom's spice rack. Sweet, sweet memories.

This fruity delight is a tribute to love... of world cuisine, vibrant latino culture and of course the human bond! Succulent tropical fruit melds with the fresh "killer bee" honey to create a sweet-hot sensation in your mouth. For kicks & hot licks, try it on anything you'd use syrups, glazes or jellies on (except sensitive areas of the skin or eyes silly)."

Wow, if that isn't a ringing endorsement to start your own company....

Bottoms up!
Wow! (Not the good kind of wow)
Wow, this was really mute! I'm surprised I enjoyed this during lunch so much. The flavor certainly starts out good, but then it just disappears. I've licked, and relicked the remaining sauce from the shot glass, hoping to pick up more. There's just nothing there.

This shit isn't hot sauce! I appreciate chefs trying out different things, but this crap has got to stop. Just because you can mash two different vegetables together, doesn't mean you have to slap a label on a bottle and start selling it as hot sauce! Ketchup is made from tomatoes and sugar mashed together. They're not selling it in a 5 ounce, 5 dollar glass bottle and calling it "Termater Pepper Sauce" !!

Tomorrow: Paisanito's Chipotle Sauce

Topics: ,

November 24, 2005

Day 129: Dave's Insanity Jalapeno

Full name: "Dave's Gourmet Hurtin' Jalapeno Hot Sauce"

I guess Hurtin' Jalapeno has a better ring than Jolty Chayote. I'm a little torn between the disclosure of this sauce, or just not giving a shit. On one hand, the main ingredient is chayote pulp, a native Guatemalan vegetable also known as "Vegetable pear" and "Mango squash". That's a far cry from the delicious pepper I drool about called, Jalapeno. On the other hand, it really passed as a Jalapeno sauce when it was on my food.

I guess maybe I would have eaten more broccoli as a kid if my parents simply would have called it green ice cream.

Happy Thanksgiving!

My girlfriend's sister had knee surgery last week, so she came up with the brilliant idea that the "men" would cook Thanksgiving dinner. Didn't bother me, I've done it all before, with success. And you can't go wrong with the classics. It also allows you to make sure that all your favorites are there. For me that could be summed up in one word. Stuffing.

I woke up at 6, made sweet Cajun love to the turkey, and cracked my first beer open by 9 a.m. Definitely a start to a great day.

Once the food was served, I ran upstairs to my suitcase and brought down the 4 hot sauces I was going to use for the next 4 days. Today I chose a jalapeno sauce. I already had great success with green chiles in Stove Top Stuffing before, and I thought it might also go weirdly well with the turkey.

After we said grace, I threw caution to the wind and poured half the bottle over the whole plate. I was so hungry, I didn't want to stop and shake more out later. It was a dark, off-green color. Before I even ate my first bite, my girlfriend's dad started laughing out loud and said, "It looks like your plate is covered in goose shit!"

Having raised a few geese on our farm as a kid, I whole-heartedly agreed. Luckily, it didn't taste like any goose poop I had ever eaten.

"So Green, It's Obscene!"

I could barely smell anything from the bottle. Hardly any smell, no aroma. Just a small hint of green chiles, lime, and fruit.

I thought it went well with the meal. Nothing I'd purposely pick again, but the green flavor worked with the turkey, and certainly added a nice juice to the stuffing and potatoes. The first few bites seemed to flood my mouth with heat, but after a while it wasn't a factor, and I finished the bottle in one meal.

Bottoms up!
This didn't taste very good alone. The not-really-jalapeno flavor is too muted. It's hard for me to believe that it falls under the Dave's Insanity label. The world renown label of being absolutely, positively not muted! I guess the only reason I didn't notice the lack of flavor during lunch was because I used a whole bottle. I can't imagine anyone putting a few drops of this sauce on some food and tasting it. To add insult to injury: the heat barely tickled my tongue.

This tasty jalapeno sauce is made with chayote, a Mexican vegetable. Try it on burritos, pastas, chicken, salads and in soups. Enjoy!
Warning! This product may be addictive to those with taste buds, but don't worry, we'll make more."

Hard to claim it as a Jalapeno sauce when jalapenos were listed after leeks, and after coriander. Maybe it's a leek sauce? Squash sauce? Disappointing sauce, for sure.

Tomorrow: Bee Sting Mango Passion Pepper Sauce


November 23, 2005

Day 128: Louisiana The Perfect Jalapeno

Full name: "Louisiana The Perfect Jalapeno Hot Sauce One Drop Does It"

I told myself long ago that I would never touch these thin, little, shitty excuses for hot sauces, ever again. And here I am with the full set again. Eating a hot sauce a day has depleted my collection, and my will power. After many months, I was just unable to ignore these 99 cent local purchases.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and today is Shit-I-have-to-work day. I tried to get out early, but it just wasn't working out. Due to all the errands I had yet to run, and all the traveling, I needed something "easy" to eat today as a hot sauce. Matching hot sauces with unknown travel food is a logistics nightmare. So I picked a 3 ounce bottle, and I picked their Jalapeno flavor, since that sucks ass the least.

I lucked out and was able to eat cold, leftover Lasagna for lunch (Is it still lunch when it's 3:30 in the afternoon?) The sauce was dark, murky, and a depressing green color. Just the other day I was complaining about fake food coloring, and now I'm looking at something that really could have used it. Something must be wrong with me.

I guess I only care about the color when it tastes bad. When it tastes good, I never care about the color.

The flavor was like most green vinegar sauces. Tart, too much vinegar, and too runny. It has a green flavor to it, but nothing that any self respecting Jalapeno would be proud of. It's almost like this just came from the water that washed the jalapenos, before the peppers got shipped off to a REAL hot sauce company.

"Mild Flavor!"

Each one of the Louisiana sauces have a sticker at the top that have a different saying. Their main sauce says "Original", and for years I thought that was the company's name! This bottle says, "Mild Flavor", and I have to ask, why bring attention to a bad thing? Mild flavor sums this up nicely. It's so mild, you can barely taste any flavor.

Bottoms up!
Wow, this was tart!
When I got home from work, the first thing I did was pour myself a shot and take a picture. This way I could pack up the camera, and could safely finish the rest of the hot sauce no matter where supper ended up being tonight.

Tomorrow: Dave's Insanity Hurtin' Jalapeno

Topics: ,

November 22, 2005

Day 127: Longbranch Salsa Rio Verde

Full name: "Longbranch Trading Co. Gourmet Sauce - Salsa Rio Verde - Salsa Verde 5 Pepper Blend"

From Long Beach, California comes Longbranch Trading Company. Named after a grandparent's General Store, Curt & Pam Worthy recently started making commercial sauces for the same reason almost everyone else does: Friends and family kept yammering for more. Well, my momma told me I was good looking, and that was a damn lie. And we've all seen the disasters on American Idol where people were incorrectly told by friends that they had voices like angels.

So how did they do?

