The San Juan Hot Shop & Flavor Emporium

The San Juan Hot Shop & Flavor Emporium
Spice Is Nice But It's Gotta Have Flavor

Friday, July 30, 2010

So Proud!

Good Morning,

We are so proud of our business and feel so grateful to be allowed the opportunity to live and own our own shop in Friday Harbor. Yesterday, while doing some research I came upon this link:

We are just tickled that other people get the same feelings we have about this industry. We truly have the best time in the shop and treasure each visitor each day. It's so much fun to watch people walk in and take in all the bottles and atmosphere. The music is very important to us and you can frequently hear the sounds of Jimmy Buffet, The Gap Band, Diego Torres, Latin Salsa, Cajun and all types of fun music that kids (of all ages) love to come in and just start dancing to. As the fog this Friday morning lifts and the sun pokes through, we look forward to another spectacular weekend in the islands and just hope that delivery truck pulls up today with many more tiny little bottles to restock our shelves.

We also look forward to our Saturday morning ritual with Cousin Vinny's (across the hall from us) as we splurge and get one of his incredible breakfast sandwiches. We couldn't eat like that every day but on Saturday we're livin' large and put our favorite sauce on these yummy treats. This week, I think either Four Brother's Hot Sauce, Sauce of the Rising Son, Doc Holiday's Feel Good Elixir OR Hot Buns at the Beach. Just too soon to decide yet.

Have a wonderful weekend and treat each other well!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Good Morning,

Our first 3 years of running the shop has lead to some really fun observations of people. There are the young curious kids who want to know "dude, what's the hottest sauce ya' got?" (which is really fun to light them up and then they cry and thank us on their way out the door then they can't wait until their next visit only to do it all over again), to men who come in and gasp saying they have just arrived in heaven because of our collection of the spicy stuff to women who are constantly saying they "can't touch the stuff" because of the heat and they are just shopping for their husbands, fathers or brothers. We do get the occasional woman who can put her man on the mat by trying the hottest sauce in the store and he ends up in tears while she handles it just fine and scoffs at him. Then there are those from all around the country who walk in the door and say "what does a little shop in the Pacific Northwest know about hot sauces?" Hell, I'm from Texas or Arizona or New Mexico or whatever state of choice at the moment. This has always astounded me. Why do you have to come from Texas OR Arizona OR New Mexico to have a great recipe? I personally know a guy who now lives in San Diego who was displaced by Hurricane Katrina and he creates one of the best sauces ever. Voo Doo Queen! Now because he comes from San Diego does that mean he doesn't know his stuff? I think not. Amazing stuff. There are many West Coast producers who aren't getting the recognition they deserve. Which leads me to my next point........!

Our business plan going forward is to create a west coast distributorship on the mainland (for shipping purposes) and open another store attached to the warehouse. The hot sauce industry is exploding and has seen an overall increase of 64% in the past 10 years. People are cooking more at home and they are learning about all the health benefits peppers provide in their diet, as well as the wonderful flavors to experiment with. The people who scoff at "heat" don't take the time to find out that there is a wide range of heat and spice from mild to wild. Our goal is to change their thinking one person at a time. Right now, there are 2 major distributors, however they are on the east coast. We believe the west coast needs it's own representation and promotion. There are many fabulous producers in the 7 western states that could really send the industry reeling. Of course, all this takes time and money. That's what we're working on. We would love your ideas, thoughts, encouragement and anything else you want to send our way to consider. This industry is our passion and we tend to eat, drink, sleep and breathe it on a 24/7 basis. As we move into August, we hope all of you have had a fabulous July and we look forward to the future of what we call our chilihead adventure.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Greetings from Paradise,

This morning while watching the news I realized how thankful we are to live in the great Pacific Northwest AND on an island. San Juan Island to be exact. Some call it Gilligan's Island as there are many colorful characters that live here. Our overall population is about 7,500 people who live here year-round. In the summer the population soars, to what some estimate at over 30,000 people. We don't have any traffic lights and our roads are narrow. In my opinion, too narrow for the bicycle enthusiast's our community attracts. It's a step back in time when you come to the island and some people who are used to the big city get bored quite easily. There are no McDonald's or other fast food chains here and our 2 grocery stores on the island are owned by the same person so we pretty much get gouged in pricing. We do have a community theater which puts on wonderful productions and a movie theater (A 2 plex I think you would call it). With an hour's ferry ride and another 30 minutes by car, we do have access to the big box stores so about every 3 mos. or so we do a stock up run to Costco, Wal-Mart and other shopping destinations. You can always tell who the locals are in the ferry line coming back from a day of shopping by the purchases of toilet paper and paper towels from Costco. And of course there is online shopping which has been our lifeline.

After growing up in Southern California in a small beach community (Newport Beach and Corona del Mar) this is like a throwback to the 60's and 70's. I can remember when our California beaches were a summer destination for vacationers but then each winter we would get our little surfer towns back and await the next tourist season. Then in the 80's moving forward, the tourists never went home. Now my surfer beach town is "The O.C." and home to the "beautiful people", whatever that means. My grandparents had the very first concession stand on Big Corona beach in Corona del Mar before the big huge brick buildings that stand there now. I remember as a tot running through the surf with my grandpa and grandma always had a treat waiting and then in the evening we would have a huge bonfire in the fire rings which are still there today. This is now what I see in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Quiet, warm winters with buzzing spring, fall and summer seasons. If you haven't been to the San Juan's, put it on your bucket list. It's an amazing place which will bring you closer to your true self than you have ever been before.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Monday All,

We thought it might be fun to create this blog for people familiar with the world of spice as well as to introduce new people to the world of spice. We have converted many people who swore they were "allergic" to hot stuff or said they couldn't tolerate the stuff only to find out it actually helped their medical condition. (i.e. sinus problems, acid reflux and even hot flashes and upset stomachs). If you look at the medical sites currently available, capsaicin (the element found in peppers) actually helps with these things. We'll address the issues going forward but I'd like to start with the simplest. As capsaicin speeds up the metabolism, it clears the sinuses as well but also helps in the digestion process. Since many people eat so much processed food, the body is not as efficient in the digestion of these foods so the capsaicin (found in hot sauce and peppers) aids in the efficient digestion of these foods. We're not recommending you keep eating the processed foods but we do suggest a diet rich with "whole foods" and low in sugar, flour and pre-packaged foods. Just think, we might be able to eliminate "the little blue pill" by incorporating hot sauce into the diet. Yes ladies, it works by speeding up blood flow and we all know that the body can't efficiently operate both heads of the male at the same time. Put a little spice in your life and you just might find some new spice in the man in your life. Check out many of the other benefits of this wonder food by clicking on or pasting the following link into your browser.