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I’ve Moved and Redesigned Hot Lollies

Hi guys, I now have a self-hosted site on WordPress! A few months ago, yes that’s a long time, I redesigned Hot Lollies and forgot to update you all of the details on this site! When I switched over to self hosting I thought my new announcement post would show up here but low and behold it did not! Yikes! So sorry but I haven’t logged onto this old WordPress site in a while so didn’t realize you would not get my new post…and I’ve done so much since then! Hope you can forgive me! Here’s a snapshot of what my new re-designed site looks like…well not so new but it would be great if you could check it out and let me know what you think! (if you’re already a email subscriber please disregard this message!)

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What I also realized was that if you have followers on a WordPress hosted site then move to a WordPress Self-Hosted site that you no longer receive any notifications of posts, etc. Only email subscribers get the new content! So my apologies if you thought I abandoned my site but I have been busy writing content here at the new and improved Hot Lollies! If you’d like to stay in touch, follow me via social media by clicking on the respective icons on my site…

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or sign up using your email address to subscribe to blog, that way you won’t miss a single post!

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I tell you, I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a techie but man have I learned so much about WordPress and blogging tech stuff over the past few months, shoot, I may be able to teach a class! ha!

Would love to hear from you so come on over!

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A Hot Sauce Festival for City Folk

I attended the first annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo last weekend held in Brooklyn’s East River State Park. The event was a huge success giving hot sauce companies, small and large the opportunity to share their creations with us city folk! It was the perfect event for tasting and purchasing difficult to find hot sauces. I’m usually skeptical of buying sauces online if I haven’t had the opportunity to try them or come recommended from a trusted source so this was a nice treat.

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The general tasting was held outdoors but a little extra loot got you access to the indoor VIP events, great food, vendor awards and plenty of libations.

hot-liquor

This Cayrum rum hails from the Dominican Republic and made with honey and ginger for a nice spiced up flavor. I can definitely see this in my tea next time I’m sick, in mixed cocktails or just over ice! A great spicy premium tequila to try is Tanteo made with real jalapenos for very natural tasting, spicy spirit. Most others spicy liquor distillers choose artificial flavoring but this one delivers on both the taste and heat. I also caught a Michelada competition…you see where my priorities are!

michelada-contest

Unlimited drinks, live music, unlimited food and all the hot sauce you wanted could be had in VIP area. The general admission got you access to to the hot sauces in the outdoor booths with a great view of the city. Not bad for only $10!

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A couple of good sauces here…Dirty Dick’s, Guyank, Heart Breaking Dawn’s 1498…

hot-sauces

That Rogue High River Sauce made with scorpion moruga chile, one of the hottest in the world, hotter than the ghost pepper, was killer! I had to try it and amazingly you could taste the sweetness up front for about the first 10 seconds and then BAM! A one-two punch to the face! It’s probably best to leave those super hot sauces for last to save some of your taste buds. So best advice I can give is to pace yourself and walk around with a cold dairy product like ice cream or cheese to neutralize the heat, it really does help!

defcon-horseradish

Ooh Defcon sauces, that Habby Horse hot habanero is AMAZING! Will be grilling with that one and also adding it to some deviled eggs. If you want a great flavored, well balanced, spicy, sweet, tangy HOT sauce, pick up one of my favorites, Cajohn’s bourbon infused chipotle habanero hot sauce.

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Here are a few more great sauces…High River Sauces Tear’s of the Sun, Delcastro NYC hot sauce, and Surge of Sandy, which was a collaboration with Cajohn’s to help benefit Born to Hula hot sauce company after hurricane Sandy’s devastating blow to their NJ location. Be sure to pick some up if you want to help them rebuild, hot sauces also make great gifts too so get a few.

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nyc-hotsauce

sandy-hotsauce

Needed to fuel up with an awesome beer bratwurst with a little Bajan mustard hot sauce.
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There were sweets to be had as well. I had to pick up the Madison Chocolatiers West spicy chocolate caramel sauce which would be great drizzled over ice cream, stirred into a smoothie or for dipping strawberries. Peppers.com, the huge hot sauce distributor/sellers also showcased their spicy salt water taffy, a collaboration with Delaware’s Dolle’s taffy company. Look for the spicy peanut butter taffy for an awesome treat! There weren’t too many others but hopefully next year you’ll see hot lollies there! 🙂

spicy-sweets

The day was gorgeous, a little windy and chilly for this time of year but plenty of warming elements here. I could have easily overdone it with all the sampling, surely a few more would have put me over the edge but one thing I could appreciate and did many others was the strategically placed ice cream vendors!

