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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Chili enthusiasts fire up the night, despite record low July temperatures


Milk is served to chile connoisseurs

On a morning that began at 54 degrees F in July in Naperville, more than 90 chili enthusiasts weathered the cold at the “Hot as a Mutha” dinner at Heaven on Seven Monday night.

The ambient dining room fired up, quickly, as courses were served and palates tempered.

Heaven on Seven served seven progressively fiery courses inspired by chiles from Refining Fire in San Diego.  The chili enterprise is currently working on cultivating the hottest chile for a Guinness World Record and the restarurant procures the chilis from San Diego at peak ripeness – and for special dinners.

There’s an age old debate whether to drink water or milk when eating hot peppers loaded with capsaicin, the chemical compound giving chiles its heat that can produce a strong burning sensation. And, also how to spell chile!

“Water over milk,” explained Russ Hillard, General Manager of Heaven on Seven. “Small sips of water to wash away the (heat) … people tend to take big gulps and swish the water around their mouths which accentuates the heat. Chiles have oils which coat the mouth (when taking big gulps and swishing).”

Diners drank plenty of water, with some preferring milk, too. Hillard explained, “start with a glass of milk before dinner … and a little after to coat everything (the digestive tract).”

Chile enthusiast Ted Douvas

Chile enthusiast Ted Douvas returned for his fifth “Hot as a Mutha” dinner with heat-seeking friends.  “I’m in a total euphoric state,” explained Douvas, after four courses. His favorite course included the ham, swiss and chicken panini with the superhot Ghost Peppers.  “It had a crisp buttery texture with a hot hit.  It had a pool of hotness that was perfect.”

One diner, who wished to remain anonymous, demonstrated the reactive effects capsaicin has on the total-sweatful experience. He was the only one that braved a martini infused with hot peppers.

The effects of chili heat over several courses

Even dessert included heat. It featured (misleading to some) blueberry blasters with Trinidad Scorpion chilis, appearing as a perfectly powdered donut.  It put many novice diners, and veterans, over the top.

“Hot as a Mutha” dinners pop out three to four times a year at Heaven on Seven, 224 S Main St. in downtown Naperville.  They’re not for the faint of heart and usually sell out quickly, once announced.

Team Meat Sweats planned for the dinner months in advance

For more info, visit http://www.heavenonseven.com/naperville.html or call (630) 717-0777.

Editor’s Note: Though known for their Hot as a Mutha dinners, the New Orleans-style menu served up every day at Heaven on Seven features many more cool entrees than hot dishes. Of course, every table comes with a selection of fine hot sauces to whet any appetite.

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Timothy Penick
Timothy Penickhttp://www.sommologue.blogspot.com
Timothy Penick is a classically trained sommelier and writes about food,drink and wine from Naperville, Ill.

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