NYC Hot Sauce Expo Photos

As promised, here are the NYC Hot Sauce Expo photos! Better late than never no? We had an awesome time at the event this year and picked up a few great products. If you’re a spicy food lover like I am you should definitely look into getting some of these products if you don’t have them already.

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Willikers delicious spicy chocolate syrups are a must in cocktails, over ice cream or in hot cocoa. I preferred the dark chocolate made with toasted marshmallows and chile spices.

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Lucky Dog brought their special wax sealed bottles for the event.

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Below are the brave souls that participated in the deadly, spicy lollipop lick-a-thon hosted by Michelle from Intensity Academy. She makes the hottest lollipop in the world and some tasty spicy mayo too. How hot were these you ask? These lollies are only 2.3M Scoville units, that’s about 500-600 times hotter than a jalapeno pepper! Seriously people, why would you do this to yourself?! I make spicy lollipops and wouldn’t try this! Some people have much higher tolerance and were definitely testing their limits…pretty amazing feat I think. They look so happy here in the “before” shot but you gotta see the “after” shots! I’ll post video tomorrow for you guys if I can get it to upload.

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Event organizers High River Sauces have an amazing arsenal of hot sauces. One of my favorites is the Hellacious hot sauce. Heartbreaking Dawns 1542 habanero sauce is on the money too!

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Jersey’s own Born to Hula!

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I picked up the All Spice Cafe sweet ghost pepper popcorn for that sweet, spicy and salty flavor that’s tough to find along with Sauce Goddess Moroccan twist popcorn for blended flavors of caramel, cardamom and chiles for an amazing complex flavor. You can find these at Peppers.com.

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You have to pick up Sinclair’s Fatalii sauce from Sweet Heat’s hot sauce makers. It’s made with tomatoes and the wonderfully fragrant and hot fatalii peppers. Fatalii peppers are very similar to the citrus flavors of the habanero peppers but they are a lot spicier, more fragrant and more prominent fruity flavors.

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I made a chicken pot pie this weekend and sprinkled some Volcanic Peppers dust for a little heat which surprisingly came through even with the creaminess of the pie. This little jar packs an incredible amount of heat as it should since it is made with just habanero, red peppers and ghost peppers.

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This A&B hot sauce is a nice Carolina style vinegar based pepper sauce made in NYC. I like the mid-range heat of this sauce and can see it in future bowls of popcorn!

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Twisted Sister’s guitarist Eddie “fingers” Ojeda’s award winning Ojeda Cherry Habanero sauce made my top list in the sweet and spicy category. It has a great natural cherry flavor and a heat that builds over time. This would be amazing on grilled BBQ chicken or ribs!

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Whitehouse Station habanero hot sauce delivers pure habanero heat for that clean citrus flavor I’ve come to love. It is one of my favorite peppers right along with the fatalii pepper. Puckerbutt’s Brown Congo Jelly is not your typical thin, overly sweet jelly. This jelly is chunky with lots of pepper bits and the perfect blend of sugar and heat. Smear it on your pork tenderloin next time.

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Hellfire yeah! I didn’t get to try all of their sauces but Hellfire’s The Elixir just blew me away. Can’t wait to put that on everything!

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If you can’t handle too much heat and love the flavors of green chiles and tomatillos, this is the sauce for you. This was one of my favorites from NW Elixirs. Fresh, tangy, mildly spicy and perfect on eggs or smothered on baked chicken with melted cheese. Are you hungry yet?

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Here’s one mini entrepreneur! This little guy, with the help of his mom and dad, created his own hot sauce and bravely tried one of my spicy lollipops! This story is pretty amazing and shows how with great parenting and guidance children can learn essential skills to become successful and gain independence down the road. Not only are they selling the Hot Cha – Waa Cha hot sauces and BBQ sauces, but Dad founded and teaches at the Chef2Be Summer program at the Nyack, NY Culinary Learning Center. The Chefs2Be program is for kids over 10 years old interested in learning about healthy eating and cooking. Visit their website for more details about the program.

