Eighty Percent or Thereabouts
Finally Simpsonized!

Heat Index

I have a very low tolerance for hot food; so low that "mild" to me means "really really spicy and almost intolerable." I mean, I find the fresh tomato salsa at Chipotle to be quite tangy on the tongue.

Joe, on the other hand, has a finely honed and discriminating hotness palate. He's always on the lookout for the World's Most Perfect Hot Sauce: not so hot that all you taste is pain, not so mild that you could drink it and shrug your shoulders. No, Joe searches for the perfect, elusive combination of heat, spice, and flavor.

Which is why he likes California Tortilla, a burrito chain featuring a wall of hot sauces ranging from mild to wild. His favorite is a Cholula sauce, which adds just the right touch to his Havana Burrito. We went to our local CalTor for lunch last Saturday, but alas! There was no Cholula!

Clearly, it was time for a taste test.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the contenders:


Joe applied four drops of a sauce to a bite of burrito, then ate. The rating scale of Joe Physical Reaction is as follows:

  • Croaky voice: nicely hot and flavorful; no remedy necessary
  • Croaky voice and raised eyebrows/squinty eyes combo: very hot, still good flavor; apply sip of cool drink
  • Croaky voice, raised eyebrows/squinty eyes combo, and runny nose: extremely hot; apply gulp of cool drink and eat tortilla chips
  • Croaky voice, raised eyebrows/squinty eyes combo, runny nose, and hiccups: off the hook hot; chug cool drink and chomp big handful of tortilla chips

"How did the contenders rank?" I hear you cry.

Well, they are arranged in the photo as they ranked, from right to left, hot to hottest. Melinda''s Chipotle Sauce won for the best combination of heat and flavor; Endorphin Rush Beyond Hot Sauce was the next best thing to fire. The also-rans were Heat - Chipotle Slam and Gecko Gary's Thai Juan On.

I defer to Joe's judgement. I didn't taste any of them.