At their first competition, 3 of their sauces won a total of 4 awards. I remember back when they first announced it. I remember thinking what a great maiden voyage it was, to win 4 awards at Zest Fest! However, today I figured out that the competition was actually Zesty Best. Not Zest Fest. Big difference. Like winning a high school football game vs. the Super Bowl.

And of course when I grabbed the closest Longbranch hot sauce for lunch, I grabbed the only one that had not won any award.

The sauce smells pungent & fresh, with lots of lime. Although I wouldn't call it a thick sauce, I was surprised how thick it was considering the first two ingredients were liquid. The rest must have been some high quality pepper mash.

The flavor didn't sit well with me at all. Made my tacos taste pretty bad. The main problem for me is simply the vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar, to be precise. I don't think I've ever had a sauce with Apple Cider Vinegar that I liked. It's just an overpowering flavor, and a flavor I don't like. Sadly, it looks like most of the Longbranch sauces have that as the main ingredient.

I'm pretty sure this is different strokes for different folks. There has certainly been some positive reviews for this sauce. One even took delight in the Apple Cider Vinegar ingredient. Yech!!

Also, the creator of this sauce has mentioned that it goes great with pork chops. Sadly, none were available to me today.

I'm still looking forward to the other three. It can only go up from here. Plus, I like a challenge. At least one of the others is suppose to be a lot hotter.

Bottoms Up!
Some how this sauce seemed to get thicker and get stuck while going down my throat. While it was camping there, it had plenty of time to start burning my esophagus.

Liquid Plumber cleaning a sink drain did come to mind.

Green, harsh, and pretty hot.

Salsa Verde 5 Pepper Blend. This Blend of Fresh Serrano, Dry Serrano, Jalapeno, Habanero and Roasted Green Peppers give this sauce a lively flavor that explodes on your taste buds and keeps them warm and happy."

Other Longbranch sauces:
Longbranch Trading Co. - Longbranch Original
Longbranch Trading Co. - Dorsey's Reserve
Longbranch Trading Co. - Hot Blonde

Tomorrow: Louisiana The Perfect Jalapeno


November 21, 2005

Day 126: Taste of Thai Garlic

Full Name: "A Taste of Thai Garlic Chili Pepper Sauce"

I like the shape of this bottle. It's squat, and actually flares out at the top before coming back in for the neck. Due to this, it can hold 7 ounces of liquid goodness inside. I found this gem in the Asian food aisle. The back of the bottle says it was made in Thailand for Andre Prost Inc.

"Real Thai - Real Easy"

I'm usually pretty leery of Asian sauces, because they are usually sickeningly sweet. Some shouldn't even have the word "pepper" in the name. Unless, of course, "pepper" in that language stands for sugar.

This sauce, however, was excellent. I think the reason I liked it so much is because I'm such a big fan of the Rooster Sauce. Taste of Thai is just like a runnier version of Huy Fong's Rooster sauce. It's heavy on the garlic, sweet (but not too sweet), and the great pepper flavor that must be Sriracha. If the Rooster Sauce wasn't already so cheap, I'd make the switch to Taste of Thai in a second.

As far as cuisine goes, today was pretty boring. First I had leftovers, and then later I had leftovers. I finished up the night with more leftovers. Luckily this sauce tasted great with all of them, and I was able to finish the bottle without any problem.

A straight shot of this verified how similar it tasted to Rooster Sauce. Leaves a nice little burn in the back of the throat that quickly disappears. The flavor of the sriracha peppers is very strong, and very good.

Even though this sauce is runnier than Rooster, it was still thick enough to stick to the sides of the shot glass. I gladly licked the rest out since it tasted so good.

Garlic Chili Pepper Sauce - Thais add spice to their food with this tangy hot sauce. It's hot, but not fiery, and has all that really good garlic. You can use it on almost anything. Ingredients: Red Chili , water, sugar, garlic, vinegar, salt.. Free Online Recipe Club! www.atasteofthai.com"

Other sauces by Taste of Thai:
A Taste of Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce
A Taste of Thai Fish Sauce

Tomorrow: Longbranch Trading Co. Salsa Rio Verde

Topics: ,

November 20, 2005

Day 125: Busha Browne's Spicy Jerk

Full Name: "Busha Browne's Spicy Jerk Sauce"

This is definitely everything A1 Steak Sauce wishes it could be. It would win hands down if people did the Pepsi Challenge with it. The flavor is very familiar. I’m sure everyone has tasted something similar to it. In my mind, it seems to be a cross between soy sauce and Worchester sauce, with a very sweet, tart, tangy kick.

I wouldn't consider this a hot sauce any day of the week. But it seems to have been lived an awkward life in the hot sauce section any time that I see it, and is always listed in the big hot sauce catalogs - so what the hell.

I went through my whole fridge and all my cupboards today. I put this sauce on just about everything in the house. I had it on a single fried egg. One last remaining piece of cold pizza. Half a steak hiding in a Tupperware container. Spaghetti. There isn't anything this sauce wouldn't taste good on. It just goes great with everything!

"A Traditional Spicy-Hot Sauce. The Quintessential Taste of Jamaican Cooking."

No, I'm not eating a baby seal stuck in an oil slick. I had no idea when I took this picture it would look like motor oil. I guess the Rotini casserole looks like dog poop too. I guess I should have put a sprig of parsley in there somewhere.

Anyway, it was still pretty good, even though I didn't have much sauce left.

Back of the bottle:
Jerked Pork is unique to Jamaica. In the seventeenth century Fugitive 'Maroons' depended on this original practice of cooking.

Traditionally, jerked meat is coated with seasonings and cooked on a lattice of smoking pimento branches over hot charcoal. The mouth-watering aroma from streetside barbecues entices many a hungry traveller."

This was an excellent sauce. Just don't call it hot sauce.

Tomorrow: A Taste Of Thai Garlic Chili Pepper Sauce


November 19, 2005

Day 124: El Yucateco Jalapeno

This is a good, raunchy, jalapeno flavored hot sauce. It's like the uncle that tells racist jokes at Thanksgiving. The freaky ex-girlfriend with armpit hair. A dirty joke whispered at church. The heat level is surprising. The taste is a collision of pissed off ingredients.

It's a mean little fucker hiding behind a cute label, that's for sure. Whoever cooked this up probably watched their dog die that day. Most brands that sell many flavors use the jalapeno sauce as their wimpy sauce. Not this one. I have no doubts that this bottle sits in the back of many cupboards. A weekly reminder of their one failed excursion away from their normal Frank's Red Hot and Tabasco.

True hot sauce lovers should find this sauce enjoyable, with plenty of uses.

The food coloring is a little off putting. Does a crayola-green color sell better than other off-greens?

Eating a bottle of hot sauce a day has been getting easier. Today I finished most of the sauce during breakfast.

What to do for the rest of the day??

