Saturday, December 29, 2007
They also have a secret, called the In-N-Out Burger, that is unavailable to those of us in the Central and Eastern time zones.
A regional favorite, the In-N-Out Burger is a juicy, flavorful, and luscious burger that makes the folks at McDonald's and Wendy's seem like rank amateurs. Kid you not, one lunch hour in LA, Spicy Food Guy watched hundreds of customers, in a line twenty-some deep, ordering 2X2s and 3x3s like there was no tomorrow (and we are talking LA here, so the whole no tomorrow thing may be right).
And it gets better. In-N-Out has a secret menu that allows a major league burger upgrade. Spicy Food Guy orders his 2x2 animal style, and the grilled onions make all the difference. If you are forced to travel to California, the In-N-Out is a must do.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Taking the Westernized Chinese Indian fusion a step further, Spicy Food Guy cut the lamb into smaller bite size chunks, as opposed to the larger cuts of lamb usually served in Indian Restaurants. He also added some diced green and red bell peppers, and, what the hell, some dried chick peas.
The result is the spiciest curry you have ever had with all the benefits and culinary experience of chinese takeout. Some people look at highly spiced foods and say "why?" Spicy Food Guy looks at spicy foods that never were and says "Why not?"
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Kids of Spicy Food Guy loved the Mild, making it a nice family salsa. Green Extreme is about 20 times as spicy, and Beautiful Spouse of Spicy Food Guy (BSOSFG) claims it clears out her sinuses from across the kitchen. Spicy Food Guy loves the tomatillo taste, and managed to snap this quick picture of his one sort-of-gross-almost-eaten jar before he snarfed it all up.
And while pretentious foody types would shudder at the notion of mixing a first class salsa with Velveeta, Spicy Food Guy is here to tell you that three heaping tablespoons of Green extreme mixed with some melted Velveeta makes for one of the most spicy and flavorful NFL Game Day dips ever to debut on a Sunday afternoon. Folks at Kraft, take note; Spicy Food Guy has found a winner.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Eat up now
Saturday, November 17, 2007
A couple of years ago, Spicy Food Guy had a revelation. If the best chili cheese dogs always have mustard on them, couldn't chili itself be improved by the addition of spicy mustard?
Indeed it could.
The search for the appropriate mustard, however, took much longer. For awhile, Spicy Food Guy used the world renowned Gladys's mustard out of St. Thomas. Spicy Food Guy was turned onto Gladys by the people at Passionate Food. Gladys's mustard, while perfect for the ham and cheese sandwich, somehow did not connect perfectly with a bowl of steaming chili.
Enter Crazy Mother Pucker's Maniacal Mustard. The Crazy Mother Pucker hot sauce line has won five Golden Chile awards over the years, and the Fire Roasted Fusion Hot Sauce is one of Spicy Food Guy's hot sauce staples.
The Maniac, which has a more fiery flavor than Gladys's, adds a district mustard zest to chili that gives the overall palette a tangier and more robust flavor experience. For you Sales Guys out there, that means the chili tastes better.
Someday, when mustard in chili is a common practice, you can say "I've been doing that for years." Just Spicy Food Guy's way of making the world a little bit better place.
Friday, November 16, 2007
No lies from SGFOSFG. Miller's does indeed have a unique taste. Goes from extreme sweet to extreme heat. A very wide bandwidth of flavor.
The flavor reminded Spicy Food Guy of when he mixes the duck sauce and hot mustard from Chinese take-out to make the perfect condiment for egg-rolls (does anyone else do this?). With this inspiration, Spicy Food Guy waited until his next egg-roll encounter and brought out the Millers. Not that Spicy Food Guy likes to brag, but the fit was spot-on perfect. Millers also passes the classic ham and cheese sandwich litmus test.
Miller's is a unique Western Pennsylvania regional mustard, and according to all reports, Miller is a nice guy. Encourage him. Go get you some Miller's.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Spicy Food Guy is a huge fan of the city of brotherly love.
And not just because of the cheese steaks, which merit their own post.
One year, when Spicy Food Guy was running the Philly Half Marathon , it was pouring rain to beat the band. Spicy Food Guy's hotel, the Center City Embassy Suites, passed out hundreds of garbage bags (make shift rain-gear) at no charge to all comers. People poured into the lobby, and the hotel was nothing but supportive. You have to love a hotel that goes out of its way to be helpful, especially when that involves people who are not paying customers.
