Sunday, May 24, 2015

Smashburger

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Allen's Bacon Cheeseburger

Sophia's Classic Smash
Smashburger opened in our neighborhood a few weeks ago and on Friday we we went there for burger night. I never had Smashburger before and I was quite pleased with the Certified Angus Beef burger and great taste.

Allen's Smash Fries

Sophia's French Fries
I ordered the big Classic Smash with american cheese, smash sauce, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions on an egg burn with large French Fries. The burger was juicy and the Angus taste, sublime. It was burger heaven for me. I love the french fries, which are thin cut with a little crispy bite and soft inside.

Allen's Bacon Cheeseburger with Smash Fries

Sophia's Classic Smash with French Fries
Allen ordered the big Bacon Cheeseburger with Applewood smoked bacon, american cheese, mustard, ketchup, pickles and onions on an egg bun. The bacon was superb and the burger juicy and full of that Angus beef taste us carnivores crave. Allen opted for the large Smash Fries with olive oil, rosemary and garlic and he loved them. I will try these fries next time. Allen said the Smash Fries were really yummy and could taste each of the ingredients.

Allen super excited to have Cholula on the table

Sophia's Classic Smash with lots of ketchup :)
I like that Smashburger have servers to clean the tables and our server was really attentive and more than once asked if we needed anything. Allen and I experienced great customer service and a manager even came up to us and told us about doing a survey online (info was printed on the receipt) and you get free fries on our next visit. We told him we would return next week and we will. Smashburger surpasses other fast food burger joints in Riverdale, and we appreciate having them in our neighborhood.

Smashburger interior of logo. 
For further information on Smashburger, please visit:
www.smashburger.com

-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Chipotle Mexican Grill

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Steak Burritos
Chipotle Mexican Grill opened up just a few weeks ago in our neighborhood. This is a great thing for us since we used to travel into Manhattan on movie night to eat there. Last week, we ate at Chipotle and ordered the same thing, steak burritos. Each of our burritos was packed with the following: cilantro-lime white rice, black beans, fresh tomato salsa (mild) and (hot) for Allen, and sour cream. Allen asked for the house hot sauce and he also added extra Tabasco Chipotle, so his burrito was super spicy.

Allen getting ready to add more hot sauce to his steak burrito
The ingredients are fresh, Non-GMO and everything tastes great. I smothered extra guacamole and salsa from our tortilla chips on my burrito. We also ordered freshly made tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole. Next time we go we will try something new. Our customer service experience was pleasant and the place was crowded. It is cool having Chipotle walking distance from where we live.

Tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole
For further information on Chipotle Mexican Grill, please visit:
www.chipotle.com

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, May 10, 2015

NYC Hot Sauce Expo 2015 Page 1

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High River Sauces Presents The 3rd Annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo
April 25 & 26, 2015
Brooklyn Expo - 79 Franklin Street - Brooklyn, NY

Sophia and I attended the NYC Hot Sauce Expo on Saturday, April 25, 2015. We arrived right when doors opened so we could get plenty of photographs without massive crowds in the way. It was a good thing we started early since the crowds flooded the Expo by late afternoon. The location was at the new Brooklyn Expo, which is accessible to mass transit but we came from Riverdale (Bronx, NY) and opted for a car service each way.

NYC Hot Sauce Expo VIP area grillin'
Allen Fry - Two Frys at Expo 2015
Sophia Fry - Two Frys at Expo 2015

Buffalo Wild Wings indoor booth
The Brooklyn Expo space was beautiful with an open and spacious layout that let in the natural light and there was ample room to get around between each row of hot sauce booths. There were many hot sauce vendors lined up for multiple rows, and we visited each one. The VIP area inside was set up with vendors offering craft beers, alcohol and extended outdoors to food and more vendors to those who purchased VIP passes or were on the VIP list. Sophia ate a burger, Kale salad, and potato salad from the outdoor VIP area and said everything tasted great, but her favorite was the Kale salad.

Indoor VIP area at 10:00 AM before the rush, LOL!
Sophia also bought Honey BBQ Wings from Buffalo Wild Wings and was chased by a bee shortly after. Adjacent to the outdoor VIP area, there were plenty of vendors as well. I did my share of hot sauce tasting, shopping, networking with my fellow Chilihead friends, and met new peeps as well. There were plenty “spicy” related events throughout the day: Bonfatto’s Spice Cream Ice Cream Competition, Grimaldi’s Pizza Eating Contest, Spicy Taco Eating Contest, B-Dub’s Blazin’ Challenge (Chicken Wings Competition) and award ceremonies: Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Screaming Mi Mi Awards.

