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Thursday, January 20, 2011

n00b alert: Four Dead Giveaways!

Not only the world's most badass investor, WB is also a veritable fount of simple yet profound quotes. Normally focused on the financial world, he also sometimes takes a crack at offering life lessons. Below is a quote I've always enjoyed:

"If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy."
-Warren Buffet

This is a great metaphor for many things in life, but one particularly near and dear to my heart is the circumstance where people (unwittingly) demonstrate their utter lack of knowledge or ability without having any idea that they have done so. For instance, take a new skier. Walking towards the chairlift carrying their skis, they are feeling pretty confident about their abilities. However, the fact is they are carrying their skis with the tips facing backwards and are rocking a big ol' gapper gap; clearly exposing themselves to the rest of the world as n00bs.

In a similar vein, there are four major commonly seen no-nos in the hot sauce world that will ink you as a total n00b.

1) "The heat of a pepper comes from the seeds". Um... WRONG! I heard this one this past weekend, and couldn't help myself from going off on the poor kid. So yeah, this is most certainly the biggest FAIL you could make. The heat comes from the Capsaicin, which is housed in a thin sack (a vesicle if you want to be a nerd about it) along the flesh of the pepper. The seeds themselves do not have heat; they just seem hot because of their proximity to capsaicinoid gland (which is very delicate, and often ruptures; leading the seeds to get a little "contact high" if you will).

2) "I love Chipotles, but I hate Jalapenos". FAIL again. A chipotle IS a Jalapeno that has been smoked and dried. (hi smokey flavor!) Please review a venn diagram- subsets if this is still not clear. In this case, Chipotle=A, Jalapeno=B

3) "The red yucateco is much hotter than the green. Green sauces are always milder than red sauces" ding ding ding, that's incorrect! Green= 9k, Red=5.79k. Something about those zero scoville rated tomatoes brings down the red....

and finally 4) "Habaneros are the hottest peppers in the world" While yes they are most likely the hottest pepper the average person encounters at 100-350k (the red savina strain has clocked in even higher at 580k ), they are actually only the third hottest pepper. Comfortably ahead of the habs in the two spot is the mighty Dorset Naga Pepper from England at 875-970k. And then sitting in the top spot, the baddest pepper to ever grace the scene, the fearsome Bhut Jolokia Pepper aka the GHOST PEPPER. This guy comes in at over a million scoville units, and destroys anything in its path. Don't believe, check out the video of this guy below (and note, he is an extremely experienced chilihead that eats habs like they are peanuts).

Miz-city, starts circa the 1 minute mark

thanks to JS "15 mins of game" weinberg for the video

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hi, 2011, epic year, damn glad to meet ya

Ah, nothing like the dawning of the new year. A chance to put mistakes beyond you, a chance to refocus your energies, and a chance to better yourself in work, health, and life. As my grandfather would say, another YEAR is which to excel!

Every grand journey begins with a first step; funny how it seems like every new years begins with a raging headache and brutal hangover. Oh well, I've never subscribed to the view that the first day of the year sets the tone.... I'm more of the reversion to the mean kind of guy, so if you start off low, things will only get better.

Anyway, like most people I made a resolution for 2011. Unlike most people however, my resolution is to be able to touch my toes. I think there is a very high probability that I am the only 26 year old that has ever made this resolution, as this is a trait almost everyone possesses. But sadly, these are the genetic cards I was dealt; the flexibility of a 96 year old man trapped in a 26 year old man's body. (Thanks dad) To accomplish this task, I have taken up a weekly yoga class, 12-1 on Wednesdays. Hopefully I will also augment with some additional other stretching and/or more yoga sessions each week as I go along. To give you an idea of where I'm starting from, here is a recent (80 seconds old!) picture illustrating my baseline natural (dis)ability. I've got a good 7+ inches to go it seems. Wish me luck!

My second resolution is to start getting serious about scovilles. I've realized I'm in a rut when it comes to hot sauces, and keep finding myself eating and combining the same sauces over and over again. Yes the combinations are amazing (i.e. sprinkle green yucateco over plate of nachos, lightly deposit a drop of sudden death on each chip, douse with the Perfect Louisiana hot sauce= best tasting nachos), but I also need to branch out for two reasons.

1) I am burning through a couple sauces, while many others are barely touched. This is giving me an inventory obsolescence problem, and theoretically will lead to major write-offs in the future....

2) I'm sticking with what I know and love, and not pushing myself. I am thoroughly embarrassed to admit this..... but the Mad Dog 357 I bought two months ago is STILL UNOPENED. so weak.

Going forward, I am resolved to push myself with a brand new combination of three sauces each week. With 64 sauces to choose from, the combinations should hold me over for a while. (64 nCr 3 for the math nerds out there... how long until I run out of combos?) Additionally, there will also be one FIRE night per week, where I need to take down a legit amount of a sauce that is >100k. I've plateaued in my abilities, and 2k11 is the time to start increasing my skills!

For the massive readership of THTF, I recommend adding your own hot sauce New Years Resolution; Building up your Habanero abilities. Habanero peppers and sauces are the highest level one encounters in normal life (i.e. you have to go out of your way to get anything hotter), so mastering the habs makes you pretty badass compared to the average Joe. Below are my three favorite Habanero based sauces.

The Beast is most accessible, clocking in the mid 50s I'd say. You can really taste the Garlic and Onion flavors, and it does not have an overpowering heat at all.

Beast - Habanero Peppers, Vinegar, Salt, Garlic, Onion, Citrus Juice, Pepper Extracts And Spices

Next up is Colon Blow, prob a mid/high 60s. I've found this to be a polarizing sauce, with people either loving or hating it. I love it, and think it has one of the more unique "sweet" aftertastes, apparently due to the inclusion of cane sugar.

Colon Blow - Red Habanero, Tomato Sauce, Hot Pepper Extract, Onions, Red Chiles, Garlic, Cane Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Xanthan Gum, Spices

And then finally, the most aggressive of the three is Sudden death at around 104k. It's the best tasting of the Blair line that is over 100k, but def can sneak up on you if you put too much on. So treat this one with a little more respect than the previous too. And no, I have no idea what the Siberian Ginseng brings to the table (other than increasing the sales price...)

Sudden Death - Red Habanero Pods, Cayenne Chilies, Pure Pepper Resin, Clover Honey, Key Lime Juice and Siberian Ginseng.

Master the Lineup: A worthy 2011 Resolution

Happy New Years!