We made a timely check in and awoke to some immaculate September weather! In our t-shirts, we did all the Niagara things. Took pictures of the falls, visited the wax museum, rode the tram, checked out different restaurants and of course you have to swirl around at the bottom of the falls aboard the legendary vessel, The Maid of the Mist!
Sunday morning was game day and we were up and at it. No time to waste! We were traveling with a female among us so of course we had to be up way too early, wolf down a continental breakfast, cross the border, and first stop in Buffalo to wander the dreaded..........MALL!
Farewell tailgate party, so long convenient parking spot and hello shoes she'll never ever wear. I played along, I went, I dragged my feet like a sloth. Then I saw it. The most enormous island kiosk smack dab in the middle of the mall hallway. It was a hot sauce kiosk. I mean an enormous hot sauce kiosk! There must have been 500 to choose from!
Anyone who knows me would tell you that I have a fever for the sinus enhancing fruit. I'm pepper crazy! In all its varieties; Scotch bonnet, jalapeno, habenero, sweet, pickled, fat, slim, tall, short, red, yellow or green, peppers are my bag. I didn't know where to start.
The Gappetto like character manning the kiosk sent me on my merry way with 12 different pepper varieties and a complimentary bottle to make the bakers dozen. Sriracha Thai Chili Sauce by Huy Fong Foods Inc.
It was a nice haul, that grab bag of hot sauce from the U.S. of A. I enjoyed almost all of them for their distinct characteristics and ingredients. As much as I like heat, I won't compromise flavor for a Guinness World Record for Scoville heat units, diluted ingredients or heavy vinegar based product. Sriracha Thai Chili Sauce is the perfect balance of flavor and heat. Made with sun ripened chili's and garlic, it's a ground paste that contains no artificial colours or flavors. Packaged in a convenient squeeze bottle, this wonderful bright red sauce is stamped with a distinctive rooster logo.
I have found many uses for sriracha besides the traditional hot sauce delegations. It's a legit and versatile ingredient in my book. That's what's most notable for me. That's what puts Siracha Thai Chili Sauce on my top shelf.
Chili con carne
Shrimp cocktail sauce
Any tomato based creation and almost any protein
When my most prized bottle of all hot sauce bottles gasped it's last breath over a cauldron of home made chunky salsa, I visited almost every grocery store in Orillia. I called the ones I didn't by phone. Nobody I spoke with was familiar with the product. After inquiring with a number of whole sale food providers to no avail, I resorted to my 1994 dial up internet. No results for sriracha. I searched Huy Fong Foods Inc. and found a company in Los Angeles, California. I phoned to make my inquiries only to learn that they were a small, modest company that didn't sell their product in Canada. They agreed to ship me their product if I ordered at least a case. I did just that.
It took me nearly 18 months to deplete my supply of beloved rooster sauce. By then Huy Fong Foods Inc. was distributing in Canada. Today they're among industry leaders and their product can be found in almost all Canadian grocery stores. The rooster will always have its place in my refrigerator door.
I have since seen Sriracha Thai Chili Sauce used as an ingredient on Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen and even Iron Chef! Chefs don't use condiments in their dishes! That makes me particularly proud of my chance discovery and pursuit in 1994.
All and all it was memorable road trip with friends. We took in the Niagara attractions, witnessed a 10-6 Buffalo Bills drubbing from the highest of nose bleed sections. We met Dave Andreychuk, who had just enjoyed a couple of exciting playoff runs with the Toronto Maple Leafs. We paid a homeowner $30 to park on her lawn with 60 other vehicles that didn't get early bird parking spaces. We raced a kilometer to Rich Stadium and found our seats just in time to be a part of the opening kick off cheer. Good times!
All that aside, the highlight for me has to be that stop in Buffalo to wander that dreaded..........MALL and that wonderful island kiosk of spicy variety.