Sophia enjoying her Buffalo Wild Wings

Inaugural Hot Sauce Hall of Fame 2015 Inductions were:



Chip Hearn (Peppers.com - “King of Wings”)
Dave DeWitt (Author and “Pope of Peppers”)
John Hard (Owner of CaJohn’s Hot Sauce)
Dave Hirschkop (Owner Dave’s Gourmet-Insanity)
Edmund McIlhenny (Created Tabasco 1860’s)

Congratulations!
For Screaming Mi Mi Award winners: see link at the end of the blog article.

A & B American Style Hot Sauce:

It was great to see local company A & B American Style again this year at the Expo. A & B had a nice selection of their sauces both original and new this year. Their carrot based Original Pepper Sauce is a must have for your pantry. Also available from A & B is their new Pepper Sauce with Garlic and a More Heat version of the Original Pepper Sauce. A & B products contain nothing artificial and no sugar as well. Also try NYC Rooftop Brooklyn Grange Edition Hot Sauce. This local company gets more and more popular every year and they have a nice and courteous staff. Their moniker “We’re about flavor. Not just heat.” is a great self explanation of their sauces.

A & B American Style Hot Sauce
Mild to Wild Pepper and Herb Company:

It was cool seeing our friends from Fort Wayne, IN Mild to Wild. They are the creators of many excellent sauces including the Patriotic Semper Fry (Red Savina Sauce) and Stupid Hot. Mild to Wild also has an impressive line of rubs and seasonings for your cooking and BBQ needs. I shall also mention they offer various tasty BBQ Sauces. Mild to Wild has some great hot sauces including extreme sauces like Hazmat, Fatality and Backdraft. Also try their new Ghost Garlic Sauce and Ralph's Righteous Habanero Sauce.

Mild to Wild Booth

 Horseshoe Brand:

Horseshoe Brand had a beautifully designed tasting carriage that looks very professional for events. The shelved booth offered a wide variety of Horseshoe’s flavorful hot sauces. The variety of hot sauce flavors they make is really great. Horseshoe Brand offer 6 or more sauces that are attractive to the mild to hot heat loving public. The heat seekers will love the XXXtra hot flavor as well as other varieties like Roasted Garlic Hot Sauce, Habanero Hot Sauce, Cajun Hot Sauce and Chipotle Hot Sauce to name a few. I was very impressed with their booth and carriage. Horseshoe Brand uses no pepper extracts and use only high quality peppers from around the world. Horseshoe Brand is locally hand-made in historic Rhinebeck, NY.

Horseshoe Brand

Silverleaf International:

Based out of Missouri City, TX the Silverleaf booth had a nice lineup of Salsas and Spicy pickled and infused items. Silverleaf make some of the finest Marinated Garlics I have ever seen. Silverleaf also makes a fine line of Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia) items like Ghost Pepper Salsa, Ghost Pepper Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and now a Ghost Pepper Salsa Verde. If you enjoy spicy marinated garlic, I recommend Silverleaf. You can make many foods and party snacks with their product line. The salsas will certainly be a hit with your chili head friends. Silverleaf also make a Scorpion Pepper Salsa. Silverleaf are a member of the “Go Texan” Organization for Texas made products.

Silverleaf International Booth
Silverleaf International Tasting
Silverleaf International garlics and much more...

Born to Hula:


It was great to see our local friends from Highlands, NJ Born To Hula. We are big fans of their Reaper of Sorrow and Smokin’ Pineapple Hot Sauces. We have cooked with or reviewed both of these sauces on our blog. They also have several other yummy tasting sauces from Mild to Super Hot. Although some of the sauces are hot, the whole line of Born to Hula is about great flavors. It was nice to speak to Ed Bucholtz again, and see his wife. We plan some future reviews of some of their other sauces.

Ed Bucholtz of Born To Hula and Allen Two Frys
Born To Hula Smokin' Pineapple
Born To Hula selection a great sauce line

NYC Hot Sauce Expo 2015 Page 2

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High River Sauces Presents The 3rd Annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo
April 25 & 26, 2015
Brooklyn Expo - 79 Franklin Street - Brooklyn, NY

Hoboken Eddies:

It was awesome seeing our buddy Hoboken Eddie (Chef Ed). Eddie is always a character and a pleasure to be with. We spent time hanging out with Chef Ed and talking shop. Eddie has a great line of sauces for all people’s needs from Mild to F/N Hot. All of Chef Ed’s sauces concentrate on mega flavor. His sauces are handmade with love. We talked about sauce, flavors and smoking peppers with Chef Ed. Ed is one of my fave local hot sauce friends and he loves his fans and customers. It shows in his interaction with the public and in his humor. Ed not only makes hot sauce, but also cooks at various events all over the place. I can recommend any of Ed’s flavorful sauces as they all shine. We have both cooked with Ed’s sauces on the blog and have had great successes. We hope to see Hoboken Eddie at more events this year if they are close enough to attend.

