Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mango Lime Ghost Chili Tofu Bites at Peace o' Pie

After lobster rolling around Harvard Square on Sunday, I had an extra hour to kill before a friend's birthday festivities at Deep Ellum. Earlier that day, I had seen an intriguing Facebook post from Peace o' Pie, the vegan pizza place right by Deep Ellum. They had a special: tofu bites in a mango, lime, ghost chili sauce. Serendipity. Always on the lookout for ways to bring my taste buds' hatred of me to fiery new levels, I knew how to kill the hour.

I walked to the counter and ordered my tofu bites, eliciting a slight eyebrow raise from the cashier. "They're very spicy," she warned. I was excited.

There were no open tables, so upon receiving my food, I wandered outside and crossed over to the mostly-concrete "park" in front of the fire station. Sitting alone and surrounded by construction and traffic, I gingerly picked up the first battered, bited-sized piece, making sure to keep one hand absolutely clean for the inevitable nose and eye-wiping that would soon take place.

The first bite: exceptionally light, tasty batter. Perfect tofu texture. A slight hint of mango. Then, the familiar caustic burn of the pepper, not too bad at first, but lingering, then building. After a few deep breaths, trying to cycle some non-existent cold air into my mouth, I moved on to a second bite, and then I grabbed for my iced tea. Liquid, of course, actually makes spicy pain worse as it spreads the heat around, but the cool temperature of the tea provided some relief, albeit brief.

As I slowly made my way through several more bites, I waited for the familiar euphoria to set in, the light-headed high and feverish chills that make ultra-spicy food worth it for those who crave it. It didn't happen. The bites were strong enough to burn, but not so strong that they brought about the euphoric relief. They were trapped somewhere in the frustrating middle ground, somewhat painfully spicy with very little payoff. That's when I realized that I was sitting alone in a sad-looking park, torturing myself for no good reason. Extreme spiciness requires three things for an optimal experience: good flavor behind the burn, the aforementioned euphoria, and people with whom to share the challenge. These were pretty tasty (and I'd definitely recommend trying them if you're into ghost chili), but since I stupidly grabbed these alone and on-the-go, the experience lacked the fun of trying East Coast Grill's Pasta from Hell with a table of friends or serving my super spicy dark chocolate peanut butter cookies to (willing) victims.

Then it was time for drinks at Deep Ellum, and all was good. The only lingering memory of the ghost chili bites was a slight persisting tingle on my lips. No signs of pain.

...until 3 AM, at which point I woke up feeling like this:

If you do happen to venture to Peace o' Pie to try these out, I highly recommend also ordering the cheesy bread (not real cheese - everything there is vegan). I didn't get it this time (although I should have), but from a previous visit, I remember loving it.

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