But if you are in Philly and have Breakfast on your mind, there really is really only one destination diner. Head over to the Midtown Diner. Classic and outstanding diner breakfast. Cooked by a real short-order cook who knows how to do eggs on the griddle.
The last time Spicy Food Guy was there, while seated at the counter, his food server sang the entire time. Loudly. Aretha Franklin's "RESPECT". Spicy Food Guy is no fool. Consider it one of the few SFG motto's -- "If your diner breakfast waitress is in the mood to sing her ass off at 7:30 in the morning, let her have at it. " Spicy Food Guy spotted a fellow diner two stools down and we gave each other the nod.
Let her sing, baby. Let her sing.
As Spicy Food Guy sees the world, one can either spend several dozens of dollars on paprika, brown sugar, chili pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and other secret spices; then spend several dozen hours configuring the correct mixtures to proclaim that one has formulated one of the world's best rib rubs (of which there are thousands), OR, you can buy a really really good one off the internet for five bucks.
To Spicy Food Guy, who is busy smoking ribs while simultaneously: 1) is immersing himself in the decisions of whom to bench and whom to start on his fantasy football team, 2) is trying to either participate in or referee a game of "Capture the Flag" with very loud children, 3) is attempting to open and close the smoker while keeping Large Dog of Spicy Food Guy (LDOSFG) from licking the dripping fat off the patio, the choice is simple -- Bone Suckin Sauce Seasoning and Rub.
Formerly known as Bone Suckin Sauce Rib Rub, the renamed rub (presumably so that it crosses over to chickens and other non-pork staples) is a spicy, tasty, and fabulous rub. A terrific combination of heat and tang and sweetness. While Spicy Food Guy understands the broader "seasoning" appeal of the current brand, he is somewhat disheartened that the Bone Suckin' people would depart from this rub's core essence, which is all about ribs, dammit.
Like any good rub, you'll want to really coat both sides of the ribs before smoking. After rubbing, do not forget to put the ribs back in the fridge for a couple of hours to let that flavor sink in.
By the way, the Children of Spicy Food Guy think that Bone Suckin Rub is too spicy for their tastes, so Spicy Food Guy uses Sutton's Bay Hog's Tale Rub, which seems to have less chili powder and more brown sugar. Or, for the truly spice averse, just use pure brown sugar.
Eat 'em up!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Pictured here is perhaps the finest garlic spice ever invented. While not exactly spicy, the mixture of garlic and herbs seems to go well with a number of Spicy Food Guy's favorites. He sprinkles it liberally on fish (tilapia, in particular) which he wraps in foil and cooks on the grill. Spicy Food Guy uses it as a rub on beer-can chicken. Any pasta begs for the Garli Garni. Another option -- cut up some zucchini, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Add some Garli Garni. Saute or grill. Results are fantabulous.
Real story. Spicy Food Guy bought the little bottle (pictured above) at, of all things, a home and garden expo that had a few food booths. SFG bought the 2.5 oz bottle. Gone in 8 months. The next year, same home expo, Spicy Food Guy bought the 14 oz big-ass plastic offering. Half gone now. Spicy Food Guy reckons that next year, what the hell, he'll just buy a case.
Eat up now.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Simple concept -- chili and cheese in a flour tortilla. Add about three fire sauces. Better when reheated in the microwave at 12:30am.
Some called it the Chili Cheese Burrito, others the Chilito. It's rightful name may be lost to time. Or it may be that the term chilito is mexican slang for "small penis". If Spicy Food Guy was a Taco Bell executive, that would be a pretty motivating factor in changing the name to Chili Cheese Burrito in a big damn hurry.
But all is not lost. There is a website devoted entirely to bringing back the Taco Bell Chili Cheese Burrito. Spicy Food Guy signed the petition. They have collected over 12,000 signatures. God love the internet.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Two disclaimers are needed to establish context for this claim.
First, Spicy Food Guy has a penchant for picking up regional salsas, BBQ sauces, and hot sauces at airport shops. Surprisingly fine selections can be found at these generic looking establishments. For example, in the Charlotte International Airport in North Carolina, Spicy Food Guy recommends picking up a bottle of Prissy's of Vidalia Vidalia Onion and Peach Hot Sauce, an interesting yet tasteful blend of fruity sweetness and heat that can take a standard potato salad to the next level.
