The San Juan Hot Shop & Flavor Emporium

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

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekend Shenanigans

TGIF Fellow Chiliheads,

Just had to send a shout out and let you all know we got a large shipment of products today and if you're in the neighborhood this weekend, stop by the shop and check them out. Z&Z made a new Habanero Soy (wow, I see jerky coming), and we got more of their Jerk Sauce ( I hated running out of it). We also were blessed by one of our visitors with a package this week of a few New Mexico products we are going to try and bring in. New Mexico Green Chili Sauce and a couple of salsa's that rock. We have the best customers anywhere. Thanks to Jim & Ann Balkenbush in Albuquerque for taking the time to send us the products. We absolutely love the products and will contact the manufacturers to see if we can order them.

Have a safe and happy weekend all and hope many of you get up to the island this next week for the Labor Day Weekend.  The weather is supposed to be perfect.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Observations

 Monday Greetings Fellow Chiliheads,

Well as we wind down to the last weekend before Labor Day, we had some great visitors over this past weekend. Lots of fun going on sampling "Z-Nothing Beyond" which has 4 million SHU. It seemed like there were a lot of people walking through the door just to ask "What's the hottest ya' got" and of course we were happy to oblige a sampling. It's the best part of the day when we get to light people up. Check out the pictures. We do also educate people on the risks of using the hottest sauces and warn of using them as a prank. You can do some serious damage. Just check out You-Tube and you'll see the Jackass copycats. We also get a lot of requests for the Ghost Pepper sauces which are really flying off the shelves. So far, Danny Cash's Jolokia (ghost pepper) wing sauce is a great seller along with Holy Jolokia, Melinda's Naga Jolokia and Cajohn's Jolokia salsa. Mongoose is closing in on the ranks as well but I think Danny Cash has nailed it with his wing sauce. I'm addicted to the stuff and even put it on a breakfast burrito Sunday Morning. Wow,  that got us going for the day.  Well we will spend the next few days placing more orders for great products and we have a lot coming in this week so if you're in the neighborhood, drop by and check this stuff out. We have everything from mild to wild and a few delectable sauces with no heat at all. If you haven't checked out Lizano Salsa from Costa Rica, you're missing out. Also, the Takaya Teriyaki Sauce, which has no heat, is one of our best sellers.  Like we always say, spice is nice but it's gotta have flavor. We have also brought in some new really cool housewares and fun stuff so check it out too!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Friday greetings to our fellow chiliheads!

While Friday's are the end of the regular work week for most people, it's the beginning (or middle) of the busiest time for us.  We look forward to all the smiling faces coming off the ferry as people embark on their vacations.  No really, we do love the tourists.  Even in the middle of August after an exhausting summer, it's so neat to see people arrive on the island. Especially if it's their first visit. This place is magical and to see it through their eyes is fun. The whales have been putting on quite a show on the west side with a new baby orca calf arriving this week.  Capt. Jim Maya told a group of whale watchers that the calf hadn't even been formally announced yet.  I see a sunset picnic coming at Lime Kiln State Park this weekend!

The San Juan County Fair has brought a whole lot of fellow "other" islanders to the island and it's been fun to meet them as well.  Some people from Orcas island said they haven't been over here in 15 years and while it's a free (walk on that is) ferry ride away, some of us just don't get around very much.  We did have a lovely couple and their daughter here last evening from Australia which was very enjoyable.  The people we have met from down under are so nice and great conversationalists.  Much like our Canadian neighbors.  We really enjoy having them visit. We're trying to plan a visit to Australia next year to visit our son who has become an Aussie citizen.

If you are out and about this weekend, stop by and say hello.  We'll be sampling our stuff as always and look forward to meeting new folks as well as people who have been here in years past. You have become part of the family and it's always fun to get to know you or just catch up on things.

Happy Grillin' & Chillin' this lovely weekend!

