Burnside Endorses: Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce

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.


  1. Could I request a "Burnside DOES NOT endorse" segment? I'd be quite interested in that. :)

  2. do you mean, you don't want us to endorse things, or you want us to come up with a section where we say what we hate?

  3. The second option. :) I didn't mean it negatively.

  4. good thoughts, molly. we'll ruminate on it.

  5. Oh, if one of you lives in Eugene you should endorse Yumm Sauce.

    I would trade all of the Chicago Style hot dogs in the world for a good Yumm bowl. Or the BBQ tofu!

    I see myself loving this segment but suffering from severe Northwest homesickness because of it...sigh.

  6. since i work at a store based in Eugene, i'm very familiar with Yumm sauce, as well.

  7. I just ran into this sauce at Genie's in Portland. It is wonderful. Any idea where to buy more?

    Missoula, Montana

  8. Otis,

    It's available at quite a few places in portland. otherwise, it's hard to say. Your best bet would be to call Market of Choice on Terwilliger (in Portland), ask for Phil, and ask him if it's available to be shipped. He's buddies with the guy who makes it.

    Here's a wannabe recipe in case you absolutely can't get the real thing. The makers assured me this is not the actual recipe.


  9. Whole Foods at 28th and burnside bought a truckload of the stuff and is selling it for $3 a bottle.

    I bought 3...YUM!!!