How about we start by putting it this way: We had to drink an entire bottle of pepto just to end the hellish burn in our stomachs. One of us lost a contact after the first few bites at one of these places, we literally had sweat stains after another, and the hottest place… well, it was more like a spiritual experience than anything else. Every one of these places is deserving of this list, but only one can be crowned the hottest in the city. We went ahead and ranked them in order from the most mellow to the absolute singe-off-your-eyebrows-hot,so you can prepare yourselves. If you even dare to try the hottest ones, that is…
1. The “Wild” Wings – Crossroads
How spicy were they? Actually, not spicy at all. That’s not to take away from the fact that they were actually some amazing boneless wings, but they’re definitely not going to leave you begging for mercy. This one may be for the more timid of those going for something a little spicier, but they’re always going to be tasty if dipped in their perfect ranch dressing.
The Perfect Pair:
You definitely have to grab their Tangerine Wheat Beer while it’s available. It goes perfectly with the wings, sitting on their open-air patio on a perfect day and watching a Reds game on one of their giant TVs. Yeah, it’s pretty heavenly.
So, okay, it’s not going to make you feel like you just ate something that would make the devil cry, but it’s some damn good chicken. Crossroads has been around for seventeen years, and a lot of it has to do with their wings. They realize this, and only wanted to add subtle spices instead of killing your tastebuds. Obviously it’s working for them, because only six wasn’t enough. Our intensity ranking: 1.5 out of 5.
2. The Godzilla Burger – Habit’s Cafe
It looked intimidating… the melty pepperjack seemed to glare at us, the spicy onion straws themselves even seemed to be hissing with heat. It was to our surprise, however, when we bit down into something that was a little more uniquely delicious than it was spicy. Were we disappointed, though? Not in the slightest. The high-quality meat, which comes from right down the road at Hyde Park Meat’s was some of the freshest beef to have ever set sights on our taste buds. We have to say, though, our favorite part of this behemoth wasn’t the beef, but the originality of the spicy onion straws. They were truly something special.
The Perfect Pair:
They have a huge collection of craft beers at Habits, but you’d never go wrong with any of their selection of craft IPA’s. Aside from that, they definitely have plenty of interesting menu items that will leave you feeling satisfied. Our personal favorite was definitely their Pepperoni Cheese Sticks, though. What a genius idea.
When you think of Godzilla, you think of flames shooting everywhere. This burger may not make you shoot flames out of your nostrils, but it’s still a huge burger. Plus the spices are subtle, but just enough to form a few beads of sweat here or there, especially if you’re not well-traveled in the field of spicy eats. Word on the street is that they have other spicy burgers to try too, but the Godzilla will always be the classic. Our Intensity Rating: 2 out of 5.
3. The Camarones A La Diabla – Rio Grande
For those who aren’t familiar with Spanish, “Camarones A La Diabla” translates to “Shrimp of the Devil.” Yeah, sounds pretty inviting, right? Well, for people as crazy as us, it sounded so inviting that we just had to scorch the roofs of our mouths just to find out what the devil’s shrimp would taste lack. In case you haven’t been keeping up so far, this is where the intensity kicked up a bit. The spice was just enough to make our mouth sting for a few minutes, but it easily subsided after a few bites of rice. This one is definitely a little more adventurous, but it stands out among even the spiciest of Mexican foods in the city.
The Perfect Pair:
C’mon, you’re in a Mexican restaurant. You have to go with one of their house-made margaritas or you’re doing it wrong. If you’re really worried about the burn, just order a pitcher of the frozen margaritas. It will solve all of your problems.
Every spice has its own unique way of burning you, and the sting from the Shrimp of the Devil was one that kicked in almost immediately. The worst part is that water only seemed to make it worse as we continued eating. Was it unbearable? No. Will it definitely lead you to want to take a swig of antacid afterwards? You know it. Just take the time to sit back and enjoy the tingling burn of this one, but don’t get hasty if you think it’s no big deal, because you’ll pay for it if you do. Our Intensity Rating: 3 out of 5.
