Sunday, April 6, 2014

NYC Hot Sauce Expo 2014 - 1

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NYC Hot Sauce Expo 2014
March 29 and 30, 2014
Penn Plaza Pavillion
Text and Photos: © Copyright, 2014, Two Frys,

Allen, Two Frys with Steve Seabury, High River Sauces and Expo King!
This year's NYC Hot Sauce Expo surpassed expectations. The expo brought out hordes of Chile-head and Hot Sauce aficionados, and hot sauce vendors from all over showcased their goods. Last year, the NYC Hot Sauce Expo was in Brooklyn but this year, the new locale was right in the heat of the city at Penn Plaza Pavilion, across the street from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. The location was great and adjacent to the Pennsylvania Hotel providing convenient room accommodations for fans and vendors. The location offered an easy access point for people in the five boroughs and New Jersey, as the subway and train connections were right across the street.

Spicy  Pizza Eating Contest 
Spicy Pizza Eating Contest
The NYC Hot Sauce Expo event was the place to be for heat lovers. Congrats to Steve Seabury and High River Sauces for making the expo possible, and bringing the heat level in all its forms so everyone could enjoy tasting and buying from a huge selection of products.

DEFCON Sauces Spicy Chicken Wing Eating Contest
Igor from Astoria, Queens, NY, winner of the DEFCON Sauces Spicy Chicken Wing Eating Contest
My wife Sophia and I attended the NYC Hot Sauce Expo on Saturday, March 29 and saw two competitions, the Spicy Pizza Eating Contest presented by I Love It Spicy and Volcanic Peppers with pizza courtesy of Grimaldi's, and the DEFCON Sauces Chicken Wing Eating Contest. We enjoyed watching the intensity of suffering looks on contestant faces from the fiery burn ripping inside as they swallowed pizza and chicken wings. Igor from Astoria, Queens prevailed (see photo), and took top honors for the trophy in the DEFCON Sauces Chicken Wing Eating Contest. The chicken wings and wing sauce were made by DEFCON the night before. These events were two of many scheduled today, on a stage in a large area in the back of the expo room. Both events were crowded, and it took a bit of navigation skills to see it all.

Karma Sauce
Deception Salsa
There were over forty hot sauce vendors, food vendors as well as bars with water, drinks, booze, etc. The event was well organized and the layout good, featuring several rooms that opened up into a large area. I saw some of my local old friends like High River Sauces, Heartbreaking Dawns, Bonfatto's, Torchbearer Sauces, Jordan Brenners Waa Cha, Karma Sauce and more. Between Sophia and me, we visited as many of the booths we could, and did a ton of tasting from Wimpy to Extreme heat levels. A lot of vendors from last year were back like Puckerbutt, Big Fat's, CaJohn's, all slinging their sauces and showcasing new flavors.

Saint Lucifer
I also met a lot of my online friends and cohorts from companies Sweet Heat Gourmet, Gemini Crow, Voodoo Sauces, Hoboken Eddie's, Hellfire Hot Sauce, Lucky Dog Hot Sauce, and Grinders, which I have been a fan for some time. It was great tasting so many sauces and meeting these folks for the first time, face to face. This expo provides a great networking aspect for us food bloggers and shoppers alike, and it is great to be part of this Chile-head community. I also met an online friend from the UK and the Clifton Chili Club, Chili Dave.

Allen, Two Frys and Doug Spiros, Peppers And More
Allen, Two Frys with Carline Phanor, Men Pa'w Sauces
Some highlights were meeting my friend Chip Hearn from and talking shop a few minutes. It was great to meet Carline Phanor of the Florida based company, Men Pa'w Sauces. I was thrilled to see my bud Johnny McLaughlin from Heartbreaking Dawn's again, a big #1 fave sauce of our blog. I enjoyed spending a few quality minutes with John the Creator, my friend from DEFCON Sauces, Hellfire Hot Sauce maestro Merle, talking to Steve Seabury (event promoter and High River Sauces king) and meeting Thom from VooDoo Chile for the first time and buying PORCUS directly from the man himself. I have my eye on some of VooDoo Chile's sauces for upcoming reviews and recipes on Two Frys.

Allen, Two Frys
Sophia, Two Frys
One of the highlights was spending time all afternoon, on and off with my pal Doug Spiros from Peppers and More from over the river in NJ. I am a member of this online group, and the Hot Sauce Group for some time now, and it was an honor to meet and converse with this local Chile-head. 

