Sunday, November 9, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Spicy Food Guy has no earthly idea; probably some biker guy made good in the hot sauce business, to judge by the graphics. The look reminds Spicy Food Guy of his old army buddy from jump school about 100 years ago.
But Spicy Food Guy digresses.
Whoever the real faces are behind Danny Cash out there in the Mile High City, they sure know a thing or three about making a first class spicy garlic mustard.
This particular mustard has a very familiar smooth yellow texture. It's American, dammit, not some grainy mamsy-pamsy high-fashion mustard spread on a whole-grain cracker by some corn-holing European guy with a false sense of self-righteousness and a dandruff-flaked black sweater who has never seen a Monday Night Football game in his entire miserable life.
Not at all.
Danny Cash Flaming Habanero Mustard kicks some ass. Despite the smooth texture, the garlic comes through in fine fashion. So does the heat, but not in an overbearing way. Have it on a bologna and cheese sandwich. On white bread.
And if you are a pretentious foodie type who wants to extol the virtues of grainy European mustard, go leave your comments somewhere else. Spicy Food Guy thinks you're a Pussy.
Monday, October 6, 2008
No lies here.
No pepper extracts either.
Spicy Food Guy is generally disdainful of hot sauces made with pepper extracts. Extracts in hot sauces are like steroids in athletes. Cheating. Un-American. Godless. Counter to the very fabric of the universe.
But Spicy Food Guy digresses.
Scorch is an all natural sauce made by the folks at CaJohn's. It's supposedly one of the hottest natural pepper sauces ever made. Not surprising, given it is made up of Fatalii Chiles, Red Savina Habaneros, and Orange Habaneros. And yes, it scorches, but not insanely so.
One of the big reasons Spicy Food Guy thinks Scorch is the bomb (har!) is that it is thick. Chunky thick. 60% pepper solids, according to John Hard, the formulator.
Scorch has the texture of a thick BBQ sauce, so it allows for delicate presentations if you are one of those uptight pretentious foodie types, in which case Scorch probably kicks your ass. Kinda serves you right. So says Spicy Food Guy.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Spicy Food Guy especially enjoys Armadillo's, an Austintown, Ohio based catering business that produces a first class regional BBQ. The sauce is an interesting mix of Carolina and Kansas style that Spicy Food Guy believes goes best with Armadillo's ribs.
Not surprisingly, Armadillo's wins awards year after year all over the mid-west. Next year come to Heinz Field and give armadillo's a try. You won't go away hungry or disappointed. So says Spicy Food Guy.
Spicy Food Guy crosses his fingers in hopes that the Volcano is a harbinger of future spiciness in the fast food industry.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
As usual, for reasons best left unknown to the American public, Spicy Food Guy recently hit the road and found himself in Dallas, Texas.
In the mood for a little regional southwestern fare, Spicy Food Guy saddled up to Chuy's Tex Mex, an institution of sorts in most major cities in the Longhorn State.
As luck would have it, Spicy Food Guy happened to stumble onto the Green Chile Festival at Chuy's, which tales place from late August to mid September. During the festival, the restaurant heats up the green chiles in big hand-churned roasters out back, and then offers the roasted peppers up via a special green chile menu.
Spicy Food Guy had the green chile enchiladas, which had, not surprisingly, rich chile flavor. SFG wished the green sauce had packed some more heat, but neither the menu nor the festival lent itself to complaints. Spicy Food Guy bought a t-shirt to celebrate the occasion.
To paraphrase a comedian that Spicy Food Guy once saw but cannot recall the name of for bibliography purposes, Green Chile Sauce festivals are a lot like sex. When they are good, they are really really good. And when they're bad, they're still pretty good.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Stringer full of fish or no, Spicy Food Guy gets hungry on the boat. And when he does, his snack of choice is Jack Link's Carne Seca Beef Jerky. Moist and chewy; great beef flavor. Jack's jalapeno jerky produces a good slow burn that hits 3 minutes after swallowing, usually prompting the first beer of the day.
