BOOK’S #FOODIE: El Yucateco Black Label Reserve Chili Habanero hot sauce (review)

 photo ElYucatecoBlack_label_zpsih4kkgei.jpg In the past I’ve tried different hot sauces before made by El Yucateco and the fact this was called a “Black Label Reserve” made me eager to want to try it. The price for this was a dollar or two more than their regular hot sauces, and their hot sauces are considered to be “budget” priced despite the fact the flavor on them have been great.

This Black Label Reserve Chili Habanero is called that because it is literally a black hot sauce, or a dark green, but I’m sure it’s a bit of both. I didn’t think of anything before I tried it but when I had it, I said to myself “are there people who will like this?” It tasted exactly like a burnt habanero, something you put on a grill or stove when you roast it. You burn the pepper and it becomes visibly crips. It tastes exactly like that and for my tastes, the burnt flavor was a bit too much.

I say this and yet I tried the bottle. I didn’t honestly struggle with it and it wasn’t horrible but I wanted to find a dish that would make it taste decent. Of course, it complimented everything in its own way but it isn’t something I’d want to buy again. I never knew burnt could be a flavor for something, I don’t know if burnt butter would sell at movie theaters or burnt corn on the cob would do well at farmer’s markets. As for the heat, it was nice but the flavor overwhelmed and it masked everything else. This one was a no go for me.

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BOOK’S FOODIE: Fletcher’s Sauce Co’s Gourmet Hot Sauce (review)

 photo Fletchers_label_zpsvl8x6apd.jpg This one was a hot sauce found at my local supermarket, it’s from a store (Yoke’s) that often has a good share of sauces I like, be it hot or BBQ sauce. This hot sauce was from the city of Mead, Washington that is north of Spokane, si I thought it would be great to try out this regional sauce.

It’s made by Fletcher’s Sauce Co., the mascot of which is a cowboy with a hat and his eyes not visible. He’s a slick cowboy so I thought hmmm, maybe this sauce will be as slick as the man in front. The label says it is a “gourmet” hot sauce and that I should “taste the difference. Perhaps the influx of different ingredients should have been some kind of clue, with things like sodium bisulfite, potassium sorbate, and tricalcium phosphate. Or that TOMATO JUICE (in all capital letters) was the third primary ingredient. It doesn’t even list what specific peppers they use, it just says “chili”. You mean with beans or without? Help me, folks.

Let me get to the point. I tried it and I wondered “where’s the heat?” There was a little bit of it there but it came off as if heat was not a factor. Those who may not like a hot of hot sauces or heat in their food would really like this but it came off like I was having a mild picante sauce. In fact, I tried it with a tortilla chip and it is suitable there but in terms of heat, it almost seemed more like a ketchup. Ina Garten is a chef who, in an episode of her TV show, said if you wanted something spicy, add ketchup and I said “wait a minute, ketchup is spicy?” If you think ketchup is spicy, maybe you’ll like Fletch’er’s Sauce Co’s hot sauce and nothing hotter. The company also makes barbeque sauce, three different varieites to choose from and I would think those would be quite good but as for their hot sauce, it’s more like lame sauce. In other words, it’s a nice and pleasant sauce but that’s it. Nothing more and nothing less, just “eh”.

For more information, click to FletchersSauceCo.com.

BOOK’S FOODIE: Honest Ember Mango Habanero hot sauce (review)

 photo HonestEmber_label_zpsgxmojp2k.jpg This hot sauce is from a company in Austin, Texas I had seen in a number of blogs and website and I had thought of wanting to try a mango hot sauce. This is when I chose to go for one made by Honest Ember. I may have had mango bread on my mind that week and said “hmmm, let me pick this mango hot sauce and test it out”, so that’s what I did.

It lists mango as its first ingredient and also has water, onion, vinegar, habanero peppers, garlic, and spices, so this was one I really looked forward to. I tried it and while the mango flavor is there, it didn’t last long and I wondered if that’s what I really wanted or desired. I loved how with Adoboloco’s pineapple, the pineapple flavor remains, or at least I knew I was having a pineapple hot sauce, I never forgot that and it made me want to have more. This one lost flavor and while the heat was very much there and remained, it is called a “mango habanero”, I wanted the mango flavor to stay with me and it didn’t happen. The heat, I had no issue with but I wanted more in the flavor department. I’d be more than happy to try other variations Honest Ember make but I’ll pass on the mango one again for the time again.

