Friday night the Wharf Rat crew didn’t really have much to do. Wiley and Tracy were in Italy, Italianing it up. Buda was out reading in-flight magazines and chattin’ up Stewardi. So Me, Jenn, Brett, Bill, and Anna were left to our own devices. We wanted to do something and get out of the neighborhood for a change, so Jenn suggested that we go to this pizza joint over in Oakhurst called Avellino’s her friends had mentioned to her. “They got this really spicy pizza called the ‘Il Diavolo’ we should try out” she said.
So we all packed it up in her Jeep and I drove us over there, singing “Alone” at the top of our lungs. Brief aside: I always thought Heart was a decent band, but nothing special till I saw them play in concert a couple years back. Holy shit, they were incredible, minus the little bit of “Lilith Fair” there in the middle of the show.
Anyways, we get over there to the restaurant and order up some pitchers of beer. We decided the Il Diavolo was a bit too spicy for our collective tastes and settled on some sort of pizza with sausage, bacon, ham, all that, and then some other sort of pizza with these green things on it. I believe they call them vegetables. I don’t believe in them myself, but I’ve heard they’ll keep you regular.
While we were waiting for the pizzas, a chick comes out and realizes her car has a flat tire, so me and Bill help her change it. I’ve worked in a tire store pretty much my whole life, so this sort of thing is like second nature to me, but it always surprises me just how little people know about their cars. She had no idea where any of the stuff to change the tire was. I found and we managed to get the tire swapped out without the car falling off the jack. A feat unto itself considering we had to kick the wheel to get it to separate from the hub.
The pizzas came and we devoured them. They were friggin delicious! I highly recommend the joint. Throughout the meal, however, Jenn kept going on and on about these ridiculously hot peppers this place had. Ghost Peppers, they were called. “Whatever.” I thought. “I’ve eaten hot peppers.” Blah blah blah.
Just to see if Jenn would actually try one, I talked the waitress into bringing us some in a little dish. She obliged, and about 5 minutes later, we were presented with a little dish of what looked like decomposing mice.
I grabbed the one on top, threw it in my mouth, and started chomping. “Holy shit, dude!” seemed to be the general exclamation from the table. Jenn picked one up, smelled it a little, and took a little nibble off the end.
In the beginning, the biggest issue was that since the peppers were dried, I couldn’t get it to dissolve and go down my gullet. It just sat there while I tried to grind it in my teeth. Then the burning started…
At first it was manageable, like spicy chicken wings. Then it stepped into the realm of Habanero chicken wings, which I’ve done before. With those at least, your mouth goes numb after a bit and it just becomes an annoyance. Then came a whole new level which I never knew existed.
The sides of my tongue felt scalded and I swore my tongue was going to swell up far past the real estate limits of my mouth. Then my throat began to burn and on it went right down my chest. I downed the pint of beer I had in front of me, which did absolutely nothing except spread the burning deeper into my innards.
I began to feel queasy, so I got up and walked outside. Taking huge gulps of air seemed to be about the only respite I could get from the burning and fortunately, this help me keep from puking it all back up, just for it to burn on the way out.
When I went back inside, I was relieved to see that Jenn was hating life just as much as I was. The waiter had brought her a pint of whole milk which she was watering down with water. I took the milk in its purest form and drank it down, looking for the bit of relief it might provide.
After about 20 minutes, the burning returned to tolerable levels and I was able to drive us back home. My stomach, however, was not right for sometime following this incident and neither were my tastebuds. Nothing I ate on Saturday tasted right and even water tasted like those God-forsaken peppers.
I did a bit of research afterwards to see just exactly what it was I ate and was rewarded with this:
In 2007, Guinness World Records certified the Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) as the world’s hottest chili pepper, 401.5 times hotter than Tabasco Sauce.
It was the world’s hottest pepper up until 2010. I feel pretty good about myself right now