Friday, June 23, 2006

DaBomb: The Final Answer

My friend and near-constant companion, Ilaiy, is moving to California. Rats. We've been steadfast buddies for a couple of years now (you met his mother, Rani, in an earlier post), and he lives down the street from me. We have gravitated towards dining together most nights; no sense in cooking for one in both houses.

Everyone in our lil' circle can verify that Ilaiy likes his food spicy. I mean HOT. He cooks nothing that doesn't have green chilies, thai chilis, dried red pepper, and red pepper powder in it. Not 1 of the 4—ALL FOUR. I've had to stand in the hallway of his apartment to catch my breath on more than one occasion. I'm pretty sure I've developed an immunity to pepper spray as a result of knowing him—hey! Let's find out!

When we eat out, "make it HOT" is a standard request, and more often than not, I cringe when he calls the poor waiter back, and politely tells them, "this isn't hot." They commence to finding pepper and oils and anything with lava in it, while he declares, "still not hot" until I get fed up and tell him to knock it off. "They've adjusted their cuisine for the midwestern palate, dahlink. Give 'em a break, it's as hot as they got."

A couple weeks ago, we trekked up to Chicago for some last minute shopping. After walking all day, I dragged him into Heaven on Seven for a bloody mary. He ordered coffee, we sat at the bar and split a bowl of gumbo.

Here's a pic of the owner of Heaven on Seven, Jimmy Bannos (that I nabbed from their website). Please note the number of bottles in the background. Those are hot sauces.

Our gumbo was served with a six-pack of sauces on the side. At Ilaiy's request, the bartender pointed out the hottest of the lot. Par for the course, Ilaiy called him back, "this isn't hot." "Great," I was thinking, "one billion bottles of sauce in this place, and Ilaiy is going to declare each and every one of them wussy-hot."

But no. The bartender, obviously thinking, "I'm going to shut thus mo-fo up" pulled a secret weapon from wizard-y, apothecary-esque case. A little black bottle. When he removed the lid it POOF'ed, and a red cloud flew over our heads. "THIS is hot," he told Ilaiy. I like hot sauce myself, but even I knew to pass on this one. Be afraid, be very afraid.

He gave Ilaiy a coffee stirrer and a few saltine crackers, warning him not to screw up our gumbo until he tasted it. Ilaiy laughed: HA! He used the stick to spread the black—yes! black!—tarlike sauce across a cracker and moved to pop it in his mouth. The bartender caught his wrist, "No." He opened another cracker, touched the tip of it onto the cracker Ilaiy had prepared. "Now."

Ilaiy ate the second cracker.

He shrugged.

"Not hot." he said. Proudly, I think.

The bartender smiled.

We waited.

Ilaiy's next question was "Can I get a glass of water?"

And then, "this IS hot, oh, it is!" Glug, glug, glug, glasses of water were being down one after another. He was out of his freakin mind trying to dissipate the heat. He poured every packet of sugar down his throat. He pulled off his glasses and wiped his eyes. Sweat poured down his face, and he proclaimed his tongue completely numb, and a hole burned through his cheek where he'd accidentally touched the hot sauce to his face.

I present to you: The Hot Sauce That Put Ilaiy Under The Table:

I did some research on The Final Answer.

First of all, the heat in a pepper is measured by "Scoville Units," a scale developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. According to,

The original Scoville test asked a panel of tasters to state when an increasingly dilute solution of the pepper no longer burned the mouth. Roughly one part per million of chilli 'heat' rates as 1.5 Scoville units.
Whatever. Here's a more comprehensive comparison:

A jalapeño pepper has 5000 scoville units.

A habañero, the hottest available pepper, has 300,000 scoville units.

DaBomb: The Final Answer has 1,500,000 scoville unites.

The recipes advise using one drop off of a toothpick to flaver an entire meal. 2 ounces of the stuff will run you about $40. I calculated that to be $2560.00/gallon.

That's a lot of money for a food product in which "Danger" and "Warning" are words used in the advertisement. No wonder they named the stuff after "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" They will be, after selling 400 gallons.

In the end, we didn't buy it. We left the restaurant with Ilaiy still sweating buckets, and exclaiming "That was great!" as if he'd just gone bungee-jumping.

He won't admit it, but I suspect the real Final Answer hit him the next morning.


  1. Was an amazing feeling after an hour.. You never know where life would take you. Enjo'd each and every instance of life. Try "The Final Answer" when you can.

    The next day morning was not as bad I guess it was just a couple of drops ..

    Gifted am I to get friends like you. I would miss all of you so much more than words can say .

    Lov you all.. All of you would always be in my heart ..


