Sunday, August 20, 2006

Wild About Hot Stuff

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I love hot spicy things. The hotter the better. Whether it be chili or chips, szechuan or salsa, it's best when it's flavorfully spicy and tongue-smoking hot. Delicious!
One of my pet peeves is that foods which are labeled as "Spicy" usually aren't. Often on a restaurant menu, certain entrees will be labeled:
"Caution! Spicy!"
"Caution! Hot!"
Yet when they arrive, they're about as bland as gravy.
Potato chips are another problem. Some brands have their very own "hot" flavor.
Jay's "Hotstuff" is one example.
They're not hot. They're medium at best.
Once in awhile I still crave them, but they're certainly not deserving of the adjective "hot".
Taco sauce is another example. All too often, "hot" really means "boringly medium."
Yet another example is sausage, jerky, bratwurst, and the like. They have tantalizing labels which promise "Hot!" "Spicy!" "Made with Tabasco!" And while some certainly have a good flavor, most do not contain the extra OOMPH that boosts them into the "Good and Hot" realm.
So, when I find something I like that really is deliciously hot, I like to spread the word. Allow me to introduce you to the wonderful world of Jays "XTRA-Hotstuff" Potato Chips. Not the regular Hotstuffs in the red bag, but Xtra-Hotstuffs in the orange and white bag. They have a delicious seasoning bursting with flavor, and YES, they do qualify as hot. Yum!!!
They're hard to find around here. Previously I'd only seen them in a few Speedway convenience stores, but this afternoon I happened to see them at Broad Street Market in Hillsdale, Michigan. As far as I can tell, "XTRA-Hotstuff" is only available in small 2.75-ounce bags, which is presumably the largest dose any ordinary human could be expected to endure at one sitting. These little bags are sold for 99 cents. Broad Street Market had six left in stock-- I bought all six. One was consumed for lunch, along with a jalapeno-cheddar smoked sausage on a bun. (See previous note about sausages which sound spicy but aren't). The other five bags will be slowly savored over the course of the next month or two.
Back in the early-to-mid-1990's, Taco Bell offered the option of "Wild" tacos and burritos. This meant they would drizzle "Wild" sauce on it for you, which actually was pretty tasty. Of course, it wasn't really as hot as the commercials said, (one commercial had a monk breaking his oath of silence to shout in heat-induced surprise after experiencing one bite of a "Wild" taco.) Still, I liked it a lot and missed it greatly when the promotion ended. I tried a couple times to recreate the sauce in my kitchen, but never with any real success.
Then, a few years ago, Taco Bell began offering "Fire" sauce packets (in addition to hot and mild). At first I was excited, because I thought it was the return of my beloved "Wild" sauce. But alas, no, it's an entirely different recipe. The heat level is about the same, but the flavor and texture and appearance is different. I like it, and I prefer it over the hot and mild options, but I still miss that wonderful "Wild" sauce of yesteryear.

1 comment:

Morgen said...

you would have loved the hot oil Lee made last night.
he did a Martha recipe -- a fresh tomato sauce for pasta -- then diced chicken patties on top -- drizzled in a hot oil that he made. OOOOOOOHHHH it was spicy. You'd have thought, "mmm okay, but not HOT on the Jannameter."
He'll have to make it for you. I think it was hot pepper flakes marinated in olive oil, but I don't know what else MrMartha Jr put in it. Spicy goodness!
He didn't like the pasta sauce, but I'm sure we can convince him to make the oil again for us!