Lenny Awards – Best Spicy Products of 2018

CaJohn and Buddah with Lenny Award

Welcome to the 9th Annual Lenny Awards. We are going through major changes this year, and will update you in the days ahead. First and foremost, the Lenny Awards are dedicated to my Dad who passed away on this date, December 19th, 2010. He was a man that would help people whenever he could, just because he could. These awards are a tribute to him, Leonard “Lenny” Goldenberg, and the way he unselfishly lived his life for others, even total strangers. I give these awards out for the best spicy products that I encountered from Last Year’s Lenny Awards through this year, 2018.

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Paqui One Chip Challenge

Video of yours truly attempting the Paqui…well you can read the headline. It is a great tasting tortilla chip company that has gotten authority from Ed Currie and his Puckerbutt Pepper Company to create the world’s hottest tortilla chip. The Smokin’ Ed Carolina Reaper is presently the Guinness Book of World Records record holder as the world’s hottest chile pepper. This chip

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Happy Holidays from Chilehead Monthly

Chilehead Monthly Logo December 15


Still dealing with the Thanksgiving Feast-Shopping-lag? You have your turkey leftovers and sides you are still munching on, trying decide if you ever want to eat like this again, right? Then all the emails that come to your inbox shoving sale after sale down your throat. Thinking that if the 2 afternoon emails from Amazon were better than the 3 from the morning. Not to mention the 20-30 since Thursday. If you have ever bought anything, you got reminded that you were a customer that needed reminding over and over again. I do not know about you, but the more I got, the less I wanted to buy from them. Even some of the small makers in our community flooded my inbox. Not just from their Facebook posts every day, but from their sale emails. Did they think I did not see the first 5?

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September is Chilehead Month

Chilehead Monthly September logo


Before we get going on our 2nd newsletter, I wanted to dedicate this month’s newsletter to our good friends Merle and Diana from Hellfire Hot Sauce in the memory of their 2 sons Mike and Jim who were lost in a fatal car crash last Wednesday. I can not imagine how horrible it would be to lose two children on the same day. There are little words you can use to console them at this time as the pain must be unbearable. Yet, I encourage you to leave them your condolences on their company Facebook page HERE and show them the love this community has to give.

When I lost my Dad to Cancer in 2010, I decided to honor him with a tribute called the Lenny Award that I give out on every December 19th to the best products of the year. December 19th is the day he passed away. I chose to celebrate his life, than to mourn his death. It will be a while before Merle and Diana can feel whole again, but I urge them to follow in my footsteps and celebrate their lives with your own special tribute. Something you know they would be proud to be associated with. I am so sorry for your loss, as well as all the people that personally loved your boys. Good people like yourselves should not have to endure such pain and sorrow. You know if you ever need an ear, I am but a call away my friends.


As they say, the show must go on. Welcome to the September newsletter for Chilehead Monthly…

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The Great Chicago Vacation & Fiery Festival

Official hot sauce

At the beginning of the year when I had to choose my vacation time at work, I decided to choose the 2 weeks surrounding the Great Chicago Fiery Foods Fest. My vacation started with my birthday which was another incentive, but I had not been to Chicago in 20+ years. When I was there the first time, I had a limited stay, did a Cubs’ baseball game, did a double-decker bus tour, but the food we had was Michael Jordan’s restaurant and fast food. The second visit was for a wedding in Kalamazoo, MI and we only flew into Chicago and stayed one night for a bachelor’s party. Being a foodie I wanted to explore the best of deep dish pizza and Italian Beef Sammiches this time around. Having a fiery food festival build around my visit was my kind of vacation.

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Welcome to Chilehead Monthly

Chilehead Monthly Logo 400 x 400

For those that do not know me, I am Al “Buddah” Goldenberg, the owner of ILoveItSpicy.com and the creator of this very Chilehead Monthly newsletter. I wanted to create a newsletter that pulls in some of the very talented individuals that make up the ever-growing Chilehead Community. I have asked some people you will know from Facebook or YouTube, and others you might not know of at first, but you will get to know through their columns they will write to you each and every month. Each Writer we have assembled here has some form of passion that drives them. I have asked each writer to give us a little of that in this month’s column. We wanted introductions and that is what we are giving you. I asked for some spicy recipe ideas and we have a few of those as well. I even got 2 spicy product makers to talk about their experiences in 2 of the big fiery food festivals in July. You can check out our recently updated Spicy Events Schedule HERE.

