Visit The Ring of Fire Home Page
A service of
netRelief, Inc.

This site is a member of The Ring Of Fire
A linked list of Chile websites

Next - Skip Next - Next 5 - Prev - Skip Prev - Random Site

Join the ring or browse a complete list of The Ring Of Fire members

If you discover problems with any of The Ring Of Fire sites,
please notify the Ringmaster

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Terrific Cajun Spice in New England (Really)

Spicy Food Guy has purchased dozens of cajun spices over the years, most of them with cool names like "Crazy Cajun Killer Rub" with a graphic showing a swamp, crayfish, gator, or all three. Made in Louisiana and hot and tasty as all get out. Great on fish, chicken, and pork chops.

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

Best Cajun Restaurant Not Technically in Louisiana

There are three really excellent reasons to love Mara's Homemade in Manhattan (342 E 6th St).

One, Mara hovers.

She waits tables, she chats up the guests, she asks pointed questions. Spicy Food Guy was not even slightly surprised to find out Mara is the Mother of 4 kids. She has that aura.

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

Best Wet Burrito in an Unexpected Place

For reasons best left unexplained to the general public, Spicy Food Guy found himself in Grand Rapids, Michigan this past week.

A culinary mystery, that Grand Rapids. Two Mexican cafes or restaurants per block, all promoting their burritos. Makes no sense whatsoever. It'd be like being in some random small town in Mexico and discovering authentic Philly Cheese Steak establishments on every corner. That being said, Spicy Food Guy delighted in the murky mystery that led to this peculiar juxtaposition of ethnic food preferences. Sometimes, we just don't know how it happened. Grand Rapids. A love for Burritos. Black holes. Dark matter. There is much we do not understand.

The wet burrito was also a new concept for Spicy Food Guy. Technically, a wet burrito is a standard burrito slathered in melted cheese and red Chile sauce. Who'da guessed? Then, Former Grand Rapids Resident Friend of Spicy Food Guy (FGRRFOSFG), discovering that SFG was on his way to Michigan, begged, pleaded, and cajoled SFG into trying a wet burrito at the location where they call their wet burritos "famous", the Beltline Bar.

Spicy Food Guy loved his famous wet burrito at the Beltline Bar. Mexican authentic, no. Distinctly Midwest American Mexican, yes. That's what makes it scrumptious. Ground beef, not shredded beef. No rice to be found. Lettuce and tomato and onions inside the burrito, not served on the side. Melted cheese outside the burrito. Fattening as all get out. Worth the trip. Spicy Food Guy is filled and content.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Best Blend of Hot Sauce and BBQ Sauce

A good way's back, Spicy Food Guy had a business trip that took him to the Green Valley Ranch Resort and Casino outside Las Vegas. Incidentally, Spicy Food Guy notices that every time he travels to Vegas for a business meeting, none of his colleagues ever admits to having lost money at the casino. Everybody has either "broken even" or is "up a little bit." Spicy Food Guy, who could not flush his cash down the toilet any faster than he loses it at the Blackjack table, is very, very suspicious.

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.

Best Peanut Butter Cream Pie You Ever Tasted

So last summer Intellectual Eldest Daughter of Spicy Food Guy (IEDOSFG) packs it off to Penn State for about a week of broadcast journalism camp. A bucket of fun, that broadcast journalism camp. Sometimes Spicy Food Guy is unsettled about what, exactly, goes on inside the head of IEDOSFG. But off to camp she goes as this is what she wants. OK.

So anyway, Spicy Food Guy is charged with the task of bringing her back home after the camp is over. Spicy Food Guy gets a little distressed from wandering around aimlessly on the Penn State campus unable to locate IEDOSFG, and IEDOSFG is in great distress because a camp friend dropped IEDOSFG's digital camera and broke it all to hell. Needless to say, on the car trip home, tensions ran high.

Right up until Blairsville, PA (rhymes with Nowheresville, PA), where Spicy Food Guy spotted Dean's Diner. Known for their pies. Sign says "Homemade Pies". No lies here. The diner food was average. The pies, and there must have been 10 different types sitting in two very big refrigerators, were pastry perfect. SFG and IEDOSFG had the Peanut Butter Cream Pie. The filling was neither too light nor too heavy. Perfect peanut butter filling. The crust was crumbly and delicious. Slices were big.

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.
Your Gateway to Barbecue Information
A service of
netRelief, Inc.

This site is a member of The Smoke Ring BBQ Webring
A linked list of BBQ websites

Next BBQ Site - Next 5 BBQ Sites - Prev BBQ Site - Random BBQ Site

Join the BBQ ring or browse a complete list of The Smoke Ring BBQ Webring member's BBQ sites

If you discover problems with any of The Smoke Ring BBQ Webring sites,
please notify the Ringmaster