  2. Someday I may get up the nerve to try this stuff...

    We will miss our Ilaiy, too! And always cherish the memories...

  3. LOL!!!

    Great story...I have friends JUST like that and they would rather scorch their insides rather than admit they'd been bested.

  4. Gumbo and hot sauce! That's my kind of restaurant.

  5. Oh, man! I can so relate to this one! Ilaiy, I bow to you.

    On my 2nd date with Andrew, we went out for Thai food. Andrew, ever the foodie, asked me if I like spicy food. I said yes. (I thought he meant spicy, not stupid)...

    Anyway, he ordered the food Thai hot. I took a bite and couldn't speak for minutes. I seriously thought I might die. It's a joke to this day.

    So Ilaiy, you are a better man than I. And you'd better come back and visit Lori. Or else.

  6. You guys should all get a bottle of "the final answer" just in case Ilay ever says "It's not hot enough" for anything :)

    It's sad that you are losing a friend. It's not easy to find friends. But may be we Californians can convince you and Momo to move to California :)

  7. LOL, yes as i was reading of his burnt mouth i kept thinking, 'if it burns that bad going in, it's gonna be a bugger coming out.'

    there's s ome killer homemade stuff in trinidad too, i wonder how it ranks.

  8. Maybe Ilaiy could take over Frank's job as The Curry Taster.

  9. Your storytelling is wonderful. I felt myself tensing up with anxious excitement as the obvious conclusion revealed itself.

    As for the post below, my best to your mother..and to her daughter, of course.

  10. The notes are from an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast:


    "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking directions to the Budweiser truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, So I accepted".

    Here are the scorecards from the event:

    Chili # 1 "Mike's Maniac Mobster Monster Chili"

    Judge # 1:

    A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.

    Judge # 2:

    Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild

    Judge # 3 (Frank):

    Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

    Chili # 2 "Arthur's Afterburner Chili"

    Judge # 1:

    Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.

    Judge # 2:

    Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

    Judge # 3:

    Keep this out of the reach off children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

    Chili # 3 "Fred's Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili"

    Judge # 1:

    Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick. Needs more beans.

    Judge # 2:

    A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers

    Judge # 3:

    Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all of the beer.

    Chili # 4 "Bubba's Black Magic"

    Judge # 1:

    Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

    Judge # 2:

    Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

    Judge # 3:

    I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out tastebuds? Sally, the barmaid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. That 300-lb. bitch is starting to look HOT - just like this nuclear waste I'm eating. Is chili an aphrodisiac?

    Chili # 5 "Linda's Legal Lip Remover"

    Judge # 1:

    Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

    Judge # 2:

    Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

    Judge # 3:

    My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw those rednecks.

    Chili # 6 "Vera's Very Vegetarian Variety"

    Judge # 1:

    Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.

    Judge # 2:

    The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.

    Judge #3:

    My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I shit myself when I farted and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that slut Sally. She must be kinkier than I thought. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone.

    Chili # 7 "Susan's Screaming Sensation Chili"

    Judge # 1:

    A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

    Judge # 2:

    Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should take note that I am worried about Judge # 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.

    Judge # 3:

    You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava like shit to match my shirt At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing, its too painful. Screw it, I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

    Chili #8 "Tommy's Toe-Nail Curling Chili"

    Judge # 1:

    The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.

    Judge # 2:

    This final entry is a good, balance chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge # 3 passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor dude, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili.

  11. Yikes! Can't you hear him tell it in his new city. "This one time, with my best friend in Chicago...."

  12. Ilaiy: I'll pass on The Final Answer. That's my final answer.

    Momo: Octopus, ceviche, AND The final answer? You really are ready for Fear Factor!

    Tai: I like it hot, but I knew enough to wave a white flag with this stuff.

    Laurie: Meeee toooo!!! The bloody mary was pretty good too...but not hot beans. :-(

    Wendy: I laughed at "I thought he meant spicy, not stupid." Ilaiy's served up a few things that actually caused me to feel anger...not at him, just pissed off in general...I think an involuntary defense to sudden pain. Had to pass on those dishes...and monitor the chili from then on...(pull them back out of the pan...)

    Dogbait: I'll send him over there.

    ChezBez: Thank you. And thank you again. Ya sweetie.

    Wil: Hilarious! I think this guy could have summed up Ilaiy's steaming head better than I did! Thanks!

    Jodie: If the hot sauce makes the top 10 of his stories, I'm really up there; he's got a million of them.

  13. OK whose blog is this anyways? --- WILL!!! hahaha.

    I always think it isn't any 'good' as hot sauce if I don't tear up or sweat.


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