Also, the folks at Jack's seem to be friendly, authentic folks who don't take themselves all that seriously. They're the ones that produced those "Sasquatch" commercials where the goofy young guys always get creamed. Jack's also has "Sasquatch" games on their website. Bonus!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Time was, if you wanted some Huevos Rancheros with honest to God New Mexican Red or Green Chile Sauce, you had to fly across the country and saddle up to a rusty diner stool in some dusty southwestern state.
That is, until Kera Fresquez and her Mom decided to introduce a line of New Mexican Chile Sauces to the unfulfilled masses. According to the website, My Favorite New Mexican Food Sauces have won about 40 different sauce awards. Spicy Food Guy is totally not surprised.
Fact is, Spicy Food Guy uses the Green Chile Sauce liberally on his fried eggs, combining the requisite tortilla and refried beans to make the perfect homemade Huevos Rancheros.
Authentic stuff, not to be missed by spicy food lovers. Just another public service announcement brought to you by Spicy Food Guy.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Move over, coastline dwellers, the best burger in the land may well just dwell in some towns and cities you have only seen from your window seats during your last red-eye.
Shiver in fear, big burger chains, there is a threat from the Midwest, and it calls itself Culvers.
Suffice it to say, for reasons best left unknown to the American Public, Spicy Food Guy recently found himself in Duluth Minnesota, which has recently been named by Outside Magazine as one of the top ten "Greatest Outside Towns" in America. This is especially true if you are in the business of outdoor Popsicle preservation. Cold, it is, in Duluth. But SFG digresses.
Looking for a place to lunch in Duluth, Spicy Food Guy spotted a fast food looking place that was just flooded with cars and people. At 2:00 in the afternoon. Curiosity took over, and Spicy Food Guy elected to give it a try. Therein he found the famous Butterburger (pictured here), and a big damn secret unknown outside the Flyover States.
Culvers, founded by a visionary couple in Wisconsin, features the Butterburger as well as a host of other entrees. And a whole menu of desserts, which are fabulous in their own right.
But the burgers, by God, the burgers, they are rapturous. Served fresh, never frozen. Condiments served on the bottom of the burger so they don't leapfrog over your taste buds. To die for. Spicy Food Guy was totally unsurprised to learn that "Restaurants and Institutions" Magazine had named Culvers as the "Best Burger Chain in America" in 2007.
Burger fans, heaven awaits you in Wisconsin and several other Great Lakes States. So says Spicy Food Guy.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Spicy Food Guy swears the Big Ben's hot bbg sauce is right up there with any Fiery Food Festival or Scovie Award winners. It's that good. And Spicy Food Guy also uses the spicy wing sauce as his go-to first string sauce when he is grilling up some buffalo wings and buffalo burgers.
How'd this happen? Easy. Big Ben's BBQ and other sauces aren't produced by some third rate hack or even some major food manufacturer that goes soft on flavor.
Big Ben's is made by the folks at Roadside Ribs, a fabulous rib catering business in the south hills of Pittsburgh. Sadly, to Spicy Food Guy's chagrin, Roadside Ribs has no retail outlet -- you have to just get lucky and spot their grill in one of the random parking lots that Roadside sets up in during summer holidays. But Spicy Food Guy digresses.
Word on the street is Ben, he of the strong arm and an alleged avid fan of BBQ, hooked up with the folks at Roadside at some cookout and a deal was quickly struck. And a portion of the sales goes to the Ronald McDonald House. So it's delicious and classy.
Can't beat it with a stick. So says Spicy Food Guy.
Monday, May 19, 2008
The best 5? Criteria are as follows:
- Only national fast food chains are eligible.
And the winners, in no particular order, are:
- The Dairy Queen Blizzard. The Blizzard is perhaps the unexpected surprise on the list. A frozen milkshake ice cream sort of thing with candy, yes candy, all through it. Fabulous beyond measure. Spawned a whole sub-industry in the ice cream world. Think Cold Stone Creamery. And every ice cream isle in every grocery store in America now has dozens of ice creams packed with candy. The Blizzard started it all. It commands our respect and reverence. Plus, when the folks at Dairy Queen hand it to you, they flip it upside down for a second. That, says Spicy Food Guy, is way cool.
