Tropic of Capsaicin

An Exploration of the Hot Dishes in a Hot City, Or Where to Go When You're Not at Waterloo Park

Late summer's blast-furnace days have arrived, and with them our annual culinary celebration of heat and spice: the 13th annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival. History tells us that literally thousands of folks will gather to eat salsa in Waterloo Park this Sunday, and we've also included a convenient listing of this Saturday's chile festivities at area grocery stores, farm stands, and farmers' markets in case you'd like to get a running start. It occurred to the members of the Food staff (Mick Vann, Claudia Alarcón, Rachel Feit, MM Pack, Wes Marshall, and myself) that since the city would already be full of fiery-food fanatics, we should offer our suggestions about where to find the best hot dishes in town, so you can enjoy an entire weekend of flaming taste buds. Our list is loaded with local Mexican and Thai favorites -- it's the hot dish about the best spicy foods in town.

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