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Sep 14, 2007 01:05 PM

Sweat on' the brow? Help me find...

As summer fades and the evenings get cooler, I'm looking to find a restaurant dish or two that can make the nose glisten, the brow sweat, and provide a nice lasting balanced heat that singes but doesn't burn. Maybe even inspire a little sputter and cough!

A couple that come to mind: the pho at Pho Ha in Bloomingdale, the green salsa at La Pasadita, Gaeng Gari at the Opart Thai House on Western, Vindaloo in my neighbor's kitchen. Still on a quest to find some Hunan or Sichuan cuisine that fits the bill. I'd love to add to the list-any cuisine.

I'm not looking for suicide wings with mindless heat rather the type of BYOT restaurant food that makes the plate sing songs and the eater gloriously happy.


BYOT: Bring-your-own-towel.

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  1. Lao Szechuan in Chinatown. Also one in Downers Grove, and maybe a third as well.

    1. I think you'll enjoy the habanero salsa on some cochinita pibil at Xni-Pec. Xni-Pec is located at 5135 W. 25th St. in beautiful Cicero. I also like the panuchos, vaporcitos and papadzules. Here's a link to their website .

      2 Replies
      1. re: deesher

        i enjoy the thin and sour curry with mudfish or shrimp at spoon thai on western. it looks like normal soup until you give it a stir and the broth clouds with birds eye chili seeds. it's wonderfully balanced with root vegetables and vinegar. the shrimp version is the milderof fish flavor but they are both fantastic. It must be eaten there, however, because it is served boiling over charcoal, otherwise the soup thickens. Of course, you will only find this dish on the thai menu.

        1. re: mitch cumstein

          Spoon's kaeng som ("sour curry") is kid's play in comparison to their kaeng tai plaa (Southern Thai-style "fish kidney curry"). Without a doubt, the kaeng tai plaa at Spoon is the hottest, spiciest, most fiery dish I've ever been served in Chicago.

          It will hurt you.

          Today, tonight *and* tomorrow.


      2. Opt for a spicier mole at Sol De Mexico. Whatever they have that day. It won't blow your roof off, per se, but may be an interesting complex flavor profile. You may also want to ask if they will take a portion of the mole for you, and add a little bit of heat to it if none of the moles are particularly spicy that day. I will guarantee you that they will do something worthwhile, and not just add a few drops of tabasco. they'll do it up right.

        Rec #2.
        Chicken Vindaloo at Hema's Kitchen (the Devon loc.) I haven'ty been there in 6 months, and do not know if the quality has gone downhill since, but if you go at an off peak time, and Hema or her sister are there, they will hook you up well. I've heard ppl say Hema's is not as good as it used to be, or that it never was really good, or it isn't the most "authentic," but I still like the joint. I don't go at busy times though. Make sure you get some of the green sauce (chili / cilantro) for dippin.

        3. I can second the rec for Xni-Pec, although the habanero sauce was not as hot as I expected. I'm sure they seed and de-membrane the chiles first, but it still had some ok heat to it.

        4. "La La La Spicy Chicken Pot" at the aforementioned Lao Sze Chuan!!!!!

        5. OOOOH Here ya go! Jerk Chicken at Uncle Joe's!!!
        8211 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago - (773) 962-9935

        Outta these, I'd rank the Jerk Chicken, and Sol De Mexico at the top just because they are kinda out of the norm as far as hot foods that I gravitate towards like Indian, Thai, and 'taqueria" Mexican. I don't get out for upper crust Mexican, and Jamaican food as much as do the others.

        6 Replies
        1. re: gordeaux

          I saw your rec for the Jerk Chicken, is this place worth the trip?, and is it authentic? . I have not had any decent jerk chicken since I was on vacation in Jamaica, or Jerk Goat for that matter.

          1. re: swsidejim

            Worth the trip? Not sure where you are.
            Authentic? I've never had Jerk from it's original places, so I haven't the foggiest. Other opinions:


            1. re: gordeaux

              worth the trip in regards to the quality, and heat of the jerk,

              distance really does not come into the equation for us, we drive 140 miles round trip 5 days a week to get to and from work.

              1. re: swsidejim

                If distance does not matter for anything to you, then I'd give it a go.
                For me, however, I keep it in mind as a place to seek out if I'm within 10 miles of the place.

                Oh, and speaking of, if you're a BQ fan, and you're in that area, try a tip/hot link combo at Uncle John's with hot bq sauce. Tell you what:
                If you like bq rib tips/ hot links, then I can guarantee you a decent chow experience with good heat included!!
                Get a jerk chicken from Uncle Joe's, and a tip /link combo from Uncle John's. From my experience, it would almost be impossible for one of those to not wow you on the same day. Plus, you can drive around the lovely / lively neighborhood. Seriously tho - chicken and bq from both places should be a damn good combo for you, and would make me jealous. I have no idea why I haven't done this combo yet, but you can bet your sweet a**, that the next time I'm down that way, I'll be stopping for both. FYI, Uncle John's is take out only. Good Gawd am I hungry now. :-(

                Uncle John's BBQ (semi recent winner of best bq in a trib article)
                337 E 69th Street
                Chicago, IL 60619

                1. re: gordeaux

                  thanks, we have some jobs down in that area, I will hit both places soon.

                  thanks again

          2. re: gordeaux

            Let me put in a third for the habanero at Xni-Pec. I'm not an expert on these matters but at least for me it forced an extra bottle of Pacifico. Not altogether a bad thing . . .

          3. I would go with a spicy Tom Kha soup (it's a Thai coconut-milk based soup) - always makes me sweat with delight!!