Friday, May 06, 2005

About Peppers

It's gotten to the point in my life when I realize that there are only two things in life worth doing consistently and that's eating hot peppers and if you want to know about the second, go visit an adult blog, this isn't one.

I could go into a long-winded technical description about what makes hot peppers hot, but you could simply google "what makes hot peppers hot" and there you'd be. Suffice it to say that hot peppers are highly aromatic and oily and yummy and mmmmm. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

85% of most mammals dislike the burning sensations. They find them unpleasant, even painful BUT birds are completely unaffected by it and we chiliheads, well, we really like it.

I love peppers. They burn my mouth, and other parts of me, and they make me feel alive! I love the feeling of intense pain and the tingly that goes on. I love the final discovery of the taste of the sweet fruit when my tastebuds finally adapt enough to get me past the pain. But most of all, I love putting hot sauces into my mouth to see how they're going to taste and feel.

Yes, and feel.

If you're a chilihead you know what I mean. The peppers all feel different. Jalapenos don't feel like scotch bonnets any more than scotch bonnets feel like habaneros.

And hot sauces don't feel the same the one to the other either... usually.

Which brings me to my blog for the day...

Every Tuesday night at a little place called Clint's, in Pointe Claire, a group of Chili-heads meets. They each bring their little insulated hot sauce bag and break out the bottles. On any given night a newbie could easily try anywhere between 20 and 30 different hot sauces. And you get a great mix of sauces too, because, some of these guys like it hot, some of them like it flavourful, but like me, what they like most is the way the sauces feel in their mouths and they all feel just a little different.

Well this tuesday we went over to Clint's, which by the way is a nice little bar with a huge restaurant. The menu is alright and they give us a price by the piece on chicken wings, which they accommodatingly cook without any spices; this is what we normally dip into the various hot sauce concoctions.

One of the members brought out this green pasty looking substance in a mason jar. It was thick and icky looking, rather like a bright green tapenade. But was it yummy. I can't even remember what was in it now, but the combination of cilantro and habanero peppers was out of this world.

Jean-Yves, brought a homemade sauce in a woosy. I have no idea what was in that either, but my first guesses include scotch bonnets and vinegar. It wasn't as hot as J-Y had wanted it, but it was tasty.

Marc, the club President and co-founder carted along the hottest thing I have EVER put in my mouth. I was still feeling it the next morning. It was a capsaicin extract he'd picked up in a lab in the states and it wasn't nasty. In fact, I recall no flavour to it at all... Perhaps that's what true extract should taste like? I used one of those little plastic swords to dip into the sauce, which was a bright glossy blood-like red colour and tipped it onto the center of my tongue. Instant pain. Instant extasy! Unbelievable.

I tasted several new sauces that night. And to cool my tongue down, I ordered the restaurant's chocolate mousse cake. The cake was one of those generic mousse cakes that you seem to be able to get all over the place in restaurants where the chef doesn't have the time or perhaps the ability to also be a brilliant pastry chef; you know the ones I mean. Anyway, I took the cake and it wasn't anything special, good; but nothing special. UNTIL, I poured the Raspberries in Heat over top of it. OMG, it was delicious. Every taste bud in my mouth came alive. Now I don't know if you've ever tried raspberries and chocolate together, but it's a wonderful combination, but add the pique of scotch bonnets and the two flavours really come alive. I highly recommend it.

Well I've been munching on Zantac like candy since Tuesday, and I probably will for the next couple of days, until the burn is out of my system, but ooooh man, it was worth it.

If you happen to be a chili-head reading this, and you ever happen to find yourself in Pointe Claire, Quebec on a Tuesday night, look up Clint's in the Pointe Claire Plaza. And when you get there, look for the Spice Boys. It's a fun night out with some great people.

Me out.

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