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The day outside was miserably wet and cold and thank goodness the event was held indoors this year. I have to say I preferred last year’s set up as vendors booths snaked through venue for easy navigation. This year I found myself a bit overwhelmed and not knowing where to turn exactly but that didn’t matter much, I was on a mission and visited every single booth there, especially the food, beer and liquor booth in VIP. There was also a tattoo artist on hand for those crazy, impulsive moments when you convince yourself you need another! I passed but mostly because they didn’t have any chile pepper designs! ha!

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More food next time please!! Definitely not enough in the VIP area to get through a day of sampling sauces but the sandwiches were delicious, albeit tiny.

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oh and I want these earrings!

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Until next year folks! Hope you enjoyed the photos. Look for Hot Lollies spicy lollipops at next year’s event if all goes well!

 

 

Get Ready for the NYC Hot Sauce Expo

Get ready for the 2nd annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo this weekend brought to you by High River Sauces! This event will be packing some serious heat! If you love hot sauce and spicy foods this is one event you absolutely cannot miss! It’s not too late to get tickets so get them online to save a few bucks! Last year was a huge success with hot sauce producers from all over the country and plenty of food and drink to go around.

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Here are a few photos from last years’ outdoor event. Good thing event is indoors this year since it may be a rainy and chilly weekend. So head over to the Penn Plaza Pavilion next to Penn Station to sample some of the best hot sauces around. This will be an easy commute for those coming from outside of Manhattan. It’s also a great opportunity to try sauces you normally wouldn’t find in this area and to support a few small businesses…and if you’re feeling brave, enter one of the spicy foods contest!   It’s going to be one hell of an event. See you all tomorrow! I’ll be sure to post a few photos for those of you who can’t attend.

A Hot Sauce Festival for City Folk

I attended the first annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo last weekend held in Brooklyn’s East River State Park. The event was a huge success giving hot sauce companies, small and large the opportunity to share their creations with us city folk! It was the perfect event for tasting and purchasing difficult to find hot sauces. I’m usually skeptical of buying sauces online if I haven’t had the opportunity to try them or come recommended from a trusted source so this was a nice treat.

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The general tasting was held outdoors but a little extra loot got you access to the indoor VIP events, great food, vendor awards and plenty of libations.

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This Cayrum rum hails from the Dominican Republic and made with honey and ginger for a nice spiced up flavor. I can definitely see this in my tea next time I’m sick, in mixed cocktails or just over ice! A great spicy premium tequila to try is Tanteo made with real jalapenos for very natural tasting, spicy spirit. Most others spicy liquor distillers choose artificial flavoring but this one delivers on both the taste and heat. I also caught a Michelada competition…you see where my priorities are!

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Unlimited drinks, live music, unlimited food and all the hot sauce you wanted could be had in VIP area. The general admission got you access to to the hot sauces in the outdoor booths with a great view of the city. Not bad for only $10!

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A couple of good sauces here…Dirty Dick’s, Guyank, Heart Breaking Dawn’s 1498…

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That Rogue High River Sauce made with scorpion moruga chile, one of the hottest in the world, hotter than the ghost pepper, was killer! I had to try it and amazingly you could taste the sweetness up front for about the first 10 seconds and then BAM! A one-two punch to the face! It’s probably best to leave those super hot sauces for last to save some of your taste buds. So best advice I can give is to pace yourself and walk around with a cold dairy product like ice cream or cheese to neutralize the heat, it really does help!

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Ooh Defcon sauces, that Habby Horse hot habanero is AMAZING! Will be grilling with that one and also adding it to some deviled eggs. If you want a great flavored, well balanced, spicy, sweet, tangy HOT sauce, pick up one of my favorites, Cajohn’s bourbon infused chipotle habanero hot sauce.