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Interview with Dave Hirschkop of Dave’s Gourmet

This is an interview I did back on July 2011 with the great Dave Hirschkop. For those not in the know, he is the maker of the infamous Dave’s Insanity Sauce. Dave is now being going to be inducted into the Hot Sauce Hall of Fame this Saturday April 25th, 2015 at the NYC Hot Sauce Expo. I have the extreme honor to introduce Dave at the ceremony. So I figure why not dig up the old interview and share it with those of you that have never seen it. My apologies for talking way too much. No I am not on speed or any other drugs. That is just me babbling as I normally do. I was not prepared for the interview, and you can tell by my questions, I was truly winging it. Bear with those issues, as Dave shares much with me over the course of the interview. Thanks to Dave for giving me the time.

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Sean “Boyardee” Boley does his last review for ILoveItSpicy

Chef Boyardee Spicy Ravioli

In a few days, Sean will be moving out of the Buddah castle and to permanently be with his new blushing bride, Anna. The two look perfect for each other, and while I will miss having Sean’s presence around the house I wish him and Anna all the best for their future. Sean has gone from roomie to cartoonist to guinea pig to lawn-mowing Albino Nipple Boy to more than a friend to me. He will sorely be missed around the house. With that said, I thought Sean and I could do one last video review and there is no better product review that we could do than this one. As you will soon see and hear for yourselves why Chef Boyardee Spicy and Extra Spicy Beef Ravioli is like ambrosia of the Gods to this man. So please give the best of luck to Sean as he leaves ILoveItSpicy for bigger and better things including playing music as DJ Bobo!

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Interview: The Machine & Ted the Fire Breathing Idiot

Ted & The Machine


I got the honor to interview both Steve “The Machine” Smallwood & Ted the Fire Breathing Idiot a few hours before they were to attempt the Guinness Book of World Record for fastest eating time for the World’s Hottest Chile Pepper, Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper. I got a very honest take on their fears and trepidation on being on stage and taking on all that heat. We also discuss the NYC Hot Sauce Expo and some of their new favorites they discovered while there. LOTS AND LOTS of call-outs of companies between the 3 of us. You might be surprised how many milder hot sauces these guys recommend. Of course, I too chime in with a few of my own. It is a real fun interview, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did in doing it. Enjoy!

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Buddah’s 2013 Ultimate Chilehead Roadtrip – Part 4


September 23, 2013

The Sauce Goddess, Jennifer Reynolds and I headed from Stafford, Texas to Lafayette, Louisiana, (Home of the Ragin’ Cajuns), to meet up with Dana Romero for lunch. For those of you that do not know Dana Romero, he is the man in charge of creating the 1st ever Louisiana Hot Sauce Festival. He wanted to show us a good time, treat us for a nice Cajun lunch and get some feedback on the future festival grounds which will kick off on July 19-20, 2014. I have been exchanging messages with Dana for a few months, but I never had met him before. As I told you in the previous parts of my road trip, he volunteered as a salsa judge. Not only that he helped me quite a bit in adding up the judging scores of all 70 entries. With 7 judges, that is 490 scores to tabulate. I was extremely grateful for the help he gave me.

Jen and I each had our own transportation, and once Dana told us where to meet, we set off to meet at PreJeans Restaurant in Lafayette, LA. I let Dana choose my meal, as I wanted to have something Cajun and special. He hit a home run, and it was a dish I am not sure I would’ve ordered reading it from the menu. The dish was called Catfish Grand Chenier, and it one of the best meals I had on my 2 week trip. Here is the description as it is written on the Prejeans’ menu along with a picture of the dish.

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Buddah’s Spicy Diet Journey – Week 11

Contemplating life

See that picture of me. It was taken when I was letting my emotions get the better of me. It happens to each one of us, especially when we are dieting. What do we do when life has a strangle hold on our psyche? It isn’t easy staying on course when you are trying to lose weight and you eat to make yourself feel better. Anyone who has ever been there knows that satisfied feeling is fleeting. A temporary fix much like a drug-induced euphoria. I share some tips on what to do in my new video to avoid emotional eating. Hopefully, you can use this knowledge to your advantage if it happens to you on your diet.