- The McDonald's Egg (or Sausage) McMuffin. Not only did the McMuffin brilliantly combine the best parts of breakfast into a sandwich, it added an entire meal to the fast food industry. Arguably, the Egg McMuffin is solely responsible for a significant change in the breakfast eating behaviors of an entire nation. Just awe inspiring. Breakfast sandwiches are available everywhere now, including in the frozen food isles at grocery stores.
- The Taco Bell Double Decker Taco. Spicy Food Guy recognizes that the Double Decker Taco might be a tough sell as a top five innovation, but hear him out. The Double Decker changed the entire flavor and texture profile of the taco. Soft and Crunchy was no longer an either-or proposition; you could suddenly have both. And the refried beans added a subtle layer of additional flavor to the simple taco. Tastes absolutely fabulous. And it has lasted on a menu that seems to change every month.
- The McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. Spicy Food Guy loves the simplicity of the McNugget; boneless fried chicken gone portable. Suddenly you could eat fried chicken in the car. Came in a convenient small box. Plus you could dip it in sauce without making a mess. And you didn't have to bother with greasy chicken bones. Kids went bonkers for it. Is there any family restaurant or grocery store in all of America where you can't get some version of a boneless fried chicken strip? Spicy Food Guy can't think of one either. The McNugget started it all.
- Pizza Hut's Meat Lover's Pizza. Spicy Food Guy supposes that the Meat Lover's Pizza is a controversial addition to the best 5 list. After all, isn't the Meat Lover's just another way to serve pizza? Spicy Food Guy thinks not. In fact, Spicy Food Guy posits that the Meat Lover's represents the 20th century Americanization of the pizza pie. The Meat Lover's is the Porterhouse of pizza; bold, excessive, decadent, and aspirational. It is designed for people who love big taste and big meals. The Meat Lover's led to an entire line of "Lover's" pizzas at Pizza Hut, and a version of the Lover's can be found in every frozen pizza brand in grocery store freezers. The Meat Lover's has earned its top 5 billing.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Spicy Food Guy is an admitted fan of Larry Kling and his Stagecoach Salsas. Fortunately for all of us, he (Larry, the Stagecoach formulator, owner, and all around very nice guy) has directed his formidable spicy culinary skills to the arena of mustards.
The result is Bubba's Jalapeno Mustard, a great addition to the Stagecoach Salsa line. Nice visual appeal; the chunks of jalapeno pepper are seen clearly through the jar.
Also, Spicy Food Guy likes that the mustard combines the light, airy tanginess of a French's type yellow mustard with the spice and burn of jalapeno peppers.
Spicy Food Guy conducted his test on a bologna and cheese sandwich, and he notes that the slow burn did not set in until after about five bites, about the perfect delay for a classic slow burn.
Trust Spicy Food Guy. Stagecoach stuff is first class and the mustard is now a permanent part of SFG's fridge.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Then set the meat aside.
But first an explanation. Beautiful Spouse of Spicy Food Guy (BSOSFG) is a non-eater of red meat, but she is a gumbo lover, and a hot one at that. So Spicy Food Guy does his gumbos with veggies, poultry, and seafood. And when it comes to chicken sausages, no one beats the folks at al fresco. And Spicy Food Guy means no one.
Back to the gumbo. Set the grilled meat off to the side, and then make a roux with about 3/4 cup of veggie oil and a cup of flour. Stir the roux for the time it takes to drink two Yuenglings.
When the roux looks like a Hersheys Bar, add the holy trinity: onions (2 cups), bell pepper (1 cup mixed red and green), and celery (1 cup).
Add in about 8 to 10 cups of chicken stock, a few bay leaves, and whatever creole or cajun spices suit your fancy (a couple of tablespoons). Shake in some hot sauce. Toss in all the chicken meat and simmer for the length of time it takes to watch a Steelers game.
