Getting Around A City You Do Not Know

Hey there Steve. I am heading to Los Angeles and don’t really know anything about the city. I was thinking about taking a cab everywhere, since I won’t have a car, but I really don’t like having to flag one down. If you had a preference when traveling, what is your preferred mode of transportation.
~ Doug G. Kokomo, IN

mass transit

 

Oh man, Doug, avoid the cabbies like the plague. Hmmm…probably not the best analogy since the Ebola outbreak. My bad!

I have taken cabs in virtually every major city I have traveled. I find them very impersonal and sometimes even a bit scary, Plus, I think that the cabbie will milk the rid taking a longer rout than they should, just to increase the fare.

I recall while in Rome a couple years ago, my wife and I hailed a cab from our hotel to go to St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican. We were heading right down  Via della Conciliazoine which would have taken us directly in front of St. Peter’s Square onto Piazza Papa Pio XII

Instead he continued on to Via sei Corridori which would have taken us to the North side of St. Peters and then back south. There were no road block or any reason for him to take s that way.

When I noticed what he was doing, and as soon as he had to stop we paid and got out. Fortunately it was a beautiful day in Rom e for a walk to The Vatican.

It was at that point I vowed to never take a cab again.

While I can afford virtually any form of transportation. I have taken city buses, limos, bicycles, subways, you name it, I have ridden it. I really prefer  to take the subway, metro, train whatever each city calls it. I know that sounds weird, but you can get to more places faster and you get to meet so many great people along the way.

The subways are not all doom and gloom as so many people envision. Actually they are a blast!

I go back to my Rome trip, because I love Rome so much. We spent a day just riding the “Metro” from Piazza to Piazza. We would stop, get off and find amazing Roman stuff at each stop, shops, architecture, people, churches…. just cool stuff!

You will find your favorite mode of transportation in each city you visit. A cab may be great in one and horrific in another. Check with the locals to see what they think. You will typically get an honest response and, heck, you may even have a great conversation with the person you are speaking with.

 

Read More

The Best Hot Pepper Sauce on the Planet?

Recently a reader asked me about my favorite hot pepper sauce.

Beth R. from Annapolis, Md wrote:

“Hi Steve: There are so many hot sauces on the market today. I have tried a lot of them. I see rows and rows of them at certain restaurants and wish I could try them all. In your humble opinion, what is the best hot sauce that you have come across.”

Thanks Beth!


Hot Peppers for sauceWhen it comes to hot sauces and hot pepper sauces, I have some very stringent guidelines that I follow.

So many of them are simply on the market to burn the hell out of people and have no redeeming value whatsoever. The producers of these are not concerned with making a hot sauce that actually has some of flavor.

Pure heat in a hot sauce, to me is pointless. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a hot, hot sauce, but some of these can actually hurt a person. Plus, it really in no fun to have your tongue hanging out, eyes watering and wondering if the pain will ever stop.

Back in my early days, I gave a pinky finger tip taste to my brother in law of an extreme hot sauce. I think it was made from a ghost chilli pepper. A taste like the size of a BB from a BB gun.

While it was really hot in that amount, the effects were not too extreme, until a few minutes later when he accidentally rubbed his eye. It practically blinded him for a few minutes.

So these type of hot sauces can be a real problem if used incorrectly.

Ever wonder why those that produce them wear eye protection, masks and gloves?

No, I prefer a hot pepper sauce that has a depth of flavor and a full body heat that is not so overpowering that you can’t taste your food. I do not like a sauce that has a lot of vinegar either. Too tart!

Well, getting back to your question.

By far, my favorite comes from a small company in Grand Rapids, Michigan called BLiS. They make a hot sauce or more correctly called a hot pepper sauce that is out of this world.

It is smooth, has great, deep, rich flavor and the right amount of heat. I am categorizing it at the medium level. just hot enough to titillate, but not too hot that it ruins the food.

From what I have read, they actually age their pepper mash, made up of three types of peppers in an old bourbon barrel that has aged maple syrup and a micro brew’s ale. Interesting flavors for sure!

Their hot pepper sauce, BLiS Blast, can be found at blisgourmet.com.

While extreme hot pepper sauces are for some people that, quite frankly are retarded in the sense that they do not understand the risks involved, I for one avoid those and stick to a hot sauce that adds a unique flavor and substance to my food. And BLiS Blast is that hot pepper sauce.

 

 

Read More