Condiment Review #928374

Garlic Style Batch #37 Hot Sauce
Original Juan Specialty Foods, Inc.

Normally, when in a down-home, whimsical, quaint food store I do pick up some hot sauce. At Simmons' Farm, just south of Pittsburgh, they had a small variety of jalapeno concoctions, including farm-fresh hot peppers. But one bottle in particular caught my eye: a flask-shaped glass bottle with a picture of a disembodied head, screaming, or having a super-big orgasm, maybe, or both. Right above the picture was a simple phrase: pain is good.

Habanero sauces are usually tempting to my "Thai Green Curry is for Pussies" palate, but ultimately end up unused in the fridge because it's just hard work, breaking into a sweat with capsicum singeing your upper lip. But the ingredients in this #37 sauce were interesting: although Habanero peppers were second on the list, they were preceded by undrained carrots, and followed by minced garlic, mustard seed (yes!) and lemon and lime juice. Clearly Original Juan is going for some real flavor here.

For my taste test I put about a dime-sized dollop on a three-chip stack of overpriced Xochitl white corn tortilla chips from Whole Foods. Viscosity was normal for a thick salsa, without a watery layer (even though I didn't shake the bottle). The color was a burnt orange with flecks of red. Several large minced bits of garlic were visible.

The flavor was impeccable. It was my first time tasting a Habanero sauce in which the heat was secondary to the other flavors. The garlic and vinegar bite were foremost, and the carrot and lime base smoothed the palate into a almost cool zotch. That's right: it was a cool Habanero sauce. After I finished my chip sandwich, and then another plain chip to calm my senses, I had another three-chip stack with more sauce. And then I did it again and again, eventually moving up to a nickel-sized portion of #37 on my chips. I couldn't stop. I couldn't get over how superior carrots are to tomatoes in creating a base for a hot sauce, and how well the spices and other ingredients were proportioned to create the perfect Habanero salsa. This stuff isn't about needing a big pair of balls to choke down ultra-hot Habanero peppers, but about using one of the world's spiciest plants to create a symphony of exciting flavors.

I've always liked back-of-the-bottle product propaganda, and Bath #37's didn't disappoint:

There is a point where pleasure and pain intersect. A doorway to a new dimension of sensual euphoria. Where fire both burns and soothes. Where heat engulfs every neuron within you. Once the line is crossed, once the bottle is opened, once it touches your lips, there is no going back.

Hear, hear.

Grade: A+

Wasabi + Mustard

A few days ago I bought two bags of gourmet Archer Farms potato chips for four bucks at Target: one was some kind of Parmesan flavor, and the other was more experimental: Wasabi and Mustard flavored.

I bust 'em both out, and on first chip I really like the wasabi-and-mustard idea (though by chip twenty or so the greasy/salty stuff has kind of turned my palate into some sort of MSG soak pad). Reading the ingredients I see that they are indeed made with "salad-style mustard" (some aficionado I am: I have no idea what salad-style mustard is, though this one seems to have a lot of vinegar in it) and real wasabi (which Wikipedia tells me more often than not is substituted for fake wasabi, which is really horseradish and food coloring, but the article is unverified).

But if it's true that mustard, horseradish, and wasabi all come from the same genetic family (ibid., unverified wikipedia article) I think that's a helluva condiment combo. The tangy acidity of good mustard with the nasal-clearing green note of some good wasabi? I'm gonna buy a tube from the Whole Foods and go nuts.

Stoner Snack #90817231

Odd that mwittier mentioned the tastiness of cool/creamy with hot/spicy, because apparently a few weeks ago I took this photo, which I just got onto my computer:

I remember I'd intended this to be my first post in this community, and now it seems a little dated, what with bagels and hot pepper flakes and what have you.

2 Saltines
Lo-fat Cream Cheese
Frank's red hot sauce

The vinegariness of the Franks is nicely muted by the cream cheese, and abundantly transforms the bland taste and flaky texture of the saltine into a sensory overload of crispy, creamy, gland-swelling goodness.

Grade: B+

stoned culinary creation #7764921B

1 lender's or otherwise substandard, refrigerated-section-of-the-supermarket quality bagel, toasted
cream cheese, reduced fat

condiments/spices added:
McCormick brand "Italian Seasoning," copious
Crushed red pepper, somewhat copious
pinch salt

Toast bagel. Put Philly on bagel. Sprinkle other stuff on Philly.

Serve immediately with saltines, stove top, Hershey's syrup, ramen noodles, and grated Parmesan cheese.

this didn't turn out too bad for a munchie creation. the basil/oregano/rosemary combo of spices added a certain chive-y earthyness to the lite cream cheese, and the red pepper had a nice, zotchy finish.

grade: B


I had bacon this morning. This is probably the first time in a year or more, since my doctor suggested I never, ever, do fucking Atkins again, that I've consumed a breakfast largely composed of fried pig fat.

Bacon's pretty good, in moderation, I suppose; I actually got the crispiness right. And of course, I started thinking: how could I make this foodstuff of Satan even tastier?

So I ask you, condiment folk: what the hell do you put on bacon? And don't tell me peppercorns or some shit like that. Bacon bits, maybe. Once I knew a dude who put strips of bacon on a bed of hash browns and drizzled that with Cheez Wiz. But fuck a deuce, that guy probably weighed a trey.

Italian/German Mustard Review

Zuccato Senape is a medium-hot mustard available at various small shops in Italy. It has a fantastic creamy texture and a non-acidic sharpness that is a fantastic compliment to full-flavored meats such as Wurster, or Italian hot dogs.

While this mustard doesn't have the zotch of the high-end German offerings, I found it to be Italy's #1 mustard -- a land not quite known for mustard (or hot dogs, for that matter)

Grade: 3.7