After the Steelers win, add in a pound of shrimp and some green onion. Simmer another 20 minutes.
And here is another huge secret: serve gumbo in a bowl around a small ball of steamed bismati rice. Bismati rice has a popcorn like sweetness that offsets the cajun spices of the gumbo.
To die for. You heard it here from Spicy Food Guy.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Spicy Food Guy is very particular about the type of BBQ sauce he uses on his home smoked ribs. Seven hours of hickory smoking go into Spicy Food Guy's ribs, which he turns every hour so as to apply a secret mopping sauce. Also, Spicy Food Guy uses a careful blend of commercial spices and brown sugar as his dry rub. The end result is a delicate smoky tender rack of ribs that Spicy Food Guy does NOT want to be overpowered by some chipotle-garlic-honey roasted-mesquite smoked BBQ sauce.
Enter Hogs Ass Hot Habanero BBQ Sauce. Made by the Sauce Crafters people. Hogs Ass is a former first place winner of Chile Pepper Magazine's Fiery Food Challenge. It has also won a Scovie award or two.
And Spicy Food Guy loves Hog's Ass simplicity. Starts sweet and gets hot at the perfect pace. No sneaky flavor undertones that undermine the delicate flavor of the rib. Hogs Ass seems to enhance the smoky taste of the rib, not hide or overwhelm it. And a nice full texture that lays nicely on the rib rack. Not runny.
Did Spicy Food Guy say hot? He meant really hot. A burner. Not for those guests who think Kraft Hot BBQ Sauce is hot, which it isn't. Hogs Ass ain't for no wusses and you shouldn't be wasting home smoked ribs on people who buy Kraft branded BBQ sauces.
So says Spicy Food Guy.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
During this culinary adventure, Spicy Food Guy noticed that the restaurant staff was noticeably gentle, friendly, and attentive with the Canadian couple, bringing them small pieces of desert, drinks, and serving these items with warm pats on the shoulder. This gentle attention was led by a restaurant employee that Spicy Food Guy labeled "Pappy". SFG pegged Pap as somewhere between 60 and 110. Hard to tell, so SFG took a picture.
Every time an attractive woman would walk past, Pap would grin at Spicy Food Guy and give him a big thumbs up. Pap also smoked, encouraged customers to do ouzo shots, and generally made a minor bother of himself. SFG liked him immediately.
But as said, Pap kept his attention focused on the Canadian couple, a man and woman in their mid fifties. They saw Spicy Food Guy looking at them curiously, so they told their story.
Three months ago, the man walked out to his driveway and discovered he could not remember how to unlock his car. A visit to the hospital revealed he had a brain tumor -- the worst kind. A "class 5 hurricane, a Katrina" was the way the man described it. He was told he had a zero chance of survival, and had 18 months to live "if everything went perfectly".
So here he was in Greece with his wife, who had roots in Athens. Spending his last 400 days or so seeing the world, and enjoying it immensely, given his cheerfulness, friendliness, and high spirits. Hard for Spicy Food Guy to reconcile, given that the man was going to leave behind a wife and four kids.
So Pap brings the man a glass of ouzo, who turns it down because it would make him dizzy. The restaurant staff immediately declares Spicy Food Guy to be the substitute drinker. The Canadian couple leaves with hugs and kisses all around, and Spicy Food Guy is left sipping his ouzo.
Sitting alone, Spicy Food Guy ponders his life and his own love for his wife and four kids. SFG ponders his mortality. SFG ponders his fortune in being able to see Athens. Spicy Food Guy ponders that he will never again drink ouzo, that tastes like liquid licorice (which SFG hates) mixed with vodka.