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Here are a few more great sauces…High River Sauces Tear’s of the Sun, Delcastro NYC hot sauce, and Surge of Sandy, which was a collaboration with Cajohn’s to help benefit Born to Hula hot sauce company after hurricane Sandy’s devastating blow to their NJ location. Be sure to pick some up if you want to help them rebuild, hot sauces also make great gifts too so get a few.

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Needed to fuel up with an awesome beer bratwurst with a little Bajan mustard hot sauce.
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There were sweets to be had as well. I had to pick up the Madison Chocolatiers West spicy chocolate caramel sauce which would be great drizzled over ice cream, stirred into a smoothie or for dipping strawberries. Peppers.com, the huge hot sauce distributor/sellers also showcased their spicy salt water taffy, a collaboration with Delaware’s Dolle’s taffy company. Look for the spicy peanut butter taffy for an awesome treat! There weren’t too many others but hopefully next year you’ll see hot lollies there! 🙂

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The day was gorgeous, a little windy and chilly for this time of year but plenty of warming elements here. I could have easily overdone it with all the sampling, surely a few more would have put me over the edge but one thing I could appreciate, as did many others, was the strategically placed ice cream vendors!

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This will be an annual event in NYC and definitely looking forward to next year!

Mark Your Calendars, Spicy Food Festivals This Fall

Spicy Food Festivals

I love the Fall! Time to get the sweaters and light jackets from storage, watch the changing leaves, go apple and pumpkin picking, start watching Football every weekend, and attend a couple of food festivals. This past summer was brutal so definitely welcoming the cooler temperatures and looking forward to checking out what’s new at the food fests! Here are a few that are coming up in the next month or so.

Easton Farmers’ Market – Chile Pepper Festival
Saturday, September 22nd
Easton, PA

Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Chile Pepper Fiesta
Saturday, September 29th, 11am-6pm
Brooklyn, NY

Wish I could make the Botanic Garden’s festival but will be in Argentina & Chile during that time, maybe I’ll find some great spicy food in Argentina or Chile? I mean, a country with a name like Chile should have some serious heat so we’ll see. 🙂

Food Network’s Wine & Food Festival
Thursday – Sunday, October 11th-14th
New York, NY

The Food Network’s festival is an entire weekend so make sure you check out their events page. One that I’m definitely attending is the Spice event on the 14th at Spice Market. There will be lots of chilies and spices being passed around at that event!

Update:
Feast of San Gennaro
Now thru Sunday, 23rd
Little Italy, NYC

How did I forget the San Gennaro food festival?! Probably because it’s not a spicy food event but there will be spicy food finds, you can bet on that!

Most of the above are in the NJ, PA and NYC area so if you’re nearby these are definitely a few to attend. Would also be great to know what’s happening in your neck of the woods. What food festival are you looking forward to this Fall? Share a few in the comments, would love to hear about them!

Weekend Well Spent: Big Apple BBQ in NYC

Had a great time at the 10th annual Big Apple BBQ in Madison Square Park, NYC this weekend. If you’ve ever been to the park, its a nice respite from city life but of course not as big as Central Park. Actually it only spans about a city block and is the home of the first ever infamous Shake Shack, but burgers were not on my mind, next time! Thank goodness the rain held back and only got a light shower as soon as we arrived. I wasn’t going to let a little rain stop me and neither were the folks running the show. The music was blaring, grills were fired up, beer was flowing and the umbrellas were out, three out of four, not bad.

The Jon Langford band playing country, folk music to kick things off.

The drizzle finally stopped and it was smooth sailing until the very end. The Baker’s Ribs pit masters from Texas seem to be having a great time in spite of the showers and the humidity but they’re from Texas so I’m sure they get it worse down there…glad it was them and not me!

JC Brooks and his band from Chicago were awesome!

The baby back ribs from Pappy’s Smokehouse of St Louis, Missouri were amazingly good. Spicy, tangy, sweet and everything a good sauce should be! Loved it, one of my favorites from the event.

Pork and beans, delicious!