If you want to try it out for yourself, the Mango Habanero sauce can be ordered directly from here. For more information, head to HonestEmber.com.

BOOK’S FOODIE: Hot Winter Original (Medium Hot) sauce (review)

 photo HotWinter_label_zpsfhvlt1ax.jpg This was another brand of hot sauce I had seen a number of times while visiting Portland and decided this would be a good time to pick it up. The Hot Winter Hot Sauce company has been in service since 2009 and has been mentioned in articles and placed on best-of lists over the years, so I figured I’d have to try it. They do a nice number of variations but without getting too complicated, I decided to go basic with Hot Winter and try out their original.

The funny thing is when I bought it and brought it home, I said “hmmm, this has vinegar, I hope it’s not too strong.” I know some hot sauces do have vinegar but it had never been something that came to my mind before. When I tried it, the vinegar flavor is there but it’s present enough to where it doesn’t get in your face, metaphorically speaking. It blends in nicely with the hot winter peppers, along with the other ingredient, some of which are listed as organic. This was one that was nice with eggs, tacos, meats, and a number of other dishes I tried it on/with.

I’m slowly testing my limits on heat and Hot Winter also make one that is listed as “Very Hot” and another as “Extra Extra Hot”. Eventually I’ll get there. For now, try one that’s medium hot or even their mild (the Poblano variety), which I’d like to try the next time around.

Original (medium hot) can be ordered directly from here. You may find out more by heading to HotWinterHotSauce.com.

BOOK’S FOODIE: Adoboloco Pineapple hot sauce (review)

Adoboloco Pineapple photo AboboPineapple_label_zpsisisogy1.jpg For years, I’ve been wanting to try a hot sauce from Hawai’i called Adoboloco. I loved the name because it’s known that Filipinos love their chicken, especially their own chicken adobo. Nonetheless, I’ve been wanting to try one but never had the opportunity to order them, plus I didn’t get any as a free gift. However, a good friend from Oahu was nice enough to send me one and I had my first taste of Adoboloco and this was their pineapple variation.

I have been enjoying hot sauces with different fruits so I wasn’t sure how a pineapple hot sauce would be. I had read they use actual pineapples for this, not an extract or anything artificial so it was great that I had been given this. I tried it and woooo… this bugga is hot. I should say that on the meter on the Adoboloco bottle, it is listed as being between “Small Kine Spicy” and “Da Kine Stay Hot” so I at least knew (and hoped) it would be something I could handle. It is, but the heat kicks in immediately. It uses habanero peppers and also has apple cider vibera, sea salt, and garlic, but doesn’t taste too salty at all. I would say this fits in with any meal but if you’re someone that likes a lot of stews with pork, or savory dishes that feature pineapple, adding this will be a major plus. The pineapple flavor is very upfront but it is not overwhelming, it balances well with the peppers and in the end, I probably finished the bottle in about two days. I want to try this again but I would like to try Adoboloco’s other flavors too. In time.

To find out more about the company, head to Adoboloco.com. Their pineapple hot sauce can also be ordered directly from the company.

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BOOK’S FOODIE: Marshall’s Haute Sauce habañero Carrot Curry (review)

It has been a year since I last did a hot sauce review here at This Is Book’s Music. I knew I hadn’t done reviews in awhile but one year and a month? The last one I did was for Thai And True Sarachee Hot Sauce out of Portland. I’ve been saving bottles in the hopes to do more reviews again but as the bottles have been gathering, I realized I better do it now before the amount of bottles become overwhelming. In truth, it’s just six bottles but with it being the first day of summer of 2015, I figure it would be a good time to start it up again. Let’s begin.


Marshall's Haute Sauce photo MarshallsHaute_label_zps5iwqsfbp.jpg If you have been keeping track of my hot sauce reviews, you’ll know that I go to Portland on a regular basis, and I enjoy wanting to try out the different hot sauces from the city. I always see a brand who sell hot sauce in a cool small bottle called Marshall’s Hot Sauce but I never went out of my way to buy them. I eventually bought a bottle and I was quite happy with the results.