Silently declaring himself a wiser man, Spicy Food Guy rises, shakes the hands of Pap and his waiter, and strides away from God's Restaurant. And he hits his head on the sign, again! Same sign, same head, new goose egg! The restaurant staff is stunned at this development. Spicy Food Guy laughs at himself. There seems to be a lesson here, just out of grasp, like the meaning of life itself. Just out of grasp.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
But Spicy Food Guy's day is not over just yet. Acting on a tip from Sogoodblog.com, Spicy Food Guy is driven to try a burger from the famous Five Guys, which has won numerous awards and has been declared DC's best burger by Washingtonian Magazine every year since the Jurassic era.
Spicy Food Guy is here to say that, despite making boneheaded decisions to fight wars in wretched foreign countries, ruin the economy, and destroy the environment forever, the people of the District of Columbia know how to spot a good burger.
Spicy Food Guy ordered the Bacon Burger with all the toppings (which he now in the know orders "all the way"), and he got the girls some French Fries. Spicy Food Guy thought the burger actually exceeded his expectations, which is technically never allowed to happen on a family vacation. The burger itself reminded him very much of an In-N-Out Burger ordered animal style. Curious Stepdaughter of Spicy Food Guy (CSOSFG) declared the fries some of the best she had ever eaten. We immediately agreed that further investigation was needed, and a future trip was hastily planned.
Next trip Spicy Food Guy ordered the Cheeseburger, and each of the Stepdaughters ordered a burger as well. CSOSFG clearly enjoyed her bacon cheeseburger, but young Wild Child Stepdaughter of Spicy Food Guy (WCSOSFG) was very suspicious of a freshly prepared non-frozen patty grilled right and juicy. And no steamed bun. She is a child of the McDonalds generation, but someday she will shed her bonds.
So declares a very full Spicy Food guy.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Actually, the Bobby Que Sauce sat around for a while with the 50 or so other sauces, salsas, and spices that Spicy Food Guy shipped home from Dallas, Texas.
Once opened, the 3 A.M. Bobby Cue Chipotle Sauce quickly rose to the top of the elite few BBQ sauces Spicy Food Guy identifies as "his favorites." The 3 A.M. is not so much spicy as flavorful in a smoky and tangy kind of way. Spicy Food Guy loves the dark flecks of chipotle peppers that float around inside the bottle. For a first class culinary expeience. slather Bobby Que on leftover roasted chicken stacked between a toasted bun. Eat at the kitchen counter while reading the comics. Trust Spicy Food Guy when he says it doesn't get much better than this.
Bobby Davis, the presumed creator and owner of Bobby Que, has won himself a couple of awards. The 3 A.M. Chipotle won 3rd place in the American Style BBQ Sauce division of the Scovie Awards. The 4 A.M. Cipotle Sauce, which can't be found even on the BobbyQueProducts website order form, placed 2nd in the Chipotle BBQ Sauce Division.
As far as Spicy Food Guy has been able to determine, printing out the order form on-line and mailing a check to Mr. Davis is the only way to acquire a few bottles of Bobby Que. And the 4 A.M may not be available at all. This is a shame. Write to Mr. Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org and encourage him to widen his distribution.
Years from now Bobby Que will readily be found on the shelves at Wal-Mart. Prescient is Spicy Food Guy.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
All in all, good eats, good company, scary bathrooms. Two out of three ain't bad.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
In an era where items like sourdough pretzels and baked garlic pita chips have ascended to the upper stratosphere of style and fashion, the Bugle will not be condescended to.
Long since booted out of the kicky red box (remember rooting your hand around the bottom of that thing?), Bugles can still be found on store shelves, albeit boxless and usually relegated to the lower left hand corner of the snack isle. God forbid Bugles should encroach on the turf of hundreds of bags of Tortilla chips. Not that Spicy Food Guy is bitter.
Spicy Food Guy is enamoured with the light airy cruch of the Bugle. And how cool are the ridges? But best of all, of course, is that the Bugle is the only salty snack you can put on the tip of every finger, rendering your hand a decent replica of the Wicked Witch of the West. Then, of course, you are required to point at your Sister and cackle "I'm going to get you my pretty, and your little dog too!" Giggle and snark up the Bugles while your sister calls you immature.
