Everything is hot. The steering wheel, the bridge, those metal birds in Deep Ellum, the hose nozzle out back, Jim Schutze and the mailbox are all like smoking nuclear rods. Yesterday I grabbed a metal chair that had been sitting outside on a bright patio, and now I can shoot powerful repulsor rays out of my hand like Iron Man. Don’t even think about using the parking brake on your car, unless you love plastic surgery. Everything is lava, but spicy foods are welcome. Whatever the science is, the thunderclap of a eye-opening, spicy dish can awaken the mind and clear out the weeds in a big whoosh. At Blues Burgers on West Mockingbird Lane, the HMF (confirmed acronym of Hot-Mother-Fucker), is the spicy burger you need right now.
Blues Burgers is an unassuming little place. It’s an order-up-front spot, with three flat screens showing the menu in ocean blue above the bar-area. I’m there on a Sunday, the sun strong-arming like the cop in a noir film. Faux-brick lines the dimmed sitting area, and fans churn along. I ordered the HMF, which has ghost pepper cheese, apple-wood smoked bacon, grilled jalapeños, grilled onions and a “Spicy Blues Sauce.”
The burger comes, bun glistening and those grilled, blistered jalapeños are nearly leaping out of the burger with excitement. The ghost pepper cheese looks like a white dwarf underneath. I should probably order a backup burger, right? To cleanse the heat from the palate? I dive in, expecting a column of orange flames to erupt from my hair as I run around looking for a horse trough full of water. I didn’t ignite.
First: Those jalapeños are buttery, sliced into a long strips, and fired enough to not feel like you bit through a handful of road flares. Raw, crisp jalapenos can be caustic. The ghost pepper cheese provides just enough heat to linger, growing in strength like an orchestra tuning up. That Spicy Blues Sauce, an addictive mayo-based mix, is tangy. Very crisp bacon adds texture to the softened onions. The patty is right around medium rare, well-salted and held up by a good and puffy bun.
After a few bites, I feel a wash of heat move up to my collarbone. The burger is a mind-clearer, but it’s not too much. I think it budged-loose some previously lodged thoughts, like how to answer that trigonometry question and where my copy of Michael Crichton’s Sphere is. So, the HMF burger is the good spicy. It’s not tears of the hategret (hate + regret) spicy.
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I was the last one in the place by the time I finished the first half of the burger. The staff is memorably kind: At several points they check in with me, casual enough to not be intrusive. I let them know the heat didn’t punch me in the face, and it is damn good. The Toadies are playing. It’s a hell blaze of a summer, and this fun, spicy burger will actually save you.