Last night was an adventure into the darker side of the human palate. No, the five of us did not explore the wonders of cannibalism, and we even managed to steer clear of many of the foods that would fall under the old Chinese adage, "If its back faces the sun, it is surely a delicacy." (Yeah, think about that for a moment.)
Instead, we attended Hell Night, a periodic gastronomical challenge issued by the East Coast Grill to its reportedly pepper-starved public. They serve up a crazy-go-nuts menu with enough scovilles to make the most hardened afficionado See Through Time. To tell the truth, given the write-up for the evening and the cautious excitement I read on the faces of my companions, I was a little intimidated going into the evening. This is my story.
Satan's Bloody Hell Oyster Shooter (6 bombs): My first glance at the menu had me wondering if I hadn't gotten myself into a bit of trouble. I mean, I had gotten some bread and milk into my system beforehand in preparation for the assault, but I realized I had psyched myself out a little. Eric had been talking about this for most of the week, and it seemed like as good a place to begin as any. At six bombs, it wasn't the spiciest item on the menu, but it would give me a good idea of what would be upcoming. Presentation was simple - a single raw oyster on half-shell served with a tumbler of "Deadly Tomato Juice." Besides a huge helping of horseradish, I really don't know what was in there. It was super tasty and the burn lingered on my lips and at the back of my throat. As I sat with that, I decided I was going to be alright.
The Infamous PASTA FROM HELL (7 bombs): Hector was the only one who ordered this, and he was good enough to let the rest of us try it. For the record, this was probably the hottest thing I've ever tasted, eclipsing even the super-hot vindaloo I got in London. What was surprising was that it managed to keep a lot of flavor in spite of the heat. After a bite of the pasta and a hunk of sausage, I decided it was enough and contemplated the burn that wrapped my tongue on all sides as I watched Hector put away 4-5 huge mouthfuls of the stuff.
The Jamaican Connection (5 bombs): A half dozen oysters served with a Jamaican-style sausage made with Scotch Bonnet peppers. After the Shooter and the Pasta From Hell, I barely noticed the heat in this. The sausage was very tasty, and probably somewhere in the realm of the infamous Not-Really-From-Arkansas Super-Hot sausage in burn. The oysters were cool and delicious.
Queso Fresco and Mango Stuffed Poblano Stuffed Chipotle Pepper (3 bombs): What I think of as mild peppers coupled with cheese and sweet mango. It was, quite simply, like a rich desert. It came with a side of pickled peppers (which I imagine were the same in The Ignition.) I nibbled at these a bit, but left most of them so as not to overwhelm the balance of the rest of the dish. The onions in this mix were delicious.
I didn't partake of any of the drinks, though I do know that at some point a Flaming Hole Bowl (which I kept hearing as "Flaming Hobo"), a Suffering Bastard, and some form of Bloody Mary each graced the table.
And since it was a question (especially for me), No. 9 Park is ON.