I enjoy the curry hot sauces I’ve bought and this habañero curry sauce variation had to be bought as my introduction to Marshall’s and it is great. The curry is very much present and the heat on this one isn’t one that’ll freak you out or make you burn your eyes out. If this one is as good as their other flavors, I look forward to trying them in the near future.

Marshall’s was started by Sarah Marshall and the sauce is nicely distributed throughout Portland and parts of the Pacific Northwest. Some of the other variations they make include Serrano Ginger Lemongrass and Red Chili Lime, you can buy them individually or as gift packs. They also make a hot barbeque sauce, something else that would be of interest. You can find out more about Marshall’s by heading to MarshallsHauteSauce.com.

BOOK’S FOODIE: Thai And True Sarachee Hot Sauce (review)

 photo ThaiTrueSarachee_label_zpsa5348c3b.jpg Thai And True are a company based out of Portland, Oregon that I found out a few years ago in Portland at the Whole Foods on SE Sandy Boulevard. At the time I was looking for different sauces unrelated to hot sauces and this was within the local section. I liked the fact that their brand of sriracha is called “Sarachee”, very clever. However, for a 9 ounce bottle that looks like something you’d expect to see ketchup in, I felt at the time that it was a bit too pricey ($7) for me to get. Yeah, I know, “$7 is pricey?” but when you’re watching money, you have to be careful. With that said, I did notice that Thai And True also made curry pastes and I bought the yellow paste instead. The next time I returned to Portland, I bought the red paste, always eyeing the Sarachee. As I started getting more interested in hot sauces, I always had the Sarachee in mind so when I returned this past February, I knew I had to buy it, and I did.

Another Portland hot sauce that is available in a similar styled plastic bottle is Secret Aardvark, which I haven’t had in a few years yet but will get some when I’m back in Portland again. I know some hot sauce folks tend to prefer the sauces to be stored in glass bottles over plastic, and while it wasn’t much of an issue, I had never tried the Sarachee before and I wasn’t going to put it back on the racks just because. Upon getting home, I tried a tablespoon of and Thai And True Sarachee definitely has a sriracha-style flavor and aroma to it, but not to where it comes off as a copy cat. It doesn’t say it on the label, but the company’s website states the Sarachee sauce is “GMO-free, gluten-free and vegan”. Ingredients are listed as “chili sauce (chili peppers, water, sugar, garlic, salt, vinegar), habanero puree, water, organic cane sugar, 100% freshly squeezed lime juice, vinegar, sea salt, garlic, and rice bran oil. With the habanero sauces I have been trying as of late, I looked forward to getting into this, even though I also knew it was a sriracha. Upon first taste, the heat is there and lingers quite nicely. I immediately wanted to try it with something so I placed some on a tortilla chip and it complimented it nicely. As I started trying it out on different foods, I also noticed that I started to single it out for the habaneros and subtle sweetness. The more I tried it, the more I found myself tasting it without the need for it being a sriracha, even though that taste is still there too. I think by doing so, you may find yourself wanting to try this on other dishes that you might not have thought of otherwise. Whatever dishes you regularly use your favorite sriracha sauces on, you’re going to find Thai And True’s version quite amazing. If the company made bigger bottles, I’d want to pick up a box. Everyone who likes sriracha will have their personal favorites, but this will definitely become mine.

(To find out more about Sarachee hot sauce, head to the Thai And True home page, where you’re able to order via PayPal. You may also order through Amazon.com below.)

(NOTE: This review comes unsolicited, I paid for this sauce and wrote this review without compensation.)

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BOOK’S FOODIE: Portland Pepper Sauce Fresanero Pepper Sauce (hot sauce review)

 photo PDXPepperFresanero_label_zps36a08c46.jpg This is another hot sauce I purchased during my recent visit to Portland, Oregon, one that I had seen mentioned in a number of reviews (including this one posted on my site) so it was one of the first I wanted to try. The company is called Portland Pepper Sauce Company, and they made a small handful of different varieties, including a Red Pepper Sauce utilizing Fresno peppers and a Green Pepper Sauce using jalapenos. I decided to choose over the perceived norms and go for the orange label which they call Fresanero, which merges both Fresno and habanero peppers. I’ve been in a habanero mood and decided that it would be the one to try out.

