Gold Coast eatery Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior, started serving up wings this month so hot guests are required to sign a waiver before they feel the burn and their lips swell to the size of Lisa Rinna's.
The active ingredient here is the red savina habanero pepper, once deemed the hottest pepper by the Guinness Book of World Records. According to www.redsavina.com, the pepper is twice as hot as a regular habanero pepper and 65 times as hot as jalapeno pepper. Lab test show it registers at more than 577,000 Scoville heat units, according to the wegsite. The Scoville scale is used to measure heat in a pepper. And it's so hot that www.redsavina.com won't sell the stuff to minors.
So it was with great care that my better half -- not someone who enjoys spicy-hot foods -- and I placed our order at Melnick's this afternoon. We ordered brunch first and ended with an exclamation point: an $8.95 basket of the "Seriously. Ridiculously. Over-the-Top Hot Wings.”
Before the wings, accompanied with the requisite blue cheese dressing and celery sticks, even arrived at our table we were warned. The waiver and the servers instructed us not to touch our faces and eyes while eating the stuff. We were told about the cocky 16-year-old who came in a day earlier and ate one after the other until it hit him and the profuse sweating and trips to the bathroom followed.
We were given a bell to jingle, a signal that we needed something to put the fire out. The relief came in the form of a glass of milk as well as a plate of other palate coolers -- slices of white bread, sour cream, an orange slice and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And speaking of fire, we were given plastic fire hats for the Polaroid shot, apparent evidence that we had survived the experience.
Using a fork and knife, I carefully, if nervously, started with tiny pieces. No matter. The heat was so intense -- not take your breath away hot -- but the kind that coats and ignites your tastebuds and robs your sense of smell. I laughed. I drank an entire glass of water. I blew my nose. Then a few sips of the milk. I put on my fire hat. And then I cut another piece of meat off the bone and doused it with blue cheese and sour cream. This time, it was a little more bearable. I repeated this I don't know how many times.
But in the end, my husband and I had only made it through three wings. Not apiece. Total. Three wings. Three. The remainder are sitting in a container in our refrigerator.
And I need to go put some more Blistex on my lips.