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Happy Easter!!

Hope you and yours are having a wonderful Easter Sunday!

happy-easter

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Cyber Monday Spicy Lollipops Special

Shop Cyber Monday and get 30% off your entire order at our Etsy Shop!!!

Cyber Monday Sale

Visit our Etsy Shop and enter CyberMon30 at checkout to receive 30% off your purchase.

Sale begins Monday, 11/26 at 12:01AM and ends at midnight.

Note: We can also make lollipops without chiles upon request

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What I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I hope you’re all having a wonderful time where ever you are! I usually take this time to reflect and think about the things I’m thankful for and not just because it’s Thanksgiving here in the states but because its getting closer to the end of yet another year and also the beginning of new possibilities. All I know for sure is that without friends and family my world wouldn’t be complete and I’m so thankful to have them in my life. Thankful to have close knit family and friends that have carried me through difficult times and also given me the truth when I least wanted to hear it.

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I’m also thankful for awesome neighbors who shovel my snow before I get up in the morning, or pull out my trash cans on garbage pick-up days. Thankful for the smiling faces during my morning drive, ferry and subway commute to work, and that I have a job to get to. I’m thankful for the roof over my head, for having heat, electricity, good coffee in the morning, and for that Barista that draws a pretty leaf in my foam. Thankful for you, my readers, who have been supportive with your comments, views, likes and follows…Thank You so much! I’m thankful for so many things but most importantly, I’m thankful for the simple and basic things in life, all interconnected and interwoven, filling life’s tapestry, one thread at a time. Thanks and be well.

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A Stroll Through The Feast Of San Gennaro

Today is the last day of the San Gennaro Feast in Little Italy and here are a few photos to entice you to visit. I went in the early evening so it wasn’t too crowded which was perfect for getting through to see all the vendors.

Entrance to Feast of San Gennaro

First my favorites…I purchased a Thrillist deal for a food tasting passport to the Torrisi and Parm stands set up in front of their restaurants. I thought these were “tastings” but very surprised and happy to see they were huge servings. Great for sharing if you want to get through the rest of the festival. They have these Chinese Ribs that reminded me of the ribs tips I used to get at Chinese takeout but 10 times better! They’re juicy, tender and grilled not fried!! Also on the menu were pork sausage buns with a spicy mayo, a true food mash-up, spicy tater tots, a Caprese salad grilled cheese and Parm’s incredible deli-dog wrapped in soppresata and topped with spicy peppers! Delicious!

Spicy Deli Hot Dog

Mozzarella grilled cheese

Italian sausage buns

The Chinese ribs before…

Torrisi's Chinese Ribs

And after…

Chinese Ribs

Spicy pickles, YUM!!

Spicy pickles

If you’ve visited the San Gennaro Feast in the past you’ll notice that over the years the food served at the feast has changed significantly. You go to the festival for Italian street food but there is so much more to have here. The food is more representative of all the Ethnicities in the area so it’s a celebration of what this neighborhood has become over the years which is pretty awesome. The Italian sausage and peppers sandwiches, zeppoles, cannolis, lasagnas, pastas, seafood, and every possible Italian dish you can think of can still be found here but you’ll also find a few others. Take a look…

Cooking sausages

Mozza-repas! The traditional Latin American griddle corn cakes, Arepas, stuffed instead with mozzarella, usually its Latin white cheese, “queso blanco“! Love it!

Mozza-Arepas

Now look at these massive sausage stuffed artichokes! I was tempted but that’s a meal in itself and had already stuffed my face.

Huge Stuffed Artichokes

ooh pretty peppers!

Sausage and peppers

pizza outside

There are turrones (nougats) and cannolis everywhere! Huge chunks of turron…saw a table with like cinder blocks of turron on the table…

Ferrara Desserts

cannolis and desserts

Zeppoles frying…these are the Jersey and NY beignets but better! 🙂

Frying Zeppoles

Zeppoles

And the reason why we feast…to renew and celebrate faith, celebrate culture and to salute the Patron Saint of Naples, San Gennaro. Here’s a shrine dedicated to San Gennaro next to the Most Precious Blood Church on Mulberry.

San Gennaro Shrine

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Mark Your Calendars, Spicy Food Festivals This Fall

Spicy Food Festivals

I love the Fall! Time to get the sweaters and light jackets from storage, watch the changing leaves, go apple and pumpkin picking, start watching Football every weekend, and attend a couple of food festivals. This past summer was brutal so definitely welcoming the cooler temperatures and looking forward to checking out what’s new at the food fests! Here are a few that are coming up in the next month or so.