Southern Culture on the Skids! Head boppin’, hip swaying funky music.

I wish there was enough time to try all of the out of state pit masters but the lines were just way too long. Some lines had about 200 people so tried to make my way over to the fastest moving one. The best strategy for any of these types of events is to get there early with a small group and have each of your friends stand in different lines so you get to try everything. Well, next time. Below is the beef brisket from Hill Country, NYC. Tender, juicy and perfect with an cold beer.

There were a few BBQ vendors that ran out of food but there were plenty others still cranking out the ribs. Once you got your fill you could run over to the merchandise booths and get t-shirts or BBQ sauces from all the pit masters at the event.

By now I was pretty full, sweaty and exhausted. I made sure I wore comfortable shoes but didn’t matter when you’re on your feet for 6 hours or more. Madison Square Park also doesn’t provide much seating and with the thousands of people at this event there was no chance we were getting one BUT as luck would have it, we just so happen to be standing next to a couple leaving…whew *JOY*. Now for my ice cold brew…boy were my dogs barking!

So the people watching ensued and finally got a chance to look up and enjoy the great architecture of NYC.

…and look down as well. I was on a mission when I arrived and ribs were the only thing on my mind. Now off to smell the roses…

My Food Adventures at the Varli Food Festival in NYC

I attended the Varli Food Festival in NYC this past Thursday and what an amazing food experience it was. The scent of wonderful Indian spices, bold and vibrant colors at every turn, and the food, oh the food…I was in heaven! I had this whole strategy leading up to the event, thinking oh I’ll start with small appetizers, then sample mini version of my favorite curries and heavy dishes then on to dessert. Well needless to say, that strategy lasted about 2 seconds and you’ll see why. There was food everywhere, and finger lickin’ good food! They even had a spice market where you could go in and pick up all the spices you wanted, on the house! See my swag bag at the end of post. OK, I’ll stop writing now and just let you see for yourself…

As soon as you walk in…

This papaya salad was amazing…tangy, a little sweet and spicy. Oh and those lotus root crunchy snacks were just yummy. I was tempted to bite into one of those chiles but glad I didn’t, definitely wanted to actually taste the next few dishes…

Some Pani Puri filled with yogurt, tamarind, mint and chickpeas, one of my favorite flavor combinations.

Thinks that’s a lot? Well there’s more, much more…

This chicken cooked on a Himalayan salt slab was probably the most tender and moist chicken I had. The chicken was marinated without salt and cooking the chicken on the slab gave it a nice flavor.

Lots of mango treats and desserts. This mango mousse was lovely from Amiya in Jersey City.

Let’s not forget the drinks. The booze was flowing all night but these little lovelies here stole the show…let’s see if I remember correctly…ginger vodka cocktail with rose petals frozen into round ice cubes and rimmed with tajin. I have to do this rose petal ice, just makes you feel so pretty when drinking it!

Check out this gorgeous cake! Love the color, the details and intricate design.

Last but not least, some of the talent…

Chefs Mehta, Khanna, Chauhan, Kapur, and Vij

Hope you enjoyed the photos! I would’ve had more but my camera battery bailed on me. I did get to try some other amazing dishes like fried cauliflower, chicken tikka, various types of breads, lotus root three ways from Junoon, kati rolls, seared Kangaroo meat with curry. Yes, I said Kangaroo…I figured why not, it was there and it looked so good. It’s very similar to beef and was so tender, very nice dish. So I basically rolled out of there, seriously, I ate way too much! The portions were so big so just wound up taking a bite or two and moving on but there were so many good spots to try. Next time I’ll post a few of my favorite restaurants from the event.

So all in all the event was a huge success and was worth every penny! I would certainly do it again if it comes back to the NYC area! Especially when most of the proceeds from event will be donated to charity, love that! I heard next year they’re heading over to  Dubai so I’m glad I made it to this one. If you can, definitely check them out! Oh, check out the swag too!