Letterpress List No. 53: Heat Index

We were being boarded by a buccaneer:

Mick T. Pirate was rapping at the door.

And I mean rapping. Mick arrived in a burst of words, bandanna flying as he brushed past Shop Boy for an impromptu meeting with Mary. Jolly Roger indeed.

Now, Shop Boy had heard of this dude and his Whiskey Island Pirate Shop a knot or so southeast of Typecast Press in Baltimore. (You can spy it from the crow’s nest.) But wow. There’s a character. Former Hollywood stunt man turned spice king.

Anyway, Mick’s the driving force — good word there — behind the hot sauces about to be launched at Woodberry Kitchen. We’re printing letterpress labels. All local ingredients, which is Woodberry owner/chef Spike Gjerde’s “thing.” We tried the red sauce last night. Whew! Good stuff, matey.

True story: We were entertaining out-of-town guests from Boise, Amy Stahl and her then boyfriend and now husband Kevin Learned. They said they were up for something ethnic, so we hauled them over to Thai Landing on Charles Street, one of our favorites. Unassuming place, most nights presided over by “Charlie” — certainly not his real name, much as “Pirate” is not Mick’s surname. Charlie’s a kidder. So as he quizzed our guests about the preferred, ahem, temperature of their Thai food choices, he turned to Shop Boy and said, “Now, I know you … you like hot-hot. Maybe I bring your friends ‘Idaho hot.’ ”

We giggled. (It should be noted here that Mary likes it even spicier than Shop Boy does.)

But you know how macho guys can be, right? Well, Mr. Idaho Hot wanted the dish however it was customarily served. “OK,” Charlie said, winking.

Shop Boy has this new favorite quote. Not to talk baseball or anything, but it feels right:

“There are two kinds of players in this game — those that are humbled, and those that are about to be.” Clint Hurdle, manager, Colorado Rockies

Well, um, “Man overboard!” The stuff that Charlie brought had our motley crew diving into the water.

All except Mary, of course. She and Charlie had a good laugh. And Kevin was a very good sport, picking up the tab if I remember correctly.

Anyway, Spike’s not sure when the Woodberry sauce might be available on his tables or for sale, but it won’t be long. Meanwhile, the ingredients in the jars will keep commingling and getting hotter. Maybe not Thai Landing hot, but maybe we should add a skull and crossbones to the label to warn any swashbuckling diners out there not to bite off more than they can chew.

Letterpress List No. 53

Is your tongue singing from sampling the local cuisine? How about an hour’s worth of music to suck ice cubes by? (Man, that stings.) Most of these tunes should be available in the usual places. Hot and spicy video links are to YouTube.

Feeling Yourself DisintegrateThe Flaming Lips (Making faces and reaching for coolant.)
La TorturaShakira (Colombia hot.)
My Own Private Idahothe B-52s (Never been there, but Boise seems cool enough.)
Stomach vs. HeartBarenaked Ladies (From the album Born on a Pirate Ship, natch.)
Come Sail AwayStyx (The pirate way.)
Rocky Mountain WayJoe Walsh (Good Mexican food there.)
Rapper’s Delightthe Sugar Hill Gang (This is not a test.)
I Don’t Need No DoctorHumble Pie (Wait an hour or two.)
Live WireMotley Crue (Forget putting the sauce on food. They’d put it in a syringe.)
Message in a Bottlethe Police (Warning!)
Red RainPeter Gabriel (A couple of drops is all it takes.)
Fire Down BelowBob Seger (And it’s spreading.)
Locomotive BreathJethro Tull (Stand back.)
No Diggity Blackstreet (No doubt it’s hot. Tell ’em, Dre.)
The Heat Is OnGlenn Frey (Sizzle fo shizzle. OK, stop it, Shop Boy.)
Peace Sells (But Who’s Buying?)Megadeth (Whaddaya mean it’s too hot to eat? I eat it all the time.)
Fire Woman the Cult (Twitchin’ like a cat on a hot tin shack. Lord have mercy.)
Skull and CrossbonesStormwitch (Poor man’s Iron Maiden, or tries to be.)
Rattlin’ BonesKasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson (Too mellow for Kasey, in Shop Boy’s humble opinion, but it’s good to hear her any old time.)

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