I'd like to start a new segment here on the blog called Burnside Endorses. In it, one of your editors will list a product they particularly appreciate. Hopefully, our endorsements will promote small companies with responsible practices and a strong sense of community. But sometimes maybe we just like the way something works or tastes.
Our first endorsement was for Viso, a Portland based beverage company. Our next product is also local and is drinkable, but only a drop at a time.
If you're lucky and live here, you might've stumbled across Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce at your local breakfast diner. The sauce was invented at local Caribbean restaurant "Salvador Molly's" by Scotland Barr, who also fronts acclaimed alt-country band Scotland Barr & the Slow Drags. Scott's a nice guy who delivers his sauce personally, so we know him and his lovely wife well at the store where I work.
I'm not one of those guys obsessed with spicy foods or hot sauce. I appreciate a good kick, for sure, but heat for heat's sake doesn't work for me. With a white wine vinegar and tomato base, Secret Aardvark is a cacophony of flavor first, sweat-inducing second. Eight or nine drops on an entire dish will do the job, but a drop per forkful heightens any dining experience without overpowering your meal. Any more and you're pushing it. If you're a sadist, feel free to pour it on.
I like the sauce best with scrambles or omelettes in particular, but it makes a great addition to Mexican food and chili. When we move, I'm planning on taking a case with me, and Scot's wife informs me they've got family in Phoenix, so shipping it down won't be a problem. Like Menomena, I'm convinced Secret Aardvark will be another local phenom to revolutionize it's particular field. Besides the habanero sauce, they've also got a Drunken Garlic Black Bean sauce that is amazing with burgers, and rumors of a jerk sauce on the horizon.
If you're not in Portland, it might be difficult to come by, but feel free to contact the makers through their website. You'll be glad you did.