The company sells their varieties individually or as a set of three, but I went for the individual so I could try out other hot sauces. Immediately, the flavor on this one is very nice and the heat doesn’t kick in at first, allowing me to really taste the peppers. Distilled white vinegar is listed as the first ingredient but oddly enough, I didn’t find it to be the dominant flavor, or perhaps I was wanting to try the pepper first and not the vinegar. With that said, it did have the same consistency as a Tabasco hot sauce so if you’re into them, you may enjoy this. It also lists sea salt as an ingredient but it too is there but not strong, and with only 25mg of sodium for a teaspoon, it’s perfect for those who want a nice warmth but not something that will ruin the body. When I purchased this, I was looking for lower sodium simply to enjoy this more for the flavor than for the saltiness. By the time I came to the end of the bottle, I had been in the hospital for a few days when I had to go through a low sodium diet. This was not a problem but I wondered how hot sauce would affect me in any way. Fortunately, I was aware that there are a number of lower sodium hot sauces, and this one was perfect for meals. It perfectly compliments everything I tried it on without a problem. Portland Monthly magazine called this “velvety texture, nice build to a big kick…less fake-tasting than the original” but I didn’t find it to be fake at all, or at least I hadn’t tried the other versions. At first, I had let another review almost had an influence on how I tasted it but when I realized it wasn’t like that at all, I moved forward and continued my own conclusions.

I would like to try the other two varieties, along with two I hope to have in the future, Xtra Hot and Wenk’s Hot. As for the heat, again, if you’re a pepperhead ,this wasn’t super hot but if you are a fan of habanero hot sauces, you will enjoy this along with the Fresno peppers that stand out on its own.

(NOTE: This review comes unsolicited, I paid for this sauce and wrote this review without compensation.)

BOOK’S FOODIE: Sriracha (from PBS Food Buzz)


Sriracha is a good hot sauce but is it the world’s best hot sauce, specifically the one made by Huy Fong? I like it but I don’t think it’s the best, and Huy Fong definitely don’t make the best variety of sriracha? However, PBS Food Buzz thinks it’s the bee’s knees, or the pepper’s knees or whatever pepper’s have, and you can have a look at how the hot sauce has become a national and international sensation.

BOOK’S FOODIE: Hot Mama Salsa Habanero (hot sauce review)

 photo HotMamaSalsa_label_zps5216fec5.jpg Upon hanging out in Portland, Oregon this past February, I found myself within a number of local hot sauces, and I was prepared to obtain some. Last year I had heard of a brand called Hot Mama Salsa and true to their name, they make a wide range of salsas to choose from. They also make hot sauces as well so I wasn’t sure which one I would find. Fortunately, I found a habanero variety, and considering how I’ve been enjoying a few different habaneros as of late, I thought I would add it within the amount of what I had been getting.

The label states Hot Mama Salsa “uses fresh hand picked Oregon grown produce to recreate family recipes passed down through kitchens in Mexico and Arizona.” The front says it consists of chili peppers, carrots, onion, vinegar, garlic, salt, and spices. Outside of habanero pappers, it doesn’t state if there’s any other peppers but outside of it being “hand picked”, the legend in the front says it’s “hand made”, so that was good news for me.

Upon trying it out for the first time, I really liked the flavor. The vinegar is obvious but not too much, and so is the carrots, there’s a very nice flavor there and the coloring is distinct. However, after about five seconds, the heat kicks in and stays there. Again, I’m not a pepperhead but I’m someone who wants to get gradually hot with my sauces, and this one stayed hot big time. I’d add it with a burrito or a taco, and you have to be subtle with it or find it to burn up your mind. If you’re a pepperhead, I feel this will hit you quite nicely, not super hot but very hot for me and I loved it. It was good with everything from eggs to ham and cheese sandwiches and it even helped to give a boost to fried rice. Sometimes you’ll have to mix it with other certain dishes in other to weaken it slightly, such as eggs, and when that happens, you’ll get a stronger sense of the flavor that lasts.

The bottle was 10.5 ounces so you can’t get a small dosage. For the price, it is definitely worth your money, or at least it was worth my money and I want to try it again. I definitely want to try other varieties and their salsa too.

(HotMamaSalsaPDX.com only lists their salsas, as the hot sauces can be found in Portland and other regional areas. You may e-mail them for more information on how you may be able to order your own, or come into Portland.)

(NOTE: This review comes unsolicited, I paid for this sauce and wrote this review without compensation.)