I started the expo with my friend John Dilley, President and Creator of DEFCON Sauces. Based in New Jersey, DEFCON had a large selection of award-winning sauces, horseradish habanero spreads, and other very hot rubs and seasonings. 

Allen, Two Frys with John Dilley, DEFCON Sauces Creator
DEFCON Sauces new Contaminated Soil and other goodies
DEFCON Sauces products
We purchased the new item premiered at the expo by DEFCON creators, Contaminated Soil. As John put it, Contaminated Soil blend is a New Jersey product; an exquisite blend of natures abominations. This powdery blend contains habanero, bird pepper, Trinidad scorpion, ancho's, cayenne, naga jolokia, chipotle, jalapeño, hickory and other powdered peppers and flavors. I tasted Contaminated Soil on popcorn, and it was good and spicy. I am looking forward to cooking with it and posting a recipe soon.

DEFCON Sauces Wing Sauce products
DEFCON Sauces Contaminated Soil
DEFCON Sauces Deathmatch Mark IV Cluckwing Orange and Habby Pony Mild Habanero Horseradish
Bonfatto's Wing Sauce & Marinade
I was pleased to see PA based Bonfatto's Wing Sauce & Marinade at the expo. We have been fans since the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival some years ago. Bonfatto's offer a large line of wing sauces and marinades, all diverse in flavors, and available in different heat levels. I purchased one of their hotter sauces, the Apocalips Sweet Habanero Hellfire Sauce, and it was real smooth and flavorful. 

Apocalips Sweet Habanero Hellfire Sauce
Also, recommended is Bonfatto's Hawaiian BBQ, one of our blog faves that we cooked with before. New to the company are Bonfatto's Spice Cream with chili peppers, and the Sweet Peachy Heat Wave Sophia tasted was amazing and said, "It was spicy, hot, sweet".

Varieties of Bonfatto's Wing Sauce & Marinade 
Bonfatto's Gooney B Sweet N Sassy BBQ Sauce
Red Hawk Premium Peppers
It was nice meeting Red Hawk's Dan Lowenstein and his wife at the expo. I have been following them on Facebook for some time and was happy to do tastings of their sauces. 

Red Hawk Premium Peppers
Dan Lowenstein and his wife, Red Hawk Premium Peppers
Red Hawk Premium Peppers, Grounds for Divorce Hot Garlic Sauce
I found one of the top garlic based hot sauces I have had to date, Red Hawk's Grounds for Divorce. Red Hawk has done great and hit the nail on the head with this garlic sauce. Some other folks with garlic sauces have not been able to get it right. Red Hawk offers an impressive line of hot sauces, spreads, rubs and fiery condiments.

Red Hawk Premium Peppers
Red Hawk Premium Peppers
Race City Sauce Works
Based in North Carolina, Race City Sauce Works is another company I have been following on Facebook. I was glad to do tastings with Race City as they have an impressive selection of sauces. I really liked and bought a woozy bottle of Smoked Habanero Honey Mustard and cannot wait to make a recipe with it.

Race City Sauce Works
Race City Sauce Works
Owen G. Willikers' Chocolaty Chile Elixirs
Sophia went nuts over Owen G. Willikers' Chocolaty Chile Elixirs and loved the creamy, rich taste of the Salted Caramel & White Chocolate Formula made with dried fresh chiles. The elixirs are perfect for adding to cocktails, coffee, milk and drizzling over desserts.

Owen G. Willikers' Chocolaty Chile Elixirs
Owen G. Willikers' Chocolaty Chile Elixirs
The MURPH'S Famous Bloody Mary Mix
It was awesome speaking to Stephen Murphy about his newer The Murph's Hot & Spicy Famous Blood Mary Mix. I tasted The Murph's Famous Bloody Mary Mix before and was looking forward to tasting the spicy mix. It was flavorful and the best mix I have had to date. This is a very hearty mix containing cayenne pepper sauce, horseradish and many other great spices. The Murph treated us to a bottle of the Hot & Spicy to use for the blog.

Stephen Murphy, The MURPHS Famous Bloody Mary Mix
The MURPH'S Famous Bloody Mary Mix
-Allen and Sophia/Two Frys

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