Easton Farmers’ Market – Chile Pepper Festival
Saturday, September 22nd
Easton, PA

Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Chile Pepper Fiesta
Saturday, September 29th, 11am-6pm
Brooklyn, NY

Wish I could make the Botanic Garden’s festival but will be in Argentina & Chile during that time, maybe I’ll find some great spicy food in Argentina or Chile? I mean, a country with a name like Chile should have some serious heat so we’ll see. 🙂

Food Network’s Wine & Food Festival
Thursday – Sunday, October 11th-14th
New York, NY

The Food Network’s festival is an entire weekend so make sure you check out their events page. One that I’m definitely attending is the Spice event on the 14th at Spice Market. There will be lots of chilies and spices being passed around at that event!

Update:
Feast of San Gennaro
Now thru Sunday, 23rd
Little Italy, NYC

How did I forget the San Gennaro food festival?! Probably because it’s not a spicy food event but there will be spicy food finds, you can bet on that!

Most of the above are in the NJ, PA and NYC area so if you’re nearby these are definitely a few to attend. Would also be great to know what’s happening in your neck of the woods. What food festival are you looking forward to this Fall? Share a few in the comments, would love to hear about them!

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To All The Great Dads Out There

Wishing a wonderful Father’s Day to all the strong, supportive, and deeply rooted dads out there!

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Weekend Well Spent: Big Apple BBQ in NYC

Had a great time at the 10th annual Big Apple BBQ in Madison Square Park, NYC this weekend. If you’ve ever been to the park, its a nice respite from city life but of course not as big as Central Park. Actually it only spans about a city block and is the home of the first ever infamous Shake Shack, but burgers were not on my mind, next time! Thank goodness the rain held back and only got a light shower as soon as we arrived. I wasn’t going to let a little rain stop me and neither were the folks running the show. The music was blaring, grills were fired up, beer was flowing and the umbrellas were out, three out of four, not bad.

The Jon Langford band playing country, folk music to kick things off.

The drizzle finally stopped and it was smooth sailing until the very end. The Baker’s Ribs pit masters from Texas seem to be having a great time in spite of the showers and the humidity but they’re from Texas so I’m sure they get it worse down there…glad it was them and not me!

JC Brooks and his band from Chicago were awesome!

The baby back ribs from Pappy’s Smokehouse of St Louis, Missouri were amazingly good. Spicy, tangy, sweet and everything a good sauce should be! Loved it, one of my favorites from the event.

Pork and beans, delicious!

Southern Culture on the Skids! Head boppin’, hip swaying funky music.

I wish there was enough time to try all of the out of state pit masters but the lines were just way too long. Some lines had about 200 people so tried to make my way over to the fastest moving one. The best strategy for any of these types of events is to get there early with a small group and have each of your friends stand in different lines so you get to try everything. Well, next time. Below is the beef brisket from Hill Country, NYC. Tender, juicy and perfect with an cold beer.

There were a few BBQ vendors that ran out of food but there were plenty others still cranking out the ribs. Once you got your fill you could run over to the merchandise booths and get t-shirts or BBQ sauces from all the pit masters at the event.

By now I was pretty full, sweaty and exhausted. I made sure I wore comfortable shoes but didn’t matter when you’re on your feet for 6 hours or more. Madison Square Park also doesn’t provide much seating and with the thousands of people at this event there was no chance we were getting one BUT as luck would have it, we just so happen to be standing next to a couple leaving…whew *JOY*. Now for my ice cold brew…boy were my dogs barking!

So the people watching ensued and finally got a chance to look up and enjoy the great architecture of NYC.

…and look down as well. I was on a mission when I arrived and ribs were the only thing on my mind. Now off to smell the roses…

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Chili Festivals and Cookoffs Near You

It was an unseasonably warm winter here in the Northeast and Spring has gotten off to a nice start.  However, every once in a while the temp takes a plunge unexpectedly, like a 20-30 degree plunge and that coat you thought you had put away for good is out again. When ever  that happens all I want is some spicy soup or chili. So before Summer gets here and it shoots up to 110 degrees outside like it did last summer, I’m going to check out a few chili festivals in the area.

So here are a few festivals coming up in the next couple of months.

 

 

 

 

International Chili Society Cook-off
April 21st in Staten Island, NY
This is their main site. Search for a location near you.

 

Lone Star Chili Cook-off
May 12th, New York City
Yes the Lone Star cook-off is in NYC and one of the most popular in the area.

 

NJ State Chili and Salsa Cook-off
May 19th in Toms River, NJ
This is one of the most popular cook offs in New Jersey!

 

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