Monday, August 16, 2010

What a wild weekend

Monday Greetings Again,

Wow what a weekend.  The temps really heated up and the boaters flocked to the island. What fun we had.  Now we'll spend the next few days ordering more product to keep the shelves full.  This is the fun part. Some of our best sellers have turned out to be, of course the Z & Z World Famous Honey Company products (all of them) and recently all the Danny Cash products. We are so glad we got his stuff in the store.  In case you haven't heard, his Jolokia Wing Sauce "Fallen Angel" made with the ghost pepper or Naga Bhut Jolokia pepper is amazing. We're doing that on grilled chicken tonight with a side dozen or so jalapeno poppers. Ah, the perfect meal.  If you haven't checked out our chili grills for the healthy way to prepare jalapeno poppers, check out the website or shoot us an e-mail. We have a few recipes up our sleeves. 

It's also hard to believe it's fair week already. Seems like summer just arrived and we're looking forward to the zucchini races already.  If you've never seen a zucchini race, this is the place to be! The entertainment at the fair is supposed to be fantastic this year featuring a lot of local bands. What a  perfect way to spend a warm summer evening in this great community. I do hope the food will be better this year but it's hard to go wrong with fair food.  It's fun to see all the kids participating in the events and the local artists showing their unique creations. I don't get into the rides very much any more as becoming an adult and marrying a mechanic makes you take a profound look at "metal fatigue" and everything that encompasses. Anyway, if you're here for the fair this week be sure to stop by and say hello. We have been featuring our pepper jelly's over cream cheese served on crackers which is an amazing summer treat.  (Also great for the holidays). Check it out and we hope to see you soon!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th!

Happy Friday the 13th!  

We have actually found this date on Friday to be a lucky one in the past. But then again, we always do things a little backward.  Anywho, the weekend is shaping up to be very busy.  The morning fog gave way to an offshort breeze and it's going to be a spectacular weather weekend. I'm sure lots of boaters and landlubbers alike will be out and about.  Can't wait! We're making Pepper Jelly on Shortbread this weekend for sampling and I know it's going to be a hit.  The shortbread recipe is 3 ingredients and you just add Paula's Pepper Jelly (Huckleberry, Red Raspberry, Marionberry, Cherry and Pumpkin are favorites for this scumptious treat).  If you have a chance, drop by Saturday and Sunday and check it out.  The recipe is available on our website too! ( 

Wishing you all a beautiful and warm weekend with lots to do with your family and loved ones.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday, Monday

Chilihead Taste Testers This Weekend
Happy Monday Again,

What a wonderful weekend in the islands. Saturday we got some needed rain and it wasn't just drizzle. It watered the entire island and it looks so fresh. The trees in our yard seem perkier as if to say thank you Mother Nature! The wet weather kept most of the boaters off the water so our little shop was very busy. We sampled our Texas Longhorn Bread & Butter Pickled Jalapeno's mixed with cream cheese on a flavored tortilla as a roll up. (By overwhelming majority people liked the sun-dried tomato and basil tortilla over the spinach and herb ones). Every time we sample these, the stuff flies off the shelf. If you haven't tried it, stop by any weekend in August as we will be sampling these tasty morsels of goodness. The Jalapeno's have been pickled like a bread & butter pickle using the same sweet and tangy spices. The jalapeno's add a little kick that people wary of hot or spicy food love. We love converting people. And of course you can stop by any day when we sample the jalapeno's right out of the jar.

There is a meteor shower that is supposed to be amazing on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The forecast is for increasing temperatures by then and the skies should be clear. We have a skylight in our bedroom and it's fun to do some star gazing during the time of night when you should be asleep. Maybe hot flashes keeping me awake will do some good here.

When we look back over the weekend in the shop, we had a lot of laughs with some youngsters who wanted to try the hottest sauce in the store. For those of you who haven't visited the store, this is the part of the job we love. At first we try and educate by explaining the Scoville scale and the health benefits behind the peppers. This puts a psychological twist to the hottest sauce in the store they are about to ingest. Then they get one drop on a tasting spoon. This sauce takes about 1 full minute to take you on the ride of your life. During the first few seconds, there is a consensus that the sauce has a really good flavor and that it's not really that hot. We tell them to just hang on. Then the ride quickly takes off. After about 45 seconds there is a second rush which has been equated to a rocket booster. Then the endorphins kick in and there is a burst of energy expended by almost every tester. The tears start (in a good way) and sweating with red faces and a lot of whoops and hollers. Of course we get their picture for the chilihead wall and a few take the sugar cube to relieve the heat but others don't want to spoil it. No matter the reaction however, we always get a big "thank you" from these people on their way out the door with the sauce. We even get a few hugs. We simply reply "it has been our pleasure" which it really is. We have so much fun and love the people we have visit our store. Thank you for making this such a fun adventure. Oh yeah, check out the pic of our taste testers this weekend!
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More Observations