Chef Chris Santos with Hoboken Eddie and Allen Fry Two Frys

Hoboken Eddie Loves Ya!
Hoboken Eddies Booth
Hoboken Eddie talking sauce
Hoboken Eddie Decor

Rattler BBQ Sauce (Chef Chris Santos):

It was great meeting Chef Chris Santos, resident Judge on Food Network’s Chopped. We tried his new hot sauce, Rattler and purchased one. We chatted with Chris and Sophia took a photo of Chris with me. Throughout the day, we chatted here and there with Chef Santos. He was very friendly and talkative with his fans. He also mentioned he was looking forward to a Two Frys review of the sauce we purchased from him.

Chef  Chris Santos and Allen Two Frys
Chef Chris Santos created Rattler BBQ Sauce
The Chef Chris Santos "Chopping Block"

Dragon’s Blood Elixir Hot Sauce:

It was cool seeing Dragon’s Blood Elixir again this year. They had a nice variety of different hot sauces to sample and for sale. I personally thought the Avocado Hot Sauce was wonderful. Dragon’s Blood Elixir offers a good sized line of sauces of various heat ranges and tasty flavors.

Dragon’s Blood Elixir Hot Sauce Booth
Dragon’s Blood Elixir Hot Sauce nice flavors

High River Sauces:

It was great seeing Chris Caffery, as we are fans of his music going back to Savatage days. Sophia chatted about the new album he is recording and a new hot sauce in the works. The t-shirt designs were awesome and we both bought several different designs. Steve Seabury and High River are the driving force behind the NYC Hot Sauce Expo and have a wonderful staff and line of hot sauces, which are all great. Based in NY, High River makes some of our fave hot sauces like Tears of the Sun, Hellacious, and Rouge. Also try their Carolina Reaper (The Worlds Hottest Chili Pepper) Hot Sauce, Foo Mama Choo. High River creates a variety of sauces for every type of heat palate. Two Frys can recommend the whole line.

Chris Caffery from High River Sauces
High River Sauces Hot Sauce
High River Sauces Booth
High River Sauces T-shirts and Expo T-shirts

Heartbreaking Dawns:

We had a wonderful visit with Chef Johnny and his wife and cute as heck daughter this year. NJ based Heartbreaking Dawns was one of the first local hot sauce companies we networked with in the early stages of our spicy sauce and food reviews. Johnny has been a friend for several years now and we make an effort to go see him when he does events close to the city. Heartbreaking Dawns (HBD) has some of our most favorite sauces out there. From Allen’s favorite, the milder Classic Gold to the hotter Reaper Sauce we use for roasted veggies. With HBD you know even with the extreme heat sauces, flavor is in the frontline then comes the burn. As Allen says, flavor is key.

Chef Johnny HBD and Allen Two Frys
Heartbreaking Dawns Booth, we both love HBD sauces big time

 Bronx Baking Co. Pretzels:

Bronx Baking Co. had a booth selling their yummy Pretzels. Allen spoke to them about ordering some Bacon wrapped pretzels. The friendly and informative staff told him about where they are made in the borough and who to contact to place and pick up an order. This is great because they are local to us as we live in the Bronx. These pretzels are way better than the soft pretzels vendors sell all over NYC. I plan to do more on our blog with Bronx Baking Co. in the future.

Bronx Baking Co. Booth, soft pretzels go great with hot sauce

 World Famous Hot Sauce:

World Famous Hot Sauce was in attendance and the booth had a cool nautical theme. This matched their branding and was definitely impressive. We are looking forward to cooking or making some party snacks with World Famous soon. 

World Famous Hot Sauce had a cool Nautical themed booth

Queen Majesty Hot Sauce:

Brooklyn, NY based Queen Majesty Hot Sauce currently offer 2 products: JalapeƱo Tequila & Lime Hot Sauce, which was recently featured on Two Frys and Scotch Bonnet & Ginger Hot Sauce. Allen enjoyed the Scotch Bonnet & Ginger Hot Sauce and loved how the ginger complimented the heat of the Scotch Bonnet. It was nice to talk to them and we recently met them at a previous local event.