Bottoms Up!
I grew a couple chest hairs right on the spot. Drinking this stuff straight gave me double vision for a few seconds. My throat was stripped raw. I'm still talking like Barry White. Woah.

The first, the last, my everything
And the answer to all my dreams
You're my sun, my moon, my guiding star
My kind of wonderful, that's what you are."

Tomorrow: Busha Browne's Spicy Jerk Sauce

Topics: ,

November 18, 2005

Day 123: El Yucateco Caribbean

Full name: El Yucateco Caribbean Hot Sauce Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero"

When people ask me what my favorite sauce is, this is the sauce I tell them.

It has heat, flavor, availability, and it's cheap. And when you eat as much heat as me, you either need a cheap sauce, or an extract. For a natural sauce, this probably has one of the highest BPP. (Butane Per Penny)

In real life, however, I'm so anal retentive that I could hem & haw for 10 minutes as I try to wrap my nerdy little mind around the correct answer. If I don't care about heat, I think Rooster sauce is the answer. If I want the best extract, Z is the best tasting. There are at least 10 other sauces that are perfect for different occasions. By the time I'm done making a dipshit out of myself, the person will excuse themselves and try walking away. That's when I figure out they were just trying to be friendly and chitchat with me as we stood by my hot sauce collection at work.

So this is my simple, 90% correct answer.

Without a doubt, however, this is the best sauce El Yucateco puts out. Even though it's only their 2nd hottest, it's their best flavor. (And with El Yucateco, finishing second in heat is still pretty kick ass, let me tell you)

I remember years ago having my first bottle. I was putting a dab here & there on a Subway sandwich. I went through almost a whole box of kleenex as my nose ran like a leaky faucet. Damn, I thought it was hot. A real builder.

Now, I can eat a whole bottle in one day. What's that mean? It means your mileage may vary. Use with caution. Or use a lot, depending on where you fit in on the heatness scale.

Whoops. I was enjoying this sauce so much during lunch, I emptied it out before realizing what happened. What you see here are the last few miserable drops left for tonight.

My mom always used to say we should finish our plates because there were starving kids in Africa. I say finish your hot sauce, because there is a dry mouth here in the Smoking Tongue household tonight!

Tomorrow: El Yucateco Jalapeno Hot Sauce

Topics: ,

November 17, 2005

Day 122: Torchbearer #7 Sultry

Full name: "Torchbearer Sauces Super Fancy #7 Sultry Sauce"

I'm really sort of disappointed. I couldn't tell any difference between this #7 sauce, and the #4 sauce I had yesterday.

With the huge jump in heat I noticed from #1 to #4, I was really expecting another big jump in heat. Instead I found myself checking the label to make sure I wasn't eating another #4.

Despite this, I had one of the best lunches in a long time today. Our chef likes to mimic restaurants sometimes. Today was a new one: Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken. It has mushrooms, bacon, and a layer of cheese smothered over a grilled chicken. I don't know who Alice is, but she makes a damn fine combination.

I spooned this sauce on top of the chicken, where it hung on without even attempting to run off. Eat bite was a little slice of heaven, although I'm pretty sure the Alice Chicken was doing most of the work.

Number one ingredient in this sauce is Mandarin Oranges. Then the familiar carrots, onions and tomato concentrate found in almost all the Torchbearer sauces.

Let's see what their crazy label says this time:

We heard a tale about a Mr. And Missus with an affinity for #7 said she put it in his coffee for a wake-up call. He put it on her unmentionables for a wake up call, and they both ate it on fried chicken, and tahini with water cress, people say it kept the fire between them, that's just what we heard. "A darn good condiment enhances what you want it to."

Did I read that right? She puts it on her unmentionables? Well, that's a first. As a first hand victim of Hunan Hand, and a second hand victim of having accidentally shared my smoking tongue after a spicy supper, I can attest that no one would do that on purpose. I can still remember the curses my girlfriend screamed out at me.

A spoonful of hot sauce makes the medicine go down.
I have to admit. While eating this massive spoonful, I definitely tasted the extra heat. It wasn't a whole lot hotter, but it was definitely hotter than yesterday's. I'm getting anxious to get into scorching territory.

I'm also hoping that the next sauce in the Torchbearer line won't taste exactly the same. So far, I'd be hard pressed to tell which tomato & orange pasty-paste is which. If they're all going to be the same, why stop at 7 different sauces? Why not make 100? The words on the labels seem to be made from a random word generator, so what the heck.

Tomorrow: El Yucateco Caribbean Hot Sauce


November 16, 2005

Day 121: Torchbearer #4 Tingly

Full name: "Torchbearer Sauces Super Fancy #4 Tingly Sauce"

Wow, a big jump in heat for being merely the 2nd one in the line. We went from nothing on the radar with the first one, to "Incoming!!" on the 2nd one. I can't wait to see what's in store from them next.

An enjoyable sauce, and damn if the name Tingly ain't exactly what was happening to my tongue. And getting a tingling sensation on my worn torn tongue probably means normal people will feel the heat. The flavor was good, but just a bit too much on the tomato paste side. Not enough to complain, just enough to think about.

The flavor is like taking a sweet carrot type hot sauce and churning it into a thick salsa.

The sauce is extremely thick, requiring a spoon to scoop it out. The creators knew this, so luckily all their sauces come in a jar format. I spread it on sandwiches and on a lunch called "Paella". Our chef at work called it his Jambalaya without the spices. When I went through the lunch line, he said I'd have to add my own heat to it. I told him, "I always do anyways."

This sauce was way too easy to finish in one day. I wish they were all this easy and enjoyable.

Preacher's wife Dixie Earline never did do nothin but cook. Used the #4 in her potluck, plus paired it with extra lard for signature flavor on cover-dish Sundays. Most figured she cooked extra out of commitment to the community. Ones who knew better said she kept cooking to keep her husband eating. That way she didn't have to hear him running his mouth. "Let me Fix You a Plate"

Um.... Ok.

A spoonful of hot sauce makes the medicine go down.
Another case where I felt like I was wasting perfectly good sauce eating it straight. I still had dry naked food that was begging for more of it.

I would never, ever want to eat a spoonful of Huntz tomato paste. And on a much smaller scale, I had the same feelings with this.

Two down, five to go. How crazy can it get?????

Tomorrow: Torchbearer #7 Sultry Sauce


November 15, 2005

Day 120: Valentina Salsa Picante

This is a big ass bottle. 12.5 ounces of picante flavored hot sauce. I could have picked up a different sized bottle, but... I didn't think I could finish a 34 ounces bottle.

Yep, this is as small as it gets.

With a bottle this hefty, a special day had to be chosen. At work, we had our Thanksgiving pot luck today. They'd probably have it sooner to Thanksgiving, but I think the higher up mucky mucks are probably taking 7 days off around Thanksgiving. Better have it early while they're still here.

