Chef Peter McAndrews blends French, African and Sicilian flavors at this Italian spot, which offers seasonal dishes with fresh seafood and housemade pastas. On Heat Seekers, Aaron Sanchez tried their harissa, a "deep, earthy" North African chile paste that goes into many of the dishes on the menu.
This family-owned spot serves an unorthodox cheese steak — topped with jalapeno cheddar cheese, grilled onions and Buffalo sauce. "The Heater" will "bring sweat to your brow." On Heat Seekers, owner Denise Campo said that if you're in the mood for "hot and tangy," this sandwich is for you.
If you're looking for Cajun cooking in downtown Chicago, head to Heaven on Seven. The Southern-style food with a twist has been pleasing locals for more than 20 years. Try the Voodoo Shrimp, which Aaron Sanchez says is "packed with flavor," or the Hot As a Mutha pasta made with habanero peppers.
The Hell Burger at Rooster's Roadhouse is so hot you'll need to sign a waiver before chomping down on this slider. Roger Mooking and Aarón Sánchez did, yet even these Heat Seeker pros reached for the ice cream. Luckily, Rooster also offers less-spicy barbecue, like pulled pork nachos.
For a bite of Jamaican heat, Aaron Sanchez and Roger Mooking trek to Aunt I's, named by the late owner's mother who knew "how to make a wicked jerk chicken." The recipe uses fiery Scotch bonnet peppers and allspice rub in every crevice. But the key to the popular oxtail stew remains a secret.
Pay a visit to Big Al's, the self-proclaimed "home of the crawfish king," for some Cajun-country crawfish boils and Southern-style seafood dishes. New Orleans locals can't get enough of the crawfish, which are boiled in a secret mix of spices that includes cayenne pepper. Aarón Sánchez calls them "out of sight."
Sample house-smoked sausage, craft beer and homemade pizzas at Crescent City Pie & Sausage, a New Orleans favorite. If you're looking for spicy eats, try the Hot Sausage Po' Boy or signature Bad Bart's Black Jambalaya, and wash it down with a raspberry beer float that Roger Mooking calls "a winner."
Each bite of Rice & Company's Fire Breathing Dragon Roll delivers a mountain of spice as Heat Seekers Aaron Sanchez and Roger Mooking discovered. Besides heat, Rice & Company excels in sweet and smooth with their impressive menu of sake and signature cocktails such as Lychee-Tini and Sake Sangria.
A neighborhood bar-restaurant in Nashville, Mad Donna's is known for a great brunch and solid drinks. After sifting through the many mac-and-cheese dishes on its menu, the Heat Seekers hosts chose the spicy Habanero. A glass of milk is right under it on the menu, so you have relief close at hand.
A visit to Kakawa will change the way you look at chocolate. The staff will happily explain the food's history or take you on a tasting tour of different styles of chocolate. Stop in for truffles, chocolate elixirs, homemade ice cream or spicy drinking chocolate.
Known for decidedly nontraditional Chicago-style pizzas, Bricks has become a local favorite for thin crust pies with creative toppings. Aaron Sanchez and Roger Mooking tried the Super Painful Pizza, a 10 inch pie with a hot sauce base that's topped with spicy pepperoni and two types of hot peppers.
Diggity Doughnuts began in 2010 when owner Ambergre Sloan embarked on a mission to build a better doughnut. She quickly caught the eye of Heat Seekers hosts Roger Mooking and Aaