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Some like it hot

A few of my favorite spicy things

Chopsticks Noodle House's Spicy Thai Noodles

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There are restaurants I have to ease into slowly, coming around to their flavors or unique takes on cuisine by the end of the meal. There are other restaurants that win me over quickly - love at first bite, or damn close to it. Typically, the latter has to due with the heat behind the restaurants' dishes.

Here are a few restaurants that serve dishes that pack a punch that I so love.

Spicy Chicken and Mushroom

Gikan Teriyaki #7
Price: $8.95

Gikan Teriyaki calls it like they see it.  Their dish - Spicy Chicken and Mushroomâ - is exactly that. It is nothing but chicken pieces, mushrooms, and spicy sauce.  None of that bullshit some other competing teriyaki joints might put in the dish as fillers, like water chestnuts. Water chestnuts in a teriyaki dish are like croutons in a salad - cheap, tasteless, and utterly useless. As for the slow burn factor, and as with pretty much any spicy Asian dish, the sooner you eat it before it cools down, the fiery the pepper heat.  As it filled my belly, the Spicy Chicken and Mushroom plate from Gikan Teriyaki set a quaint blaze to my mouth and kept me happy.
[Gikan Teriyaki #7, 900 Meridian E., Milton, 253-952-3473]

Chopsticks Noodle House

Spicy Thai Noodles
Price: $8.49

I ordered the Spicy Thai Noodles, which came out in a humungous bowl filled with steamy broth and laced with a red pepper lining. I stirred around the Thai-influenced concoction and spotted five shrimp, four pieces of calamari, fresh cabbage, thick slippery noodles, and a lime all floating within the HOTTEST FUCKING BROTH I've ever consumed in my entire life. Somebody must have opened up a Costco-sized jar of cayenne, fed the entire thing to a test lab rat, mated the rat with a habanero pepper, taken their mutant pepper baby, lit it on fire, and THEN put it into my Spicy Thai Noodles.
[Chopsticks Noodle House, 119 Fifth Ave., S.W., Olympia, 360.596.9332]

5th Avenue Sandwich Shop

Hot Oly sandwich
Price: $8.50

Bandito Betty and I ran into Olympia's fantastic 5th Avenue Sandwich Shop, where the servers were just as spicy as the sandwich I ate that day. The minute we walked in the door sarcasm was spewing from the mouths of every female sandwich maker and server alike. It. Was. Awesome.

After all the clever teasing was finished, I decided they were going to hook me up with jalapeños galore in an amazing sandwich appropriately named the "Hot Oly."  The Hot Oly gave me a naughty burn that led well into the next day, and one which I must admit was well worth the trip down to Oly-land.

Warm roast beef, white cheese, jalapeños, pepperoncinis, and sautéed onions piled high between two lightly toasted and fresh-made slices of bread. Our server, obviously aware of my quest for internal burning, suggested his homemade jalapeño bread instead of the regular white stuff. I took him up on his offer, and was thanking him profusely throughout the meal. I loved every bite.
[5th Avenue Sandwich Shop, 117 Fifth Ave. S.E., Olympia, 360.705.3393]

Ranch House BBQ & Steakhouse

Spicy Hot Link Sausage
Price: $2

Just about 10 miles south of Olympia off Highway 8 lies the best establishment peddling meat of the smoked variety I've ever had the pleasure of patronizing. Recently rebuilt after battling an unexpected and devastating fire, Ranch House BBQ pulls out all the stops in order to give you utmost delectable food quality. The portions are perfect, the taste is decadent, and the atmosphere is both fun and friendly.

I could go on and on about every implausibly amazing menu item holding its own in national BBQ competitions (and believe me when I say Ranch House owners Amy Anderson and Melanie Tapia have the competition ribbons on display to prove it), instead I will tell you what burned the shit out of my mouth: Ranch House BBQ's Spicy Hot Link Sausage. It's awesome.
[Ranch House BBQ & Steakhouse, 10841 Kennedy Creek Road S.W., Olympia, 360.866.8704]


Roasted Habanero Enchilada
Price: chicken/pork $11.95, beef $12.95

Server Jessica definitely gave me mad props for ordering Matador's hottest thing on the menu: Roasted Habanero Enchiladas.

Given the option of enchilada filler (chicken, pork, shrimp, veggie, or beef), there is hardly any way I could turn down the beef.  Matador has always dished beef that was tender and flavorful, not ever wavering on quality.  These warm chunks of meat came swimming in ooey, gooey cheeses laced with their infamous heated habanero sauce and snuggled in two warm, fresh flour tortillas.

It only took one bite for my mouth to fill up with flames and line my throat with pepper.  The burn was intense, yet non-overbearing.  Crowning these fiery wraps were accompaniments suited perfectly for a dish such as this.  Fresh shredded lettuce, guacamole, and Matador's chive sour cream cooled down and balanced out the bites as time went on.
[Matador, 721 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.7100]

Galanga Thai Cuisine

Drunken Noodles with Chicken
Price: $8.95

The fiery food possibilities are endless when it comes to Thai food.

I went for the Drunken Noodles with Chicken, three star heat.  Wide Rice noodles mixed with fresh basil, tomato, onion, carrot, bell peppers, egg, chicken, and of course - chilies.  Eaten immediately upon arrival, as the dish is still warm, these spicy red chilies exploded like a piñata in my mouth, dancing all the way through lunch.

For someone who has a tolerance to handle things pretty hot, I was certainly glad I had stayed away from the ultra-hot, four-star chili rating.  Three stars was enough to burn my nose and tingle my throat completely, leaving me utterly content.
[Galanga Thai Cuisine, 1129 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.272.3393]

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