Last year when we had it, I sat by two skinny guys with voracious appetites. They went back 7 times for food. It was an amazing thing to watch. I figured if I sat next to them this year, their gluttony would rub off me and I'd have enough food to make it through this bottle.

While it was a good plan, I did run into one problem right away. When you open the top part of the cap, there is a nub inside blocking the hole. It's plastic and you're suppose to push it in, or pull it out, or some damn thing I couldn't figure out. My food was getting cold. The main cap is also glued onto the bottle. There's only one way in our out.

In the end, I finally pushed the knob all the way in. How I wish I had a needle nose pliers to pull it out. Because now the nub floated in the sauce and would always block the hole when I tried to pour sauce out. It took a hell of a lot of shaking to get any sauce out. Eventually, I ate enough of the sauce, that it was able to float into a different position instead of at the very top, and it started to pour out just fine.

The flavor of this sauce is pretty good, despite the heavy picante flavor. And let me tell you, if you like this sauce, you're in for a real treat. It's dirt cheap, easy to find, and comes in almost gallon size containers.

Although I could think of better sauces to use, this picante sauce went well with turkey, stuffing, ham, corn chowder, more stuffing, and more turkey.

For supper my girl friend brought home left over Chinese. I poured a ton of this stuff over the rice, and it soaked in all the way. Surprisingly, it still tasted great.

I never realized before that the label was all in Spanish. That explains the cheaply printed sticker on the back that lists all the ingredients, calories, etc, in English.

Bottoms Up!
This was so good, I had to have 2 shots! Actually, I just had so much left after supper, that the only way to finish it off was to drink it straight.

After a long day of eating too much, I just feel like laying down on the couch, pretend to watch TV, and fall asleep.

Valentina makes an extra hot version. Sadly, its flavor isn't very good, and the discoloration at the top is pretty bad. I do have it sitting in the basement for a rainy day, but I'm in no rush to do a whole 12.5 ounces.

Tomorrow: Torchbearer #4 Tingly Sauce


November 14, 2005

Day 119: Amazon Hot Sauce

Full name: "Rainforest Brand Green Amazon Pepper Sauce"

I'm not sure who used to make this hot sauce. The back of the label simply says "HVJ International, Houston, TX". And they're probably only a Distributor. It also says it's a product of Columbia.

I was pretty sure that it was made by Amazon Pepper company from Columbia. They have a green sauce that looks just like it, with similar ingredients (except more preservatives). The only confusing thing is that this bottle says "Rainforest Brand (TM)" which doesn't add up. Maybe they were bought out. Maybe Amazon Pepper changed their name. Maybe it's a completely different company that no longer exists.

Oh well. I guess this is what I get for buying discounted items online.

Despite its mysterious origins, the sauce was really good. It has a great balance between jalapeno and vinegar. It has a similar flavor to Panola Green Pepper Sauce, except a lot more muted. It was a lot thicker, but not as much zing. If I had to choose between the two, I'd definitely go with Panola's.

Bottoms Up!
I'm just happy that this bottle held up so well over so much time. I wish I had eaten this before Panola. Then I could focus on how good it is. However, now all I can think about is how much better Panola's was.

Tomorrow: Valentina Salsa Picante

Topics: ,

November 13, 2005

Day 118: Vigo Extra Hot

Full name: "Vigo Cinco De Mayo Salsa Picante XXX Cuidado With Cayenne Peppers"

Could there be any more vinegar? I don't think it's possible. This thing is ripe with vinegar and it will assault your nostrils and your tongue.

Visually, this sauce had peculiar white specks in the sauce. They made it a little lighter in color, and a nice change of pace from the deep dark red of most vinegar sauces. However, it does make me wonder what the hell it was.

Flavor wise, this is nothing like the last Vigo sauce I had. Just because they put a XXX on the front, doesn't mean they took the same tired old recipe and added 20% more heat. Nope, this was a completely different flavor. Unfortunately, it was mostly vinegar.

Although most hot sauces are celebrated for their fiery attributes, many are so hot that they conceal the flavor of the foods they are sprinkled on. Enthusiasts now realize that heat must be balanced with flavor. This is accomplished in all three Vigo Hot Sauces. The Cinco de Mayo Salsa Picante is made with world famous cayenne peppers. It packs the right amount of heat to justify its warning in Spanish on the front of the label which says "CUIDADO", meaning "watch out."

Yea, yea, yea. That's what they all say. They went full bore on the heat, and simply forgot about the flavor. There's nothing here but vinegar. During lunch I even scoffed at the heat. However, I must not have used very much. When it came time for supper, I had over half a bottle left. Time to kick it in gear.

Since I was having stromboli, and this sauce was extremely runny, I just put the rest of the bottle in a bowl, and soaked my sandwich in it for each bite. I wasn't even 2 minutes into the meal before I had to stop and take a break! This bad boy is hot!

Once I landed back on Earth, I started eating again. Two minutes later, another break. This bad boy is REALLY hot!

This is how my supper went. It took a while to finish. I'm amazed, because this hardly ever happens to me with a non-extract hot sauce. Without a doubt, this is the hottest runny vinegar sauce I can ever remember having.

Just when I finally crawled to the end of supper, I had a shot of this to swallow. My mouth already on fire, I just popped it down the hatch.

Cayenne Peppers? This hot? You've got to be kidding me. There are some habanero hot sauce makers that should be god damn ashamed of themselves.

If only this sauce tasted good, we would have ourselves a winner.

Tomorrow: Amazon Hot Sauce

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Day 117: Dragon Sauce

I finally got to go to a China Buffet today. That meant I could break out the Dragon Sauce.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what I did. I broke it. I was getting out of the car, and the bottle fell out of my coat pocket. Just like a movie scene in slow motion, the bottle hit the cement and the sound of broken glass hit everyone's ears. A dark, black stain marred the parking lot, and future parkers will think someone had a serious oil leak.

My girlfriend laughed and laughed. When I bent down to pick up the glass and throw it away, she freaked out thinking I was trying to salvage the sauce. Come on, I'm not that crazy!

I did make her drive me to the grocery store so that I could buy a new bottle, though.

"This unique spicy soy sauce enhances Asian-style dishes and is a great marinade for beef, pork, poultry and seafood. Also delicious on rice & vegetables."

After reading the label carefully, I have to say that this is not a hot sauce in any regard. It says right on the back that it's a soy sauce. It tastes like a soy sauce. It doesn't taste like a hot sauce.

However, it is one of the Reily Food's "Try Me" sauces from their set, and is always located in the hot sauce aisle. And at the very bottom of the ingredient list, it does say that there is less than 2% peppers. Hey, sometimes it seems like boring red vinegar sauces have less than 2% peppers, too!

Check out this ingredient list. I have never been so appalled at the chemical SHIT added to a food item before. MSG? Hydrogenated oil? Modified what?