Second, Spicy Food Guy can handle all manner of hot salsas: those labeled "XXX", those with the word "Pain" in their labels, and ceratinly all habanero based Salsas. Dave's Insanity Salsa, which claims to be "the hottest salsa in the universe" and is made with the hottest pepper in the world (red savina), is a staple of Spicy Food Guy's dipping salsas.
Why all these disclaimers? Because it was an uneventful day for Spicy Food Guy, wandering a bit aimlessly in the Phoenix Airport, when he picked up a couple of "Sergio's Revenge Salsas", claiming to be "only for the brave". Yawn. Spicy Food Guy has seen those claims come and go. But what the heck, sometimes that stuff can be very tasty.
A month or two later, on a random evening in a fishing cabin, Spicy Food Guy dipped a big old heaping of Sergio's on a chip when he was playing hearts, hungry, and in the mood to try something new. An explosion of culinary pain and some hurting heat hit Spicy Food Guy full blast. Made Dave's look like a wuss. Kid you not. Can't be found on the internet. Spicy Food Guy's second jar, unopened and in a place of honor in his hot sauce collection, is pictured here.
Double dare you.
First in the spirit of disclosure, Spicy Food Guy must admit he is more than impartial to the Skyline Chili Cheese Coney. Besides having consumed thousands of Skyline Cheese Coneys in his lifetime, the geographical center of the Skyline restaurant chain is Cincinnati, Ohio, home of Almost Deaf Father of Spicy Food Guy (ADFOSFG) and Loving Mother of Spicy Food Guy (LMOSFG). Routinely, Spicy Food Guy will drive home to visit ADFOSG and LMOSFG, who have just prepared a scrumptious from scratch meal for Spicy Food Guy and his hungry spouse and kids, only to have one of the kids, usually Wild Child Stepdaughter of Spicy Food Guy (WCSOSFG), announce, "he (SFG) ate five cheese coneys after we got off the interstate! In 10 minutes!"
Alas, it is true.
And if you have not partaken of what may be the finest chili cheese dog to have graced the planet, here are the the details.
It is a small hot dog, perhaps four inches long. Add mustard and onion. Pour on a bean-free chili that has finely ground meat, next to zero heat, and a touch of cinnamon, and does Spicy Food Guy dare say it, a misty hint of chocolate? Add a thick layer of finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, put it all in a steamed bun, and there it is, the best of the best, the Skyline Chili Cheese Coney.
Another tale needs to be told as it relates to the Skyine Chili Cheese Coney. There is an option, for young picky eaters, to order plain hot dogs on a bun. Skyline calls them wiener buns. That's how they are ordered, "wiener buns". Go back seven years. Spicy food guy is visiting ADFOSG and LMOSFG, with then nine year old Intellectual Eldest Daughter of Spicy Food Guy (IEDOSFG) and then four year old Loud Only Son of Spicy Food Guy (LOSOSFG) riding in the back of Spicy Food Guy's SUV. Spicy Food Guy pulls into the drive through of the local Skyline, and the Speaker says "May I take your order sir?"
Spicy Food Guy then replies, ""I will take four wieners..." and the rest of the order is drowned in cacophony of shrieks as piercing laughter peals from LOSOSFG, who screams "DAD SAID WIENER!!!" five consecutive times as Spicy Food Guy is doubled over, no longer able to speak, and IEDOSFG is belly laughing and snorting at the same time.
Nothing beats a first class chili dog, except maybe a carful of laughing kids who just embarrassed their Dad with an incident that will be retold at both of their wedding rehearsal dinners sometime in the next twenty years.
We still laugh about it.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
For Spicy Food Guy's money, the best of the best huevos rancheros are found at the Blue Moon Cafe in Sedona, Arizona. The rancheros are hearty, spicy enough to make Spicy Food Guy's eyes water (which is rare indeed), and they have comic books for the kids, which keeps them from flinging forks at other diners (always a plus). Add a view of the redrocks and the strange Minnesota accent of the food servers in the desert of Arizona, and you have a world class dining experience.
If you are more of an urban sort, one of those pretentious manhattanites that refers to middle America as the "fly-over states", all hope is not lost for you. At least as breakfast goes. You too can find decent rancheros at Norma's in Le Parker Meridien on 57th Street. Of course, you also get a free smoothie in a shot glass, but you will pay $7.00 for orange juice and $5.00 for coffee. Serves your ass right for calling us the "fly-over states". Maybe hope is lost for you, but Spicy food Guy does not judge.