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Buddah’s 2013 Ultimate Chilehead Roadtrip – Part 2

iBurn mural outside

September 20, 2013

I owe a lot of my sanity on this trip to the Sauce Goddess, Jennifer Reynolds. I was still having personal issues that I could not drop, and she told me to focus on where I was and have a good time with the people around you. Jennifer and I shared hotel rooms in Houston, TX as well as New Iberia and Lafayette, LA. We did the tourism thing in Louisiana and I had a great time with her company. Thanks very much Jen, you were an awesome travel mate. Our Friday schedule immediately became a bit sketchy because of the weather. It was raining and it was going to get worse and worse as a big storm was heading our way. Friday was setup day at the Stafford Centre for the Houston Hot Sauce Festival, so it was a matter of choosing the best time to dance between the raindrops.

Both Jen and I decided to visit the new iBurn brick and mortar hot sauce store before helping her setup her booth. The look of the store was amazing. So clean and professional looking. The murals were so very artistic. See the pic at the top for the outside mural and part of the inside mural is below. I really liked the way the bottles were child-protected by these small metal bar guards. While that was good against bottles tipping, the appearance was extremely sharp and appealing. Proprietors, as well as newlyweds, James and Amy Beck/Wreck had started selling products last year online and having such a widely successful show close by, they are going to support the festival by bringing in some of the vendors that appear. The idea is to tell the attendees at the show if you like the vendor’s products you will be able to reload at iBurn. Many of the vendors at the show gave away iBurn postcards to push home that point. Good marketing.

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Buddah’s 2013 Ultimate Chilehead Roadtrip – Part 1

Ragin Cajun Hat

My trip began at my place of work in Reston, VA, continued to Houston, TX and then onward to New Orleans. I got to take part in 2 shows, visited with some chilehead friends along the way in my travels and got to spend some quality time with a lot of great people. I did close to 3,000 miles, and it was a trip I will never forget until the day my brain stops functioning. This trip changed me in a very good way, but it wasn’t without some highs and lows. In the coming days, I will tell you much of what I experienced, the good and the bad. I have a lot of people to thank and praise, so please allow me that license to kiss a little booty from time to time. So let me get going with how it all started…

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Buddah’s Spicy Diet Journey – Week 7-9

Tourist T-Shirts in Nawlins

After a stressful month and a 1/2 with so many ups and downs I thought I was a flight of stairs. The vacation I took by car was the detox from my worries and stress that I needed. Being alone in my travels for many of the longer stints allowed me to just veg out. The times I spent with my chilehead brethren was exactly what I needed in this time in my life. I will never forget all that was done for me and the friendships I have forged that will be long-lasting. This trip changed me. In the coming days I will recount the love I felt from this great community on my long chilehead adventure.

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Buddah’s Ultimate Chilehead Road Trip Part 2

Marketing 101

The start of every awesome journey must have an amazing end. So we begin on mine. I am taking off after work at high noon. Depending how grubby I get at work, I might head home first for a quick shower and change. Otherwise I hit the open road an hour later at worst. My first goal is Nashville, TN, but am I biting off more than I can chew? Having to get up at 3am for work is the fly in the ointment here, and my 5 hour energy drink only goes so far when you have to travel almost 10 hours.
Leesburg, VA to Nashville, TN
636.50 miles
Approximate travel time:
9 hours 38 minutes

Okay, so I might be stopping off earlier than I want to, but I still have to go as far as I can go. I usually go to sleep at 9-10pm, so if I stay the course with only small pit stops, 10 hours will get me there at 10-11pm. A little past my sleep time. At any rate, I am meeting Jim O’Brien of Crazy Good Sauces at 11:30am in Memphis, TN for lunch.
Nashville, TN to Memphis, TN
212.26 miles
Approximate travel time:
3 hours 11 minutes

So if I do make it to Nashville by my schedule, then I will need to be up and ready to drive at 8am to meet Jim. Jim knows his BBQ since he knows Memphis quite well. He tried to convince me to join him at one of his favorite BBQ staples. Pigheaded as I am (pun intended), I want to go to the place where I had the best plate of ribs of my life, the Rum Boogie Cafe. Not listed on most BBQ desired destination stops, I can help but want to experience something I have longed for since my trip about 15 years ago. I am not going to be making many trips to Memphis, and this very well might be my last. So I have to go back dang-nabbit! Of course, I am also on my diet, and BBQ is a weakness, so there will be no full rack of ribs for me. If I can get a child’s plate with a side salad, I might be doing that. Come all the way to my favorite rib joint, and get a salad? Yes, I am that focused on losing weight. A vacation is meant to be enjoyed, but it is temporary, and I have to be able to get home with my pants still fitting around my waist.

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