Soy sauce (Water, soybeans, wheat, salt, vinegar, sodium benzoate), dragon seasoning (sugar, spices, modified food starch, monosodium glutamate, onion, garlic, Hydrolyzed corn protein, xanthan gum, sodium benzoate, natural flavorings), sherry whine, vinegar, water, contains 2% or less of garlic, red peppers and spices."

I don't like soy sauce that much. I have tried it off and on when I eat Asian foods, but it has never enhanced any of my meals, so I just ignore it. Plus, it's too runny.

Dragon Sauce, however, is pretty enjoyable. Not only is it thick enough to stick on foods (instead of sink through rice), it also has a much richer and smoky flavor.

Using a whole bottle of Dragon Sauce during lunch was pretty much a pain in the ass. Each topping I chose to put over my rice or noodles already comes with its sinfully delicious sauce. For example, if I choose General Tso's chicken, I choose it because I like it. And if I want extra sauce to soak down into the rice, I want it to be General Tso's sauce. Not a thick black soy sauce that's poured on so liberally, it masks all the flavor of General Tso.

But such is the life of a hot sauce addict.

Bottoms Up!
So, what's it like to drink a shot of soy sauce? Thankfully this sauce is a lot thicker, and has more flavor. It went down just fine, if not a bit too salty. There is a hint of heat the lingers after the flavor dissipates, but it's only enough to make you wonder if it was really there at all.

This is the 2nd day in a row I got too much salt. If I was a caterpillar, I'd be dead.

Without a doubt, this is a great substitute for soy sauce. If that's your bag.

Tomorrow: Vigo Salsa Picante XXX

Topics: ,

November 11, 2005

Day 116: Panola Extra Hot

Full name: Panola Extra Hot Hot Sauce.

If this label doesn't scream 1980, I don't know what does.

Panola has a really crazy history. In 1983, they made the jump from giving away their hot sauce to family & friends, to selling it. Starting with a machine that could fill 3 bottles at a time, they started to grow during the next 3 years. While still trying to break into more restaurants and grocery shelves, they had a massive fire that burned their plant down in 1986. Half a year later they rebuilt and made a modern factory. By 2001, their 30 products were being sold internationally. But then five people broke in one night and burned the place down. Obviously, they have rebuilt sine then. But I can't imagine what insane insurance company would cover them for fire damage any more. What's next? A meteor hits earth and.... burns down the Panola factory? A Godzilla movie?

I wouldn't blame them if their new factory is made out of fireproof materials.

As far as their success goes, I just don't see it. It doesn't seem very unique to me. This sauce is just a run of a mill red vinegar sauce. Extra heat, sure, but not enough to get excited about. About the same small increase in heat as Frank's Extra Hot or Crystal's Extra Hot has.

But that wasn't the neat part!

Have you ever eaten a whole bag of salty chips? Ever eat sharp, pointy tortillas? Besides feeling like a complete pig and promising never to do that again, your mouth feels violated. Miniscule scrapes all over the inside of the mouth, and the salt digging into the fresh wounds. A thirst that no amount of water seems to quench.

Well, that's exactly what this hot sauce felt like! Exactly. It felt like my mouth went to battle with a salt mine, and lost. Most vinegar sauces have too much salt, so it's actually something special to say that this hot sauce is the saltiest of them all!

By the time I was finishing supper, I was also starting to pick up on a really bad aftertaste. Since I kept using more and more to just finish the sauce, it became even more apparent with every sopping bite. It was pungent, and probably not in the positive way they used that word on the back of their label. To their credit, I'm pretty sure this was an old bottle.

By the time I drank this shot, I was all Panola'd out. The nasty aftertaste I had started to notice during supper was completely evident here. With a small gag reflex, it was finally over. My mouth feels like hell, and my blood pressure is definitely up.Bottoms Up!

I did find a new use for this hot sauce. This winter, when the roads are at their iciest, just have a Panola salt truck come by and melt a new path for you. Hang your head out the window to catch some in your mouth! Good luck this winter!

Tomorrow: Dragon Sauce


November 10, 2005

Day 115: El Yucateco Chipotle

I don't know about you, but when I enter a new Mexican restaurant and see they have El Yucateco sauces on their tables, I know the place will be great. Why? Because if their hot sauce is this good and hot, then their food should be too. El Yucateco is a hot sauce made by Mexicans, for Mexicans. And their level of heat is a lot higher than the average American's.

For over 20 years, El Yucateco has been exporting their sauces to the United States. They have continued to use what I like to call a "Hong Kong Billboard" fitting on a tiny bottle. Bright, colorful words. Half English, half Spanish. Way too many words, and some of them don't even make sense. And I love it. Even the bottle is shorter and squatter than the normal 5 ounce bottles prevalent here in the United States.

So it's with a little disappointment that I see their two new flavors being completely Americanized. They're using the full size 5 ounce bottles, which look awkward sitting next to their original flavors. The labels are completely clear of clutter. Every word is readable, the artwork professionally done. I hate it. Or more accurately, pine for the old ways.

Sadly the heat level of the new sauce has been Americanized, too. Weak as hell. I remember the first time I had the green El Yucateco hot sauce many years ago. I swore. I spat. I cried over the tacos I would never be able to finish because I ruined them with too much hot sauce before testing it. What a great memory!

Sadly, this sauce does not live up to its name. If this had been made by someone else, I would have nodded and thought, "What a nice little chipotle sauce. Just like all the other 4,000 new ones." But this is El Yucateco! I wanted to swear out loud in Spanish! Aye Carumba!

I do understand why, though. Being a hotter sauce probably alienated a lot of the American market. When you read online or talk to people, they are almost always arguing which is better: Frank's, Cholula, Tabasco or Crystal. Holy crap, give me a break! And the same people will argue which is beer is better, Miller Lite or Bud Lite. Well, I'm going to sit here sipping my Guinness and eating XXXtra Hot El Yucateco.

Chipotle is a hot new fad, one that I'm not really all that fond of. But I hope El Yucateco the best of luck with their modern looking bottles and sauces.

Bottoms Up!
Drinking this straight allowed me to enjoy a very concentrated smoky flavor. The sauce is nice and thick with no chunks. After swallowing I enjoyed a small amount of heat. Then a few minutes later there was quite a bit of build up. What a nice wicked heat!

This is probably one of the hottest Chipotle sauces I can remember. I'm sad that I didn't catch any of this while eating it on food. Chipotle must be a subtle flavor.

Scoville rating is at 3,400.

Tomorrow: Panola Extra Hot

Topics: ,

November 09, 2005

Day 114: Torchbearer's Sauce #1

Full Name: "Torchbearer Sauces Super Fancy #1 Every Day Sauce"

I like to think that I'm up on everything going on in the hot sauce world. Someone screams in Europe from being tricked in eating Dave's Insanity, I'm there. Someone in California finding out what a raw habanero feels like, I'm there. Someone straining the next morning on the porcelain throne from eating too many Nuclear Wings, I'm...not there.

