Jane and Michael Stern of Roadfood.com list four restaurants that serve some of the hottest food in America. If none of these four restaurants is in your state, scan the list of everything Jane and Michael have mentioned on The Splendid Table over the years.
1. Roque’s Carnitas
Santa Fe, N.M.
All of New Mexico is replete with great hot food. One of my favorite places is Rocque's Carnitas wagon on the plaza in Santa Fe. They serve grilled beef and hot peppers in a great, big, flour tortilla. When I say hot peppers, I'm talking about New Mexico hot peppers -- really, really hot peppers. That combined with beef is an unbeatable combination.
2. East Side Fish
At Nashville's East Side Fish, their motto is "the crunkest fish in town." Crunking is a type of hip-hop dancing -- it actually comes from crazy and drunk. But it really has very little to do with the hot fish sandwich, which is fried whiting splotched with enough sauce to really set your tongue aglow. You will be crunking all over town when you eat this. It's soul food fish taken to the nth degree.
Kuhn's, for anyone who has lived in Fairfield County, is a legendary name in hot, hot chili. Kuhn's Corner, which used to serve it, no longer exists, but the formula for Kuhn's chili still does exist. If you go to the Five-O convenience store in Fairfield directly across from where Kuhn's used to be, you get this 1-foot, deep-fried hot dog topped with Kuhn's chili. When I say chili, there's no meat in it, it's just onion relish that is so hot, sweat will break out on your brow when you are halfway through the hot dog. It really is addictive. Once you have tasted Kuhn's chili, no other relish lives up to what you know it can be.
De Valls Bluff, Ark.
It's a little shack by the side of the road that serves mostly barbecued pork, although they do have a fantastic kielbasa topped with their hot, hot sauce. You get your choice of hot, mild or medium. We've had the medium, which is ferociously hot. Once I ordered the hot, and frankly it was a little too hot for me.
Jane Stern is the co-author of several books, including Roadfood and 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late. For Roadfood.com, she drives around America looking for good food and exploring popular culture. From the hottest restaurants to the quirkiest out-of-the-way gems, the site lists the best and most interesting food spots the country has to offer.
Michael Stern of Roadfood.com drives around America looking for good food and exploring popular culture. From the hottest restaurants to the quirkiest out-of-the-way gems, the site lists the best and most interesting food spots the country has to offer. He is also the co-author of several books, including Roadfood and 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late.