Beautiful Spouse of Spicy Food Guy (BSOSFG) takes her omelette without the mojo, which is her prerogative. So when Spicy Food Guy flips an omelette for BSOSFG, he adds a small heap of smoked cheddar cheese at the end, which she loves. She also likes turkey bacon, which is blasphemy.
Long live the house of pork. Eat up now.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Drive to Michigan , turn north. Drive all the way up the State, about 8 hours (300 years in car time). Marvel at the lack of geography. Ask yourself what rolling pin of a glacier flattened this State millions of years ago.
Cross into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie. Stay on route 17 as it follows the coast of Lake Superior. Spicy Food Guy reckons that mile for mile (or kilometer for kilometer), the coast of Lake Superior may be one of the most underrated natural beauties in North America. Kid you not.
Stay on Route 17 until you get to Wawa, Ontario . Turn right at the statue of the giant goose (the sausage part is coming up, Spicy Food Guy promises). After a couple of kilometers, you'll see Young's General Store to your right. Park near the stuffed moose (that's right -- the moose). Get out of the car. Stretch a bit. Slap at mosquitoes.
Walk in, go past the pickle barrel, though Spicy Food Guy certainly understands if you want to give a pickle a go. Right across from the homemade fudge (that's right, fudge), are the summer sausages. That is, if you're lucky and they are not out of stock.
Packed tightly in a burlap sack, these sausages are quite simply tasty beyond measure. The clerk will ask you if you have had one before, and will provide instructions to novices (i.e. store in a paper bag). The clerk won't tell you your car will smell like a summer sausage for a month, but Spicy Food Guy thinks the odor actually adds to resale values.
If you are particularly lucky, you'll get to keep your sausage for the next week in a rustic fishing cabin accessible only by air. On about three days into the trip, you'll come in to the cabin with a sun burnt nose, sore lower back, and a stringer full of walleye from a day spent on a tin boat. Walk over to the table, cut off a slab of the summer sausage and a hunk of cheddar cheese. Eat them together without a plate or napkin, wipe your hands on your shirt. If Almost Deaf Father of Spicy food Guy (ADFOSFG) spots you, he'll ask if you'll cut up some for him too. Go ahead and do it. There may be finer things in life than munching on a tangy and spicy summer sausage while sharing a week with your Dad in an old fly-in fishing cabin in Canada, but Spicy Food Guy thinks those things are few and far between.
Also, if ADFOSFG claims he caught 30 fish that day, divide by two. ADFOSFG counts a big bite as a fish. "I had it by the boat," fibs ADFOSG, "I saw it. I'm counting it." Spicy food Guy just nods.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
A little spice, a dash of mustard, served cold with almonds and watercress. Mouthwatering. Spicy Food Guy kids you not.
The picture is the real deal. Eat up now.
The pork is smoked with real hardwood. Pure hickory. The pulled pork is shredded perfectly. The BBQ sauce, served warm at the table, is a classic Carolina vinegar based sauce with flecks of hot peppers and real pieces of pork fat. Plus butter. Don't forget to shake it up good. Spicy Food Guy slathers it on.
Spicy Food Guy recommends fried okra on the side and a glass of iced tea. The desserts are off the hook delicious.
Monday, October 1, 2007
There is. And it kicks butt in a major league way.
First, Spicy Food Guy is here to tell you he met Mike and Diane Jaramillo at Zestfest 2007 in Fort Worth, NC, and they are just fine people who know how to make a terrific mustard.
Their Label is Old Pecos Foods and all their mustards are first class. Spicy Food Guy particularly likes the spicy Green Chile variety, and believe me, Spicy Food Guy has tried a peapot full of different mustards in his time.
Eat up, you'll love this.
Welcome to Heaven on Seven, a cajun restaurant (with three locations) in the Chicago area. Spicy Food Guy goes there for two reasons: 1) the fun of trying the dozen or so hot sauces placed on the table (and available for purchase after dinner is finished), and 2) the amazing cajun menu.
Spicy Food Guy recommends the BBQ Ribs Appetizer, the Hot as a Mutha Stuffed Habanero Chile, and the Fried Catfish as an entree. Spicy Food Guy tries to eat there every time he has occasion to visit the Windy City, and he hasn't had a bad meal, or even an average meal, yet.