I also wasn't there when these new hot sauces by Torchbearer came out either. Maybe I was too busy eating hot sauces. Luckily, I was able to read all about it at the increasingly useful sites at
the Hot Zone and at H o l y S h i t A l r e a d y!

Usually when I eat a set of hot sauces, I like to eat them in reverse order of heat. By eating the hottest one, you instantly find out if they know what the hell HEAT is. You also won't bitch when you finally eat the mild one, because it was correctly labeled (and even Aunt Gene needs a hot sauce to call her own)

However, if you eat the hottest one, the flagship bottle, the bottle labeled with skulls and crossbones, words like ASS, HELL, DIE, and FIRE plastered everywhere, and it doesn't even light you up, then you can curse the whole set. Curse the creator! Curse his extended family, and the air they breath! Because there's nothing more disappointing than a set of hot sauces that range from a "1" to a whole god damn "2".

I have no concerns with Torchbearer's 7 hot sauces. These guys have backed up their claims of having the hottest natural hot sauce by receiving their official scoville ratings. Brilliant! With one sauce rated at 38,202 scoville units, you are given permanent bragging rites any time, any where. But they didn't stop there, they mated that bottle with Cerberus himself, and came out with a puppy at 67,582.

Yea. I'm trying #1 first.

Someone warned me that this sauce is so mild, it'll seem like baby food. Holy shit, I didn't know babies had it so good! I never got to eat any hot sauce as a kid. Damn it, mom!

While this sauce could probably cool down an ice cube in a blizzard, I'm not complaining. It didn't taste like tomato paste! I absolutely hate people reinventing tomato paste. Even though this sucker was made with tomato paste, they had enough orange, carrots, and who knows what to make this sauce a very unique, sweet flavor. I had half the bottle on an egg sandwich, and the last half in a tuna fish sandwich. Due to the cost, this "Every Day Sauce" would never replace my mustard or mayo, but the meals were good, different, and, yes, boring as shit.

We know a hoss who shook a little dab on his taters, lima beans, escargot and his peanut butter sandwich plus said it did a real good job as a hair tonic and put a nice shine on his shoes but that's just him though. Gol Darn That's Good. Made out of something and something else, especially."

Are they being weird just for the sake of being weird? Maybe. But there's something to be said about their labels. The artwork is cool, the font and words make you want to read them. Even though they don't say anything. Quirky, fun, cool. You can be cool too if you eat these sauces! That's what these labels are like.

Open Wide
The sauce is so thick, it has to come in a scoopable jar. A shot glass is unusable here, so I tried a big spoonful. I was able to take pictures of the sauce sticking to the spoon sideways, but this one came out the best.

The flavor is sweet and fruity, reminding me of oranges and pineapple juice.

If I was a millionaire, I could have this sauce every day. Then it would be an "Every Day Sauce". Since I'm not a millionaire, this was just my Wednesday Sauce.

The other sauces by Torchbearer:
Super Fancy #4 Tingly Sauce
Super Fancy #7 Sultry Sauce
Super Fancy #10 Sombrero Salsa
Super Fancy #11 Sugar Fire
Super Fancy #37 Tarnation Sauce
Super Fancy #42 Slaughter Sauce

Tomorrow: El Yucateco Chipotle


November 08, 2005

Day 113: Melinda's XXXXtra Reserve

This seems to be the official icon of Figueroa Brother's Melinda sauces. It can be seen on the front page of their web site, and in some of their ads. I remember about a year ago they came out with a little contest where people could cast their votes on their favorite Melinda sauce. When the XXXXtra Reserve sauce won, they came out with this cute picture.

"Food is optional, flavor is not."

As they say, food is optional. Today I will be honoring their ad by sucking this sauce straight through a straw. The whole thing. While I'm at it, I'm going to set the first unofficial Guinness Book of World Records for finishing this sauce off in the fastest time.
Here are the rules:
- You must use a straw.
- No food, water, or regurgitation for 5 minutes afterwards.

My plan of attack was simple. Eat a simple lunch, quaff the bottle at my desk before anyone else returns from their lunch, and eat a cookie afterwards.

Eating any amount of hot sauce on an empty stomach is pure disaster. So I had a small meal that left me a little hungry. When I went to purchase my cookie, the cook yelled out to me, "Hey Smoking Tongue, you gotta tell me if this is hot!" The chef poured me up a small amount of rice, and topped it with this special sauce he had made for the lunch entree, Chicken Etoufee. I told him I couldn't taste a god damn thing, but that I was the wrong person to ask. It turns out he had quite a few complaints today from pansy asses that couldn’t hold their Cajun. We sat around bullshitting about spices and heat for about ten minutes.

Back at my desk, there were a few people milling around. I hid the opened hot sauce bottle inside my coffee travel mug, with the straw sticking out. This way, at first glance, people would assume I was really intent on some awesome coffee. If they came to talk to me however, I'd be busted. (I'm not going to stop and talk to them -- I'm going for the record here!)

I started the clocks, and started sucking!
And sucking.
And sucking.

What made this weird was I had no idea how much more I had left.

"How long is a minute?"
-Depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.

At about the 20-second mark, I was wondering if I had tapped into an underground reservoir of this shit. Would it ever end? How much can one stomach handle? An agonizing 10 seconds later and I heard the beautiful sound every kid knows. When you get to the bottom of a pop, milk, shake, and even hot sauce, the air starts coming through the straw and makes that loud gurgling noise. I tipped my bottle to the side a little bit and had more sauce to suck out as it sank to the bottom corner.

And I was done.
Thank goodness! Never has 5 ounces seemed so much!

I stopped the clocks at 36 seconds. Much better than I thought. Especially since I had no idea WHAT to think. For the next five minutes I just sat there staring at my computer screen, waiting for the five minutes to pass. Asking myself, "You're not going to puke, right?" No. That's good. Are you sure? Yes, I think so.

So what did it feel like?
Like sucking jelly through a straw! This stuff is thick, and chunks of peppers and carrots were bouncing off the straw walls, especially through the bendy section. Then it flowed through my mouth, back through the tongue, and down the throat as I swallowed quickly. It wasn't the most pleasant feeling in the world. If I would have coughed, sneezed, or burped, we would have had a serious mess.

So what did it taste like?
Good question. I was too busy swallowing it to really swish it around like mouthwash. Compared to the other carrot type sauces that Melinda is well known for, this one truly features the habanero. Its smell has a nose-twitching acridity that reminds me of red savina habaneros, but Melinda’s ingredient list is silent on the exact type of habaneros used.

