"An immediate onset of hiccups.
Throat coated, feels like it might close?
Stomach feels like it’s going to be punched through (from the inside).
Eardrums feel like popping."
These are notes from our most recent hot chicken foray in Nashville, again at Hattie B’s. After last summer's tango with the restaurant’s "Damn Hot" heat level left me feeling as though I’d burned off a layer of my esophagus, I thought it wise to back down. Unfortunately, I got confused and now realize that I thought we got the highest heat level ("Shut the Cluck Up") last time. So our attempts to scale back failed, and we actually just ordered the "Damn Hot" again. While I'm heartened by the realization that all those feelings weren't caused by the mere "Hot!" chicken, I’m also doubting the possibility (or just my ability) to “eat through” the heat.
The first time we had hot chicken, it hurt. Then the burn subsided, and in my memory, my taste buds and other senses opened. Everything was clearer. After two times of only painful heat at Hattie B’s, I’m starting to think the first time, I just ate all the spicy skin and the rest of the food was less hot. My husband swears "eating through” is a real thing and has experienced it with spicy duck in Las Vegas.
I like feeling like my food is going to punch through my stomach. When I ask for extra-spicy, most restaurants disappoint. Hot chicken never does. Still, when that food keeps burning a hole in my stomach four hours later, it’s too much. So next time, Hattie B’s, I’ll take it “Hot!” (really, this time). Or maybe I’ll revisit Bolton’s.
Are you a hot chicken fan? What’s your favorite hot chicken place in Nashville?