Spanish Harlem Hot Sauce Festival

     Headed uptown yesterday for Benito’s first annual Spanish Harlem hot sauce festival sponsored by Keystone Light. All in all, it was BIG FUN! Pete from Queens made some authentic teriyaki ginger chicken skewers. They were bangin’ , they made the perfect sample food to use when experimenting with Benito’s pallette of flavors. Everyone sampled most of the sauces. We got a lot of positive feedback which is always cool. Dartso himself showed up with some surging Guinness cascading system that he couldn’t get to work. The mechanism works by vibrating a glass of beer to produce the cascade effect that is similar to the consistency of a Guinness draft from your local drinking establishment. Ultimately , the thing turned out to be nothing more than a very cumbersome nightlight. Naturally, the grill was going all day. It was loaded with Pete’s signature chicken skewers, Seth’s famous cheddar bratwurst, and Healy’s sopping bricktucky cinnamon wings (posting recipe soon).

     The festivities eventually had to be moved inside. Late night, someone thought it would be cool to throw some ground organic habanero powder into a pan with some hot olive oil. The fumes became unbearable to the point where there was actually a rush of about twenty five people for the door. Anyway, it was a blast…definitely looking forward to next year! Good food, good friends, and barbed wire around the perimeter, what more can you ask for? Much thanks to Healy and Ryan Murphy for hosting the event!

Enjoy the pics!

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DEFCON SAUCE FREE SAMPLE DAY (and free wings :o) ) April 12th,2008

Yesterday, Del and I swung down to St. James Gate in Maplewood for all you can eat wings provided by the crew at Defcon. We arrived around one in the afternoon. The bar was packed with hot wing conneisseurs. I immediately shouted for a long trail draft and hit the wing stand hard! They had three grades of sauce for the public to sample (Mild, Medium, and Very Hot). Devo and I started with three mediums and one hot each. I found the mediums to be extra tasty, an excellent mix of that tang that I have come to expect in a good wing sauce, accompanied by a slow steady release of sting. Then it came time to try the hot….I didn’t really realize the intense heat of the sauce until I took a swig of beer, and then another and another, then I realized the lingering pain would not subside. Needless to say, we took a subsequent break from the VERY HOT (aptly named) and retreated back to the medium grade. At that point I couldn’t taste any heat in the medium grade wings (taste buds were totally burnt out) so I sucked down another Long Trail (or three???) and went back for some more very hots ( a machismo thing I guess). Anyway, I found them to be more tolerable the second time around, but it still took me almost ten minutes to eat three wings which is definitely a first! Some friends showed up, only one of whom had the guts to try a wing on wing day. She had one very hot and was runnin’ for the hills. The heat was so intense that she got three completely naked wings after that and would not try any more sauce. Apparently they had a little contest in which contestants had to consume ten wings in four minutes without drinking anything before having to sit and flail for another four minutes in order to win a prize (some sauce or a shirt I imagine). Needless to say there were no takers from our group.

Eventually, I introduced myself to the owner and handed him a bottle of Joe’s #1 Jalapa which he very much appreciated. I thanked his wife for warning me about the very hot, before purchasing a 16 ounce bottle of the medium grade sauce. When I asked them if I could get a picture, the owner (whose named I already zoned out on) insisted that he put on the gear which consisted of a full gas mask set up with the “hazardous” effects (see photos below).

I’m looking forward to their next appearance which is in Union, NJ some time next month. Cool people….kick-ass sauce!

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