"That's the one."
I tapped the glass with my finger, pointing to a lone, menacing-looking doughnut behind all the rest. This one was topped with a mound of emerald green and vivid orange pepper slices, in sharp contrast to the others so innocently adorned with pink frosted animal cookies, M&Ms and strips of bacon.
I had emailed Hypnotic Donuts co-owner James St. Peter the day before to specially request that this particular doughnut, called the Hellfire, be made for me, assuming that it probably wasn't one of their more popular offerings like the famed maple-and-bacon Canadian Healthcare. (Upon my arrival the friendly gent manning the counter also offered to whip up a Devil's Death Dance doughnut for me with the addition of ghost peppers. I politely declined.)
Topped with sweet glaze, jalapeños and habaneros (all with seeds intact) and a few dashes of Tabasco "for sweetness," the Hellfire was bound to be a firestarter. As I raised the doughnut to my lips, the smell of the peppers wafted up and stung my nose. Uh oh. This might not have been the best idea for breakfast, but it was too late to turn back now.
I took a big bite and the welcome sweetness of the vanilla glaze spread over my tongue. Hey, this isn't half bad, I thought. I immediately regretted my hubris as a fiery trail blazed across my palate and down the back of my throat. Shit. I quickly swallowed and began gulping down my bottle of water as the searing of my mouth worsened. I now knew what it was like to breathe fire and brimstone. (Those poor dragons. No wonder they're extinct.)
More water. Not helping. I snatched my boyfriend's chocolate milk and gulped that down, too, with the knowledge that milk is a more effective treatment for the burn of capsaicin (but also that I'm lactose intolerant). I swished the creamy liquid around in my mouth but the flames didn't seem to subside any.
On a scale from Zack Galifinakis to Johnny Depp, the Hellfire Donut is about a Bradley Cooper. (That is to say, really fucking hot.) I didn't eat the whole thing for fear of doing some serious damage to my esophageal lining; as I write this, my tongue is slightly numb and my digestive tract uncomfortably warm, like the beginnings of heartburn with a vengeance. I think I'll have Tums with a side of Nexium for lunch.
St. Peter says they're planning to have a spicy doughnut eating contest this summer -- in the blazing month of August, because hey, why not? I look forward to spectating, but that's one contest I'll be sitting out. On the other hand, my daredevil breakfast seemed to invigorate me, and I was incredibly productive for the rest of the day. Coincidence? Nah. Anecdotally at least, the consumption of hot peppers is known to have a stimulant effect on the body. Regardless, in the future I think I'll continue to rely on coffee for my morning buzz, and stick to the less demonic creations at Hypnotic Donuts.
Got a suggestion for a spicy dish I should try? Leave me a comment below.
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