|A Skyline Chili five-way topped with “Extreme Habanero” cheese.|
The currently trendy Habanero pepper, meaning “guy from Havana,” is said to be one of the hottest peppers on Earth, or at least one of the hottest you can buy at your average grocery store. Food scientists measure its heat in the range of 300,000 Scoville units, which is 10 times the strength of a Cayenne pepper, 100 times that of a jalapeño and a gazillion times that of a green bell pepper. Or, in less technical terms, “Wooooeeee!”
Naturally when I saw an advertisement for Skyline Chili’s EXTREME Habañero cheese – inscrutably spelled with a tilde over the “ñ,” an affectation not known in the pepper’s Cuban homeland – I had to try some right now. I reported for duty at the big, new Skyline on Dutchmans Lane and ordered a five-way with Ah-ba-nyair-oh. “Why the tilde?” I asked, mischievously. This got me a blank stare.
OK fine, never mind. The chili looked pretty much the same as the regular kind, with a nest of shredded yellow cheez on top. On close examination, though, it also had some grated white cheez mixed in. I took a bite. Hmm. I couldn’t detect any hot flavor at all. I asked my wife to try it. She chewed a little, then dissected out a few of the white bits and tried them. She looked thoughtful. “I think the white stuff is a little bit hot,” she said. I tried some of the white. No effect. I looked dubious. “No,” she said. “It’s definitely got some heat.” OK fine. But … EXTREME? Well, no.
I dosed mine up with some of the regular Tabasco-like Skyline Hot Sauce from the squeeze jar. It’s hot, and it worked. But “Extreme” Habañero? Gimme a Scoville break!
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