Truth be told, you just can't get that type of quality experience with another salty snack. Bugles rule. So says Spicy Food Guy.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
So imagine Spicy Food Guy's surprise at finding one of the best cajun spices he has ever tasted at the Atlantic Spice Company in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
A couple of caveats. First, it's really not fair that New England has a really good cajun spice. They already have the Championship Red Sox, the Championship Patriots, and the best lobster rolls you can get in the continental United States.
Secondly, Cape Cod is a cool place to take kids. One day, when Spicy Food Guy took Intellectual Eldest Daughter of Spicy Food Guy (IEDOSFG) and Loud Only Son of Spicy Food Guy (LOOSOSFG) on a whale watching trip, we saw a basking shark up close. It was the most bizarre animal Spicy Food Guy has ever seen in the wild; you could stuff an oil barrel in its open mouth, and still have room to add a couple of presidential candidates. We're talking one big mouth. To date, the basking shark is the only thing seen anywhere that has rendered LOOSOSFG absolutely silent.
Anyway, one rainy day in Cape Cod Loving Mother of Spicy Food Guy (LMOSFG) talked him into a trip to the Atlantic Spice Company, where Spicy Food Guy bought a small jar of cajun spice. Months later, Spicy Food Guy ordered a couple of pounds of the same spice, put it in a big oversized jar and placed it in a position of honor in the pantry. Later, one of the kids cut a picture of the word "hot" out of a magazine and taped it to the jar.
No lie there. The Atlantic Spice Company cajun spice is very hot, and very, very flavorful. Spicy Food Guy especially loves it on fish, shrimp, gumbo, and grilled vegetables. Great stuff. The Atlantic Spice Company makes spices for a living. They nailed the hell out of this one.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
One, Mara hovers.
Second, the food is a fabulous combination of Cajun, BBQ, and Southern Comfort foods. Spicy Food Guy especially enjoys the crawfish boil, the crab fingers, the mac & cheese, and the lobster roll. Though the restaurant has won a gazillion awards and has been featured on "Roker and the Road", New Yorkers seem to go out of their way to keep it a big secret from everyone and each other. The Amateur Gourmet admits as much.
Finally, the ambiance of Mara's is reminiscent of a small town bar bar and grill. Wooden chairs and tables, low lights, dishes all over the table. Feels like a place to gossip, to cast judgment on the arrogant and self-righteous. "You know James, that pompous VP of Communications? His wife ran off on him for a wrangler. Serves his ass right for always hitting on the administrative assistants."
As Alice Roosevelt once said, "If you don't have anything nice to say about anyone, come sit right next to me." Spicy Food Guy posits that ol' Alice would have enjoyed Mara's Homemade.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
So one afternoon, after Spicy Food Guy had hurriedly given the dealer at the Blackjack Table several hundred dollars, he dejectedly meandered just outside the Green Valley grounds. Behold, Spicy Food Guy's good luck reappeared in the form of Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ. Lucille's is an authentic real deal hickory smokehouse and both the food and the people are first rate. Spicy Food Guy especially recommends the ribs.
The real find, though, was not the food, but what Lucille's calls "non traditional" hot sauce. Smokin' sauce, according to the label. To Spicy Food Guy, it tastes like a habanero hot sauce with some chipotle bbq sauce and some red peppers and onions thrown in. Simply outstanding. Spicy Food Guy now uses it on his own smoked ribs.
When Spicy Food Guy bought two bottles to take home, the folks at Lucille's warned him that if the bottles got too warm, they would explode. Spicy Food Guy was not sure if the folks at Lucille's were pulling his leg, but he took no chances. Spicy Food Guy took two Budweiser's out of his mini bar and stashed the Lucille's Smokin Sauce there for the balance of the trip.
So get yourself some Lucille's. A great, different kind of hot sauce.
Yes, Spicy Food Guy drank the two beers. Twelve bucks.
Spicy Food Guy took two pieces home, and IEDOSFG learned a thing or two about diner pies, and also diners. Back on the road, the tension was gone, the conversation was stimulating, and the company just couldn't be beat.
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