Hot Shot

I like spicy food. In my never-ending quest for heat, when I go out to eat I’ve gotten in the habit of asking what kind of hot sauces the restaurant has available. I’m always on the lookout for something new and good to add to the home refrigerator hot sauce collection.

Yesterday I tried Yellowbird Habanero Condiment for the first time. My technique for sampling Yellowbird, like any newly discovered hot sauce, is to start first with trying it on french fries, then moving to liberal application to the sandwich if the sauce passes muster. I think a bit of caution is prudent when you’re talking about unknown, random hot sauces. That way, if the sauce doesn’t hit the spot, I only lose a few fries and not the entire sandwich.

I’m happy to report that the Yellowbird sauce gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up from me. It’s on the hotter end of the heat scale, but not so far that it could be featured on a Man vs. Food episode. It gave just enough to give the food some zing, paired well with both the fries and my fried chicken sandwich, and provided the incentive for a slug of cold beer. It had very good flavor, too, which is something some hot sauces neglect in their quest for unendurable, crippling fieriness. And it left my lips with a pleasant heat level when the dining is done, which is another telltale sign of a good sauce.

I’ll be looking for Yellowbird in my neighborhood grocery store.

To Every Thing There Is A (Reality TV) Season

Have you ever stopped to think about reality TV shows that have come and gone — shows that once were the subject of a tremendous buzz but then dropped off the cultural radar screen, if not off TV altogether? Kish and I don’t watch much TV, but there have been a few shows that captured our imagination, briefly, and now are no more.

One of them was Man vs. Food. We enjoyed watching jovial everyman Adam Richman tackle every food challenge thrown his way, no matter how daunting. Admittedly, our interest was primarily motivated by curiosity as to what ridiculous food consumption dare he would accept, and then watching him pound his fist on the table as he tried to eat more gut-burning habanero wings or five pounds of pancakes. We thought he was an interesting and engaging host, as well as a willing human guinea pig. After a few years Richman shifted to a format where he coached other people in competitive eating endeavors, but the show just wasn’t the same. The show’s run ended, and now Richman hosts other shows and has lost a lot of weight. Good for him! We always thought the Man vs. Food lifestyle couldn’t have been a very healthy one.

Before Man vs. Food, we watched American Chopper. I’m not sure why, because neither of us has ever ridden a motorcycle or has any kind of mechanical aptitude. But the show gave us a peek into a curious family and an even more curious line of work. People who are adept with tools and metal fabrication and design fascinate me, and the process of coming up with a working machine that also is a unique creative statement was interesting. The disputes between Teutul father and sons, and the fallout for the other people who worked at their business, was just icing on the cake. After a while, though, the incessant battles of the Teutuls got old, and the show seemed to be going through the motions, so we moved on. American Chopper ended its run in 2012.

The earliest reality show I remember watching was Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, in which a team of five gay men tried to help some hapless hetero become a little bit more interesting. Each episode the team would help the straight guy with his clothing, haircut, furniture, food, and general behavior. The show was interesting because the “Fab Five” were talented and engaging in their own right, and their interactions with clueless guys who couldn’t dance or wouldn’t change their sweatshirt-dominated wardrobes were priceless. As a similarly fashion- and culture-challenged guy, I found the Fab Five’s tips pretty useful. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy ended in 2007, although the Fab Five reunited for 10-year anniversary show in 2013.

Reality TV is like cultural cotton candy and seemingly vanishes as soon as it is consumed. Some shows, though, break through the clutter and become part of the national zeitgeist.

Man vs Food – New Season

August 5th marked the start of the second season of one of my favorite shows on cable, Man vs Food on the travel channel. The star of the show is Adam Richman who travels around the country taking on different cities toughest food challenges such as the 13 lb carnivore pizza, the 72 ounce steak and a dozen atomic hot wings to name a few.

In the first episode of season two he visited Las Vegas, Nevada and went to the Nascar Cafe to take on the B3 (Big Badass Burrito) challenge. Needless to say he was not able to down the six pound burrito and had to put on a shirt that said “weenie” across the front of it.