Queen Majesty Hot Sauce Booth
Queen Majesty Hot Sauce Scotch Bonnet and Ginger

NYC Hot Sauce Expo 2015 Page 3

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High River Sauces Presents The 3rd Annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo
April 25 & 26, 2015
Brooklyn Expo - 79 Franklin Street - Brooklyn, NY

Hellfire Hot Sauce:

It was awesome seeing Merle & Diana of Hellfire Sauces. We checked out the new additions to the Hellfire lineup. Allen purchased the new Private Reserve 2015 Hot Sauce and tried out the tasty new meat sticks that have Carolina Reaper Peppers in them. They were good and smoky, and you could taste the distinct flavor of the Reaper Peppers. Hellfire makes great extreme sauces and limited edition collector bottles of handmade ceramic that are beautiful works of art. Hellfire had a booth that was very impressive and had a lot of cool swag. I noticed when I got home they included a Hellfire Sauces ink pen in the bag with the sauce I purchased. Extreme heat lovers should definitely check out this great company from Lake Geneva, WI. We thank Merle and Diana for doing an advance vendor interview for this year’s Expo.

Merle of Hellfire
Hellfire Booth is rockin'
Hellfire has hot stuff try if you dare, LOL!
Hellfire's Diana and fellow staffer

Bigfat’s Hot Sauce:

It is always cool seeing Jeremy and his wife. From Niles, IL Bigfat’s Hot Sauce had an organized booth with a variety of flavors of their great hot sauces. The lineup Bigfat’s has something for everyone. You can find a line of around 12 sauces on their website. Some of the flavors are Chipotle, Garlic and Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) sauces. All are flavorful they run the line from mild to hot. It was great to see them slinging sauce again here in NYC. 

Bigfat’s Hot Sauce Banner, "They got your number"!
Bigfat’s Hot Sauce Booth

Gemini Crow Hot Sauce:

We had a great visit with our friend, Dov Teta, owner of Gemini Crow Hot Sauce. Dov has a new sauce we purchased called “Jack the Reaper”, made with Carolina Reaper Peppers. We are big fans of his Blackberry Belle Hot Sauce, as it is sweet and hot. Blackberry Belle can be used to make some of the tastiest chicken wings ever. We spoke to Dev about his sauces as well as the various events he does with Gemini Crow. Some of the events Dov does is a table/tasting at the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market, and some Horror film conventions. Dov was kind enough to be one of the Interviewees on Two Frys set of advance NYC Hot Sauce Expo 17 question vendor interviews.

Dov Teta, owner of Gemini Crow Hot Sauce
Dov Teta of Gemini Crow and Allen Two Frys
Booth for Gemini Crow Hot Sauce
Dov Teta humor at Gemini Crow Hot Sauce Booth

Deception Salsa:

Deception Salsa had an impressive lineup of their salsas available for tasting and purchase. Deception Salsa has been to NYC before and they offer from Mild to Wickedly Hot. The salsa line goes from Girly Girl to Wickedly Hot. I also like the fact that some of the sauces come in larger size mugs with lids. Deception Salsa also makes Oink Spicy Bacon Salsa that we plan to cover on Two Frys in the future.

Deception Salsa Booth
Deception Salsa Oink Bacon Salsa in mug
Deception Salsas Oink Spicy Bacon Salsa

Whitehouse Station:

Whitehouse Station had a booth with all their sauces on display and for tasting. Based in Hunterdon County, NJ Whitehouse Station Hot Sauce is the brainchild of Jon Kasper, a culinary graduate. We met them before and it was great to see them again. We would like to review their products in the near future. Their booth was very busy. We liked the wooden boxes with packing material display.

Whitehouse Station staff
Whitehouse Station nice display

Culley’s:

From Auckland, New Zealand Culley’s had an impressive booth showcasing the line of hot sauces they make. I briefly spoke to one of the employees about the sauce and flavors. Culley's established in 1975, came a really long way for the Expo. It was great to see them and take a look at their products. I hope to see more of them in the USA in the future.

Culley’s Booth
Culley’s nice layout
Culley’s friendly staffer

Chile Pepper Magazine:

Chile Pepper Magazine is definitely Allen’s favorite magazine on the planet, and we were thrilled they had a table at the Expo this year. They had free Chile Pepper beads for all with the magazine logo. Allen purchased a great baseball hat for only 5 bucks, and a Chili Pepper Logo shopping bag. The booth had an impressive selection of back issues at a budget price. Each issue of Chile Pepper Magazine is like a cookbook. If you’re into spicy cooking and hot peppers, be sure and subscribe to this wonderful magazine. The recipes range from low heat to extreme, so they cover a lot of bases and have something for everyone. Chile Pepper has been one of the sponsors of the Expo every year since it started. The VIP bags included an issue of the magazine and a special V.I.P. one year subscription coupon. Chile Pepper Magazine is always a great read and recommended by Two Frys. It was awesome meeting the friendly staff members in person this year.