So what did it burn like?
The back of my mouth was certainly on fire. Thanks to the straw, my lips and the front of my tongue escaped some of the wrath. The back of the mouth, however, was like an open furnace door being fed wood and coals for the fire. Luckily, for me, it was a tolerable heat, and I had more pressing matters to be concerned about, such as finishing the bottle. When finished, the burn disappeared in a couple minutes

Is this record beatable?
Definitely! I wasted at least 10 seconds fumbling the coffee mug and bottle around trying to get the very last of the sauce sucked up through a straw. Knowing what to expect would also speed things up. I think I slowed down when I started to wonder if it would ever end. However, I’m not going to be in any rush to do this again. Next time I try this sauce, I’m going to enjoy its flavor and heat! On food, even!

You're in deep shit now. I'm looking closely at this bottle and it says: "XXXXtra Hot 2005 Special Reserve". Walking over to my display case, I found the bottle I ate a couple years ago. Its says, "XXXXtra Hot 1997 Special Reserve". One for each year? You better get collecting!

Tomorrow: Torchbearer Sauces #1 Every Day Sauce

Topics: ,

November 07, 2005

Day 112: Paisanitos Mango Sauce

Full Name: "Paisanitos Mango Sweet Spicy Sauce"

Another good looking bottle from Paisanitos.
Then again, they all look the same. This one has an orange background. Papaya had a purple background. Mustard had a brown background. I think they missed a great opportunity to put their artist to work. I'd love to see more.

"Feel its exotic natural ingredients!"

I tried to feel, I really did. But it was just too bland to pick up any mango goodness. Not only that, but they went with the Caribbean & Curry type of flavor with this mango sauce. I'm a much bigger fan when they balance a fruity mango flavor with a fresh, bold habanero flavor.

During lunch I had some cheesy fries, and poured most of the bottle on them. I made sure I had a little left in the bottle so that I could have a shot of it later at home. I have to say, I was pleased when I ran out of this hot sauce, and could switch to a better condiment: plain ketchup.

For supper, I poured out a shot glass full of the sauce and still had some left in the bottle. So I poured what little remained onto a plate and dipped my chicken sandwich in it. I have to say, I was very pleased that I ran out quickly and could switch to a better condiment: cheap mustard.

As a hot sauce fanatic, I think it's a sad state of affairs when ketchup and mustard tastes better than your hot sauce.

Bottoms Up!
Wow, I've tasted this somewhere before. I'm reaching deep into my childhood here. Something sweet. Something orangey. I'm smelling deep, trying to dig up chemical memories. I think... yes! The first time I had mandarin oranges!

This orange flavor is much more distinct while eating straight. I didn't pick it up at all while eating with food. This fun-filled 10 seconds doesn't make up for it though.

Tomorrow: Melinda's XXXXtra Reserve

Topics: ,

November 06, 2005

Day 111: Bee Sting

Full Name: "Half Moon Bay Trading Company Bee Sting Honey n' Habanero Pepper Sauce"

Honey and habanero, what a great idea! I had a tomato and egg sandwich for breakfast, and this sweet concoction practically gave me a sugar rush. It was much better than I thought it could be. I wouldn’t say that this sauce was hot, but the habaneros were easily present in both flavor and heat. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I really enjoyed this.

My brain started thinking of all the foods this might go good with. If I wasn’t trying to eat a whole bottle a day, I’d probably split this bottle up and try some with: chicken strips, lefse, pancakes, Chicken McNuggets, fried ice cream, and Monte Cristo sandwiches.

Back of the label:
"This is an Asian/Thai influenced, pan-cultural sweet-hot pepper sauce with a hint of garlic, onion & lemon. Excellent with rice dishes, curries, chicken, shrimp & steak, with vegetables and tofu or anywhere you want a bit of asian-style excitement."

-Way to narrow it down, marketing droid.

I think showing ingredient lists are boring, because you can always look them up online. However, I’ve never seen a hot sauce ingredient list resemble a pop can’s:

Corn surrup , water, honey, carrots, corn vinegar, sugar, corn starch, habanero peppers, onion, lemon juice, cayenne peppers, salt, garlic and black pepper, with .1% sodium benzoate & ascorbic acid as preservatives

This sauce was so sweet that I figured it would be perfect on pancakes. The honey flavor should be great for a replacement for syrup.

The picture here proves that I suck at making pancakes tonight. I burned a couple, a few fell apart. Here is what I salvaged. Whatever they look like, they still taste the same. Unfortunately, my judgment on this coupling of hot sauce and pancakes was dead wrong. The flavor didn't work well together at all. Too much pepper flavor with a weird aftertaste. I think part of the problem is that honey isn’t a valid replacement for maple syrup to start with. Oh well, better luck next time.

More sauces by Half Moon Bay:
Bee Sting Brand Mango Passion Pepper Sauce
Iguana Mean Green Jalapeno Pepper Sauce
Iguana Red Cayenne Pepper Sauce
Iguana XXX Habanero Pepper Sauce
Iguana Gold Island Pepper Sauce
Iguana Radioactive Atomic Pepper Sauce
Iguana Deuces Rockin' Red Habanero Pepper Sauce
Iguana Deuces Vicious Verde Jalapeño Pepper Sauce
Iguana Deuces Bold Gold Habanero Pepper Sauce

Tomorrow: Paisanitos Mango Spicy Sauce

Topics: ,

November 05, 2005

Day 110: Panola Green Pepper Sauce

Without a doubt, I really held off on consuming this sauce. Not only was it one of the Panola sauces I bought off an ancient, dusty shelf, but it has an alien green milky color. How in the world do you make a sauce milky looking? I have a black light, and when I put this sauce underneath it, it glowed!!!

I saved this sauce for a weekend so that if I couldn’t eat it, I could just run downstairs and start a different bottle.

I opened the bottle.
Smelled it.
Tasted it.
Can’t get enough of it!

I’m serious thinking I need to just start eating all my ugliest looking sauces right away. They’ve been turning out great!

Vinegar sauces usually put me off because all I can taste is vinegar. My mom used to cook a lot, so as a kid, I remember the nasty smell of boiling vinegar. I have no idea what witch’s brew she was concocting on those occasions, but its noxious cloud seeped into every single room of the house. So when I get a vinegar hot sauce, it always seems like the company is skimping on the pepper flavor and pawning off a bottle of vinegar.

Panola’s Green Sauce, however, is the absolute best combination of pepper and vinegar I’ve ever experienced. This is everything McIlhenny’s green Tabasco wishes it was. The flavor makes me think of what an unripe, green pepper might taste like. I would actually take time out of my Tour de Hot Sauce to buy some more of this sauce. There are quite a few foods I’d like to try this on.

This stuff has some heat. I just finished off the rest of the bottle on a chicken sandwich and my mouth is nice and toasty.

Bottoms Up!
Strong stuff. A concentrated mixture of pepper goodness and the bite of vinegar. This is the whiskey of hot sauces... strong stuff going down, a little grimace, and then a nice warm buzz in the stomach. And of course a buzz on the tongue, throat and lips.

