We go to the Windy City for a long weekend trip every summer. We stay at a nice hotel downtown, eat at world-class restaurants and favorite local dives and generally enjoy ourselves for a few days. Naturally, I look for new hot sauces while I am there. That’s one thing I always enjoy.
Chicago Hot Sauce
This year’s Chicago hot sauce search was especially fruitful. I added 14 new sauces from 3 different places to my count. Even better, there are at least 4 that I enjoyed enough to get again.
Let’s go hunting.
Whole Foods – River North
The smallest Whole Foods Market I have yet seen was located about just 5 short blocks from the hotel we chose this year, The Palomar Chicago at 30 West Huron Street. The first night I walked up after dinner to grab a bottle of wine, some beer and check out the hot sauce situation.
The had a very nice selection of locally produced sauces. I grabbed 5 that looked good, saving some for next year, and headed back to the hotel.
- Hot Sauce #248 – Lucky’s Hot Sauce Jalapeño with Garlic (I’ll get this again #1)
- Hot Sauce #249 – Co-Op Sauce Poblano
- Hot Sauce #250 – Co-Op Sauce Smoky Molé (I’ll get this again #2)
- Hot Sauce #251 – Scrumptious Pantry Heirloom Hot Sauce Chiltepin Peppers (I’ll get this again #3)
- Hot Sauce #252 – Scrumptious Pantry Heirloom Hot Sauce Beaver Dam Peppers
Heaven on Seven
Heaven on Seven is known for having great food and a wall of hot sauces! And it is darned impressive. Eight shelves of bottle-to-bottle hot sauces run almost clear around the dining room. The picture at the top of this post is just a small section of that wall.
Unfortunately, we already had plans for dinner (Micheal Jordan’s Steakhouse!) so I couldn’t order a full meal. I only stole a few minutes to hit Heaven on Seven between lunch and dinner so that I wouldn’t have to miss it for another year. All I ordered for myself, Blake and his buddy, Levi, who went with me, was a nice big plate of onion rings to sop up the hot sauces. They were dusted with Cajun seasoning and were very good.
Worse, for me, though — the wonderful wall of 1,000’s of hot sauces is for looks only. There are signs all along it saying “Do Not Touch.”
Even WORSE was the sorry collection of bottles that were on the tables to use. They were mostly common corporate sauces (Tabasco, Cholula and Franks), bad “NOLA-Style” sauces and “Novelty” (read – “juvenile dirty jokes”) sauces that no one who likes hot sauce would ever put out for guests.
Even so, I was there and I decided to made do and was able to add 7 new sauces, slathered on my onion rings, to my count.
- Hot Sauce #253 – Ass in the Tub Hot Sauce
- Hot Sauce #254 – Hot Buns at the Beach Hot Sauce
- Hot Sauce #255 – Hot B***h at the Beach Hot Sauce (It was written out on the bottle. But it’s not happening here.)
- Hot Sauce #256 – Asbirin Hot Sauce
- Hot Sauce #257 – Bat’s Brew Louisiana Hot Sauce
- Hot Sauce #258 – D.L. Jardine’s Texas Champion Cayenne Pepper Sauce (This was the only quality sauce, besides the common corporate ones, on the table.)
- Hot Sauce #259 – Ass in Antarctica Hot Sauce (How does this name make any sense???)
I was disappointed at the wall of hot sauces being off limits since I would have loved to try some.
But I was disappointed so much more by the sorry selection that was put out on the tables for customers. Many of these customers are probably not chili-heads and are experiencing the world of hot sauces for the first time. These juvenile dirty joke and weak pepper mash sauces are NOT the sauces we should be spotlighting. I expected better. Poor show, guys.
On the bright side, if there is one, I would have NEVER bought anything called “Hot Buns on the Beach”, let alone several of the others, so this was a one-time chance to add them to my list. And the onion rings were quite good.
Whole Foods – Old Town
From the smallest to the largest, on our way out of the city we stopped at the HUGE Whole Foods at 1550 North Kingsbury Street.
I had already decided to not by any of the local sauces I passed up earlier at the other WF (Yes, I really am saving some for next year.) but they surprised me by having another sorta-local (Ann Arbor, MI) company doing a tasting. Of course, I indulged.
- Hot Sauce #260 – Clancy’s Farm Mild Gourmet Hot Sauce (I’ll get this again #4)
- Hot Sauce #261 – Clancy’s Farm Hot Gourmet Hot Sauce (Or maybe this one. But one of them, definitely.)
UPDATE – I did. Buy a bottle of Clancy’s Farm Mild, that is. On my next trip to Chicago in 2015 at this very Whole Foods. Read my review of Clancy’s Farm Mild Gourmet Hot Sauce – COMING SOON.
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