product review

I Shall Leave That Basement Burning, And Never Look Back.

piri-pirithis stuff (Macarico Piri Piri Molho) is a godsend, honestly. not too vinegary, very salty, and pleasantly hot. i don’t recall how exactly i stumbled upon it, but it is precisely what i’d been looking for in the vein of an Everyday Sauce – multipurpose, not too distinct a flavour as to limit its wide application, something like a Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot, but less watery and mediocre (no offense to the many lovers of the forementioned sauces, but they just don’t do it for me). it’s also very satisfyingly opaque and bright and bold, i guess in terms of flavour and colour, to the extent that taste and opacity can be intelligibly related. which i have just now decided they can, and intend to think in such terms as often as i can justify in the future.

piri piri is i guess the name used in Portugal and the ex-Portuguese colonies (Angola and Mozambique) for African bird’s eye chilis (to be distinguished from thai or Asian bird’s eye), which register in the 100, 000-350, 000 Scoville range. this is approximately the same as a scotch bonnet, but don’t expect scorching heat from this sauce, as it packs less of a punch than the average scotch bonnet sauce.

i’ve seen this one a couple of places, but first discovered it at the little condiment shop in the Jean Talon market, you know, the one on the…..east side, that sells the prepackaged pakora? no? anyway, it’s there, i can’t remember the name. if you’re in the dirty south, however, you can get a bottle for under 3 bucks at the little African market on Notre Dame just a little west of Greene street, the name of which i also can’t remember, but they’re tiny tiny and reasonably new. south side of the street, easy to miss, next to an equally tiny sushi shop.

in other news, i just started reading Eat, Memory, attracted by the double whammyeat-memory2 of food and Nabokov allusion, and so far it’s a lot of fun. it’s inspired me to look into Julia Child’s memoir and Dan Barber’s piece has very indirectly gotten me interested in the potential (for disaster or delight) of pureed sweet potato and white chocolate. indirectly by way of his being about carrots and blanched almonds and that sparking some orange-and-white speculative slip in my brain. appropriately mildly synesthetic (synaesthetic?) for something from a nabokov-referencing book, no? anyway. sweet potato and white chocolate. orange and white. we shall see, we shall see.

also, how fucking good is Public Enemy’s “Yo, Bum Rush the Show”? totally fucking good, that’s how.


5 thoughts on “I Shall Leave That Basement Burning, And Never Look Back.

  1. hi jonah!

    if you’re ever in toronto, there’s a portuguese restaurant right next to my sister’s apt actually called “piri piri” which is apparently pretty good. they probably have a great homemade hot sauce, too. sadly we never went before we came out east.

    also, there’s this trinidadian restaurant in hamilton called ya man! that makes the best kuchela i have ever tasted. not like you’re really in the neighbour, but still. if you are, you should totally go, and get the bittermelon casserole.

    that is all. take care!

  2. Hannah Mae says:

    Food writing: MFK Fisher, if you haven’t already. Also, the New Yorker book of food essays (title something almost like that) has its excellent moments.

    Also: DIY chili sauce! This week’s batch – admittedly more of a chili oil – had bird’s eye chilis, caramelized scallions, great hunks of ginger and assorted seeds, simmered for a long time in toasted sesame oil. Recommended.

  3. stillcrapulent says:

    that chili sauce sounds delicious! i made a bottle of chili oil (just straight chili flakes, star anise and vegetable oil), but it turned out a little unsatisfactory. i think i let the oil get too hot as i was cooking it, and it tastes a little…..used.

    i was on a pretty serious kick earlier this year of making hot sauces, but there was always this aftertaste that i couldn’t identify and couldn’t seem to get rid of. it was latent seemingly no matter what kind of vinegar, pepper, or base i used. of late i’ve been a little too enthusiastic with my hot sauce purchases, so i’d laid of the diy. shame really, since it would have been handy to have a perfected recipe (to which i could attach the brand Under A Serpent Sauce) so that i could just give everyone hot sauce for christmas. homemade condiments are the unresentable, if unwanted christmas gift.

  4. stillcrapulent says:

    oh, but have you tired that Mado’s pepper sauce from…..House of Spice in kensington? girl you’ve got to tout that shit with some (more or less) hometown pride. hell, i’m just going to write about it.

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