Chile Pepper Magazine Booth
Chile Pepper Magazine had lots of great back issues too
Chile Pepper Magazine Hat Allen purchased, nice and embroidered too 

Peppers.com:

It is always awesome seeing my pal Chip “King of Wings” Hearn at the Expos in NYC. We had a great chat with Chip, Chip’s daughter, Rachael, and the rest of their staff. They had brought some exclusive Peppers.com Zombie Bomb hot sauce with them just for me. I was thrilled, and also got a hold of some Bronx Ghost Pepper Roadkill Hot Sauce. Peppers.com carries a large array of sauces both online and in their retail store in Lewes, DE. We are big fans of Peppers.com and of Chip. Chip was inducted at the Expo into the Hot Sauce Hall of Fame. We will be working with Peppers.com store and their products a lot in the future. The sauce in our V.I.P. bag was especially from Peppers.com. The bottle is the tasty Vidalia Onion and Peach Hot Sauce with a collector’s 2015 expo label. Peppers.com carries and keeps in stock more hot sauce than any other company in the USA we have met and dealt with. They also have a wonderful, helpful and friendly staff both online, on the phone and at events. Peppers.com has the World’s Largest Collection of Hot Sauces for sale so be sure to order from them. We love Peppers Blue Crab Original Salsa, it’s the bomb.

My buddy Chip Hearn from Peppers.com and Allen Two Frys

Our friends the Peppers.com staffers 
Peppers.com colorful display 
Peppers.com great sauces for sale at the Expo
Peppers.com Booth with a name like this its gotta be hot, LOL!
Peppers.com has some truly hilarious bottled hot sauce 
Picked up a Bronx Road Kill Ghost Pepper Sauce. Thanks, Peppers.com

Blair’s Sauces and Snacks:

Based in Highlands, NJ Blair’s Sauces and Snacks had a very colorful booth and it was the first time we have seen them at an event. Founded in 1989, Blair’s Sauces makes super extreme hot sauces with names like Salsa De La Muerte, Pure Death Sauce, Sudden Death Sauce, After Death Sauce, and Beyond Death Sauce. Lots of Blair's items come in coffin shaped boxes and have a skull keychain attached to the seal. Blair's also offers spicy snacks and a line of handmade hot sauces. It you want to burn someone up real good, get them a bottle of Blair's. The staff was very friendly and we loved the booth setup with lots of skulls. Blair's also makes serious collectors items perfect for hot sauce collectors. We have an interest in Blair’s and plan to do some future articles about their products.

Blair’s Sauces and Snacks
Blair’s Sauces and Snacks, Death Sauce Zone
Blair’s Sauces and Snacks handmade hot sauces
Blair’s Sauces and Snacks Coffin Boxes LOL!

Volcanic Peppers:

From Bellevue, NE Volcanic Peppers has an impressive line of both sauces and seasonings. They also make tasty condiments. The Portuguese Sauce they make is amazingly creamy and spicy. Volcanic Peppers offers a line of pepper dusts and mixes from the hot peppers they grow. It is always good to see our friend Tim Bader, and have a chat when he comes to NYC. Volcanic Peppers also make a Red Reaper Hot Sauce as well as spicy Ketchup and Mustard. I thank Tim for doing an advance vendor interview for this year’s Expo. Get some LAVA Today!

Volcanic Peppers Booth
Volcanic Peppers Tim Bader and crew
Volcanic Peppers busy booth

Sweet Heat Gourmet:

It was great seeing Shellie and David Mierwald again manning their Sweet Heat Gourmet booth. We got Sweet Heat Gourmet Key Lime Pear Hot Sauce and look forward to reviewing it on Two Frys. Based in Spring Mills, PA Sweet Heat Gourmet is one of our favorite hot sauce companies. Some of our favorites include Red, White & Black Currant Awesome Sauce and Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce. Sweet Heat use locally sourced ingredients for their sauces and also emphasize flavor over just heat. The ingredients are thoughtfully put together and range in heat levels. You should definitely try Sweet Heat Gourmet products. You will love them as much as we do!

Our friends Shellie and David Mierwald of Sweet Heat Gourmet
Sweet Heat Gourmet Sauces we love the new labels