4. The Chicken Pad Thai – Bangkok Bistro
So, the spice level usually goes from 1-10 on their Pad Thai. All of those would probably be a little spicy, but perfectly acceptable. However, they have a secret amount of spice that can be added that goes well beyond the levels of acceptability for the average eater. The spicy food lovers, though, have plenty to rejoice about at Bangkok Bistro. Some people will take it as far to as 30 if they’re looking to liven things up a bit, but some thrill-seekers dare to go bolder, taking the heat all the way up to 50. So, there’s that. We decided to go over the normal levels, and it left the back of our throats scorched.
What Makes It Hot:
To make it simple, a lot of red pepper. A lot as in like, a whole pizza’s worth of red pepper packed into a tiny bowl of noodles, but it’s not just one type of spicy red pepper that leaves you scurrying for a water to help cool the burn in the back of your throat. There are two very unique (secret) types of peppers they use in the form of seeds, pastes, and powder that they make sure to coat everything you eat.
This one had some staying power to it. Even twenty minutes after we were finished eating we could still feel a tingle in our throats, probably from that fiery powder that never seemed to go away. The craziest thing was the fact that we were also coated in sweat, so this stuff has some kind of crazy connection to sweat glands. Essentially, dudes trying to show off to their dates probably shouldn’t try to take this meal on if they’re on date night. Well, unless you like the idea of going in for a kiss with a sweat-stache… Our Intensity Rating: 4 out of 5.
5. The “Stupid Hot” Wings – Wild Mikes
Nestled in what appeared to be a little cottage on the side of the road is where we found something that was anything less than an inferno. How do you sum up these wings? Well, we’d say that it’s more like getting punched in the nose with a spicy fist of rage. Here’s the thing, though: the wings are so tasty that you have to keep coming back for more. Plus they have this unreal house-made Bleu Cheese that cools the burn, and it really is the best we’ve ever had. The truth is that there’s nothing that can cool the heat enough for this one…
What Makes Them Hot:
Two words: Ghost Chilis… Yeah, that’s right. The hottest peppers grown in nature are loaded in the sauce that gets rubbed all over these bad boys. The chicken was so fresh and juicy, though, which made it hard to put them down… oh, and stay away from the water. It only makes things worse.
Remember how we told you we felt like we got punched in the face after eating these? Well, this sh*t left our noses running, our lips swollen from the spices, and we even had a contact lens pop out because of the tears in our eyes. You won’t find hotter wings than these in the entire area, and the truth is that you probably shouldn’t be able to, because Wild Mikes does one thing that few can: they focus on keeping the right taste while also punching you. It burned so good. Our Intensity Rating: 5 out of 5.
6. The 911 – Kungfood Chu’s AmerAsia
We thought it was cute when they brought it out in a gas mask for us. We thought it was even cuter when they decided to bring their kind, authentic Asian chef to come out and warn us in broken English. We didn’t quite grasp the concept of what was about to happen to our insides until he pulled out his phone to show us pictures of what they were about to put in our food. Sure, there are plenty of hot peppers that grow in the wild, but the peppers they use… well…
What Makes Them Hot:
They aren’t even suitable for nature. In fact, they had to grow them in a lab. Yes, peppers so hot that they were lab-created. Your average Habanero ranks between 200-350,000 on the Scoville Scale. These peppers, the Carolina Reapers, are between 2-3,000,000. Ever wonder what a sizzling esophagus smells like? Well, take a few bites of this and you’re about to find out.
Even if you don’t end up going for the 911, there are plenty of other spicy goodies on their menu for you to punish yourself with. They also have some of the best events in the area. Recently they had a Hip Hop Trivia night, and they’re about to have a Super Smash Bros. Tournament too. Oh, and if that doesn’t convince you, maybe the fact that they have over 100 beers to choose from will. The 911 itself, well, two bites had us chugging IPA’s as quickly as possible, but nothing seems to help. Water only spread the pepper’s spice, the peanuts and rice barely cooled us down, and our insides were smoldering for hours afterwards. After enough pain, the endorphins finally released, which left us feeling like we had a runner’s high just from eating it. In fact, we’d say it’s more of a spiritual experience than anything. This challenge is for the bold. We’d bet you can’t finish it. Our Intensity Rating: Too F***ing hot for a number.