Tomorrow: Bee Sting Honey N Habanero


November 04, 2005

Day 109: Kato's Meaner Greener

Full Name: "Kato's Meaner Greener Habanero Sauce"

If it isn't spuds or corn, I'm not a real expert in vegetables. But these green tomatillos make me want to quit my day job and start a Tomatillos Farm. Well, maybe two farms. One farm to eat, and the other to make enough money to plant for next year.

This fresh, bright green looking sauce is bursting with a delicious, unique flavor of tomatillos. Whether you've had salsa made out of them before, or completely new to the little green tomatoes, you're in for a treat with this sauce.

The only possible downside to this sauce is that there is no heat. However, I was too busy enjoying the sauce to complain about it at all.

For lunch, I brought in a home-made sandwich. I wanted something cold to eat with this sauce, so that I could enjoy its flavor with every bite. It was excellent!

"Exile That Boring Food to the Doghouse!"

Kato Productions is run by the Pinckney's in George Town, Florida. They named their business after their famous dog, Kato, who enjoys eating habanero peppers! Sadly, Kato died very recently of non-pepper causes, and we mourn his passing. But the legend lives on!!

Bottoms Up!
Although I would suggest putting this on food, drinking this straight wasn't too bad. The fresh, smooth flavor of tomatillos overwhelms your mouth. Then it's followed by a mild heat in the middle (but not too much). While basking in the aftertaste, you wonder how they made this perfect sauce.

This sauce ranks #1 in my non-spicy category. If I had such a category.
Excellent sauce!

More sauces made by Kato's:
Kato's Rajun Cajun
Kato's Island Sauce
Kato's Chipotle Steak Sauce

Tomorrow: Panola Green Pepper

Topics: ,

November 03, 2005

Day 108: Tamazula Hot Sauce

Full Name: "Tamazula Mexican Hot Sauce Salsa Picante"

This is a dark red picante type hot sauce. This is the picante hot sauce! I've spoken about picante flavor before in certain hot sauces. Cholula and Tapatio have a small amount, Valentina has some, and Viper Sauce had too much. I’ve even spit some out that came out of a plastic bottle sold at a Mexicana store. This is the only picante sauce that doesn't make me cringe. It's very good.

I'm not sure what the cooks do to get this picante flavor, since the ingredients look the same as other Louisiana and vinegar style hot sauces. My only guess is they lock the bottles up with a grumpy, depressed, whiny person for 30 days, and they come out with that 'sour' taste.

I was going to have a fresh green tomatilla hot sauce today, but when I came to work and saw that Jambalaya was being served, I had to switch to this sauce. Flavor wise, this was a great combo. However, there isn't much heat in this hot sauce (at least to do justice to a jambalaya), so I also added a healthy dose of Blair's Jersey Death sauce.

I was in hot-flash heaven. After my meal, I just sat back and enjoyed the afterglow & endorphins. This is the perfect feeling of balanced heat that hot-heads try to attain. It's the reason they burn themselves over and over again. Just to experience this elusive nirvana.

I have only one complaint about this hot sauce, and that’s the coloring at the top. Every store I’ve ever been to that carries this sauce seems to have the same problem. Either the bottles are extremely old, or there’s a problem with their seal. The sauce at the top starts to change to a murky dark grey color. Not only is it disgusting to look at, but it tastes bad too. This morning, I actually got one of those small straws used to stir our coffee, and started to siphon the top crud out as if I was stealing gas from a vehicle. Once I got most of it out, I shook the bottle up really well. Out of site, out of mind!

Bottoms Up!
To be honest, I had saved just enough at the bottom of my bottle during lunch to have a shot tonight, but my friend grabbed the bottle and put the rest on his Jambalaya. However, I had another bottle in the fridge and just used that to make this shot. And, as a bonus, used some on my supper.

The flavor is simply a very acceptable, non-grimacing, picante flavor. That's the best I can describe it. Try it yourself!

Other Tamazula sauces:
Tamazula Extra Hot Picante Sauce

Tomorrow: Kato's Meaner Greener


November 02, 2005

Day 107: Best Chef Louisiana

Full Name: “Best Chef Louisiana Style Hot Sauce”

I've been racking my brains, trying to figure out where I found this sauce. It wasn't even that long ago. But the memory is gone, just like my wasted youth.

17 ounces. This was a doozy. It's more than 3 times the size of a normal bottle. Of course, now I find out they make a 6 ounce version. Oh well, when am I not up for a challenge?

For lunch, a large group of us went to the Olive Garden to fare thee well to a coworker that was moving on to greener pastures. I got there a little late so had to sit down by the obnoxious asshole. FUCK! The guy has two volumes: Loud, and I'm-on-a-roll. The guy thinks he's so funny, and when he gets rolling, and laughing at his own jokes, he gets louder and louder, and his face starts to turn red. From the thousands of repeated stories I've had to endure over the years, I know his family has heart risks. Sadly, I fantasize about the peace & quiet I'll get as he has a heart attack right in front of me someday. I will calmly finish my meal and think about dialing 911 the next day.

And if it doesn’t happen soon, I might have to induce a heart attack by shoving a bottle of my hottest sauce down his throat.

At work, he often bitches about how we "always talk about hot sauce". Sit somewhere else then, asshole! Not only that, but he's the one that brings it up every time.

"Do you have any taste buds left?"
"Can you even taste normal food anymore?"
"What kind of crap are you eating today?"
"I've got a brother that likes hot stuff, blah, blah, blah."

So today I get to sit by him. Great.
Today I brought in a HUGE 17 ounce bottle. Great.
I hide it in the middle of a desert menu that sits up in the middle of the table. I'm hoping to escape the inevitable, "Wow, that's a big bottle, ha, ha, ha."

Sadly, I get, "WHAT!? No hot sauce today? Can you even eat a meal without a hot sauce?" And he keeps going on. And on. To shut him up, I put down the menu so that he can see the hot sauce bottle. Of course now I get the Big Bottle speech, but it eventually ends. Did I mention he's loud? This isn’t a conversation between me and him. It’s a conversation with him and the rest of the restaurant.

Due to the size of the bottle, I use a lot of this sauce on my Chicken Parmigiana. This gets another hail of loud bullshit from him. My favorite is, "He's having some chicken on his hot sauce."

Sadly the meal wasn't that great, and I'm not even factoring in the company. It was slightly undercooked, absolutely swimming in hot sauce, and a small lunch portion to boot. Unfortunately, when lunch was done, I was only half way through the bottle. When supper time came, I didn't even use a plate. I went and got a big bowl, and threw the food in there. Then I showered the rest of the hot sauce in there and ate it all with a spoon.

Mighty Fine Eating"

The sauce is mostly likely a relabeled red vinegar sauce, with no exciting qualities to report on.

Bottoms Up!
With supper completely floating in hot sauce, I made sure to fill this shot glass to the top. I’ve got to get rid of it somewhere!

Another sauce by Best Chef:
Best Chef Habanero Hot Sauce

Tomorrow: Tamazula Salsa Picante Mexican Hot Sauce