Eat up and enjoy!
That being said, there is much to like about the Patriot's home venue. Gillette Stadium is nestled among some quiet forests instead of a loud urban skyline.
Foxboro, shown here, is a perfect picture of the quintessential small New England town. And right smack in the middle of town, on Central street, is The Commons Eatery and Cafe. Behold, the best place to eat breakfast before an NFL game.
A year or two ago, Spicy Food Guy, accompanied by Beautiful Spouse of Spicy Food Guy (BSOSFG) and Loud Only Son of Spicy Food Guy (LOSOSFG), chanced onto the Commons Cafe on a day they were visiting the Boston area and had snagged some Patriots tickets. Entering the Commons, no table was available, so the Spicy Food Guy party saddled up to three stools at the counter.
The Commons is family owned, and BSOSFG immediately took to the 60ish Gentlemen Owner, who she called "Pap" because he reminded her of her Father. BSOSFG also ordered the veggie omelette, which disappeared at an alarming rate.
LOSOSFG, who in his prior nine year existence had never, not even once, finished an entree while dining at a restaurant, wolfed down his waffle and would have licked the plate clean had BSOSFG not stopped him. Female Owner of the Commons than regaled LOSOSFG with tales of how she makes Colts fans, when they are in town for a game, eat red, white, and blue waffles (waffles with blueberries, strawberries, and whip cream) to pay homage to the Patriot colors.
Spicy Food Guy did not participate as actively in all the discussions because his mouth was filled with fried eggs, to-die-for bacon, buttered toast and steaming hot coffee.
After some well-wishing good-byes and a reminder to return again, Spicy Food Guy's party stumbled out onto a sunny Central Street. BSOSFG went on to shop in some of the little stores in town, but SFG and LOSOSFG mostly stood around and belched. Then it was off to the game.
By the Way, the Patriots clobbered Tampa Bay 28-0 and looked pretty unstoppable. Unfortunately for them, it was the mighty Steelers who went on to win Super Bowl XL.
Sometimes, just sometimes, everything turns out just right.
After all, Spicy Food Guy lived there for a couple of years, and during that time, Loud Only Son of SFG (LOSOSFG) was born there. Fittingly, LOSOSFG was born not three miles from the University of Kentucky, so his real zodiac sign is the "Wildcat". Henceforth, he has lived up to his mascot billing, except that a real Wildcat, in heat and fighting during mating season, is much more passive than LOSOSFG is. Let me be clear, the boy is loud. Many years later, when Spicy Food Guy would take the boy to England, the kid who is loud by American standards would RAISE THE ROOF in the UK, but Spicy Food Guy digresses.
But onto the BBQ.
During the two or so years Spicy Food Guy resided in this lovely town, he dined at Billy's Bar-B-Q at least once a week, and it was by far and away his favorite. Spicy Food Guy always ordered the Large Pulled Pork Sandwich, which he slathered with the "hot" bbq sauce. But his favorites were always the fries, served hot and fresh with the potato peel still steaming and hanging on the outside edge of the fries.
Years later, when Spicy food Guy would take his daughter, intellectual eldest daughter of SFG (IEDOSFG), back for a visit to his beloved KY town, she would observe at Billy's that "Dad, you are the only man in this restaurant with a collar".
By the way, judging by the numerous autographed pictures scattered on the inside walls, this was also a favorite of BB King when he was in town. Blues, jazz, bbq, BB King.
Is there anything finer?
SFG doubts it.
Monday, September 17, 2007
It should be noted, right up front, that Spicy Food Guy is something of a misnomer. While Spicy Food Guy is indeed a hound for all foods spicy, he is also a fan of blue collar foods everywhere, which makes his tastes a bit eclectic. For example, Spicy Food Guy knows where to find the finest deviled eggs with a hint of spice (hint, it's a bbq joint in Manhattan, of all places), and has also found gems like Green Chile Mustard at zestfest 2007 in Fort worth Texas.
One other caveat. Spicy Food Guy is a proponent of healthy eating. Like most middle aged American guys, Spicy Food Guy spends 85% of his time eating meals like oat cereal and skim milk for breakfast, turkey sandwiches for lunch, and some sort of chicken for supper. And that's OK, because Spicy Food Guy wants to be around for his children.
And while Spicy Food Guy has not traveled the world over, he's been around enough to have found the good stuff, which he is happy to share with you.
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