A visit to the Prince of Wales Pub in San Mateo was long overdue. I wanted to see if I could handle another flaming hot Habanero Hamburger, which is supposed to be the "New Century's Hottest." I was smug and proud of my past accomplishment, but started to have doubts as I waited in line to order. We were going on a road trip to Tahoe the next day, and I didn't want to have stomach issues. Also, how romantic could it get in the bedroom, if I was groaning and running to the loo the whole time?
I pointed to the handwritten menu and said to my friends, "Ah, maybe I'll just get that one? It has jalapenos and pepper jack. That could be hot."
Erica had little patience, "What? We came all this way! We have cell phones to take pictures with."
Carrie and Kristine piped in with, "And that sandwich is chicken. No! You need the habanero burger."
OK then. The bartender asked if I knew how hot the burger was. "Oh yeah. I've had one before," I said.
"Good. Oh, so you know, then."
The bar bell rang. A call of "Habenero burger for Mary! Mary..." went out.
My eating strategy was to eat the onion rings first. I wouldn't be able to taste them about halfway through the burger, and it'd be good to have something to line my stomach. I took off the lettuce leaves, because they were limp and kept getting in my way.
Two of our group were guys, and they seemed in awe and curious about how hot the burger was. I offered a taste. Tasan went first. He is a big athletic guy. He took a bite and his face got red. He grabbed some onion rings to help. His wife Erica said, "She said yes to sharing the burger, not the rings."
And he sheepishly said, "Oh, sorry." A few minutes later, he was talking about the heat. His face was covered in sweat-especially his nose.
Channing was next. "Wow. It gets worse," he said. He had the sweats later, too, but T's were much worse.
The gals wondered, "How is it?" when I was half way through. My eyes were tearing and I kept drinking Blue Moon beer (which isn't the best idea-milk would be a better choice but it was a pub after all, not preschool!).
I said, "Hmm. I can't really taste it anymore. It's that hot."
Carrie made a good point about wanting to be able to taste the food. However, the Habanero Burger is in a class of its own. It's a full experience-the sweats, tears, and later stomach and butt disturbances. Swallowing down a habanero hamburger is like finishing a great adventure, proving a lack of wimpiness. I'd do it again.