Good Evening,

Today was one of those wierd days when you brace yourself for the next customer coming through the door. All day I had a bunch of nay-sayers who were not about to believe me about the health benefits of peppers. I could have had Dr. Oz standing there to confirm everything coming out of my mouth and they still would not have believed me. That's OK. After all, tomorrow is another day and all they have to do is google the health benefits of peppers to see I wasn't making this crap up. This is also why we send out a newsletter! Oh yeah, if you don't currently get our newsletter, either send us an e-mail at or sign up on our website at We won't sell your information at any time and only send you the newsletter full of fun things, recipe's, news from the island and other stuff we find interesting. Of course, our customers give us input about what they want to see so you are a part of this too!

I also learned from a local that our name appeared in another publication called 48 North Sailing Magazine which is a Seattle boating magazine. It's a small blurb but we are proud and can use all the positive stuff we can get. Check out: and on page 50 you'll see Ed's smiling face.

Fair winds and happy trails. We hope you will drop by the shop and say hello. We are always anxious to meet new people who share our passion for this stuff and even those who are a little skeptical.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Observations from the mainland

Greetings all and thanks for taking a look!

Yesterday I ventured off island to the mainland to do some shopping and as always, when leaving on the 5:50am boat, I get a little excited to venture into "America". I have to say that Washingtonian's are very courteous drivers. Growing up in So. Cal., and teaching my children to drive there, I learned all the hand signals, mouthing techniques, and general frustrations of driving along with 3 million other people from your same home town. Not so in Washington. We move into the right hand lane as a courtesy to let that a..hole riding your bumper go faster. OK, I know I'm getting older but I now do the speed limit. In So. Cal, if you did 80 in a 55, you were still getting passed and flipped off. I've learned however. I am also on the constant lookout for anyone with a cell phone held up to their ear or someone talking when there is no other apparent occupant in the car. Singing is excluded however, which I occasionally do when I'm alone. And you can always tell who the singers are by tapping the steering wheel or the head bob. Especially when there's a Michael Jackson song on. I've almost been T-boned a few times at a red light by people not paying attention, so I cross carefully. When did we as people think it was OK to do anything other than pay attention behind the wheel? Sorry, my drivers ed teacher left a lasting impression with me when he explained what 5,000 pounds of metal traveling at 50 m.p.h. can do. Does anyone remember the movie "Red Asphalt"? Anyway, back to the Hot Shop.......

I found some lovely items yesterday and did some real damage to the checking account while purchasing items for the store. I think they will sell, but our customers will let me know how they feel about that. I also learned that what we do in our store with customer service matters more than anything else. The stores I went into didn't greet me. They didn't even say hello while adding up my purchases which I find unconscionable. Without customer service, we have no reason to be in business other than to make a friggin' buck. If that were the only reason we were in business, we wouldn't be in it very long. The people are what matter and when you can turn someone on to our business and the passion of our business, that's the reason we are in business. The money will follow. What gets us excited and makes our 70 hour work weeks is when other people get what we do. This is our passion and we love sharing it with each other and the best customers anywhere. This is just the beginning for us and as our kids come on board to help us grow the business, we will continue to maintain that focus. Our kids have grown up working along side us and worked in the retail business for many years. Our plan is to grow and expand this little shop into something that our customers will be proud to say they knew us when. In the meantime, I'm glad to be back on my rock and off the freeways and highways and the only traffic snarl we have is during the school year when we get behind the school bus in the morning or for people slowing down to take a look at Mona the camel. (That's OK, I'd slow down for her any day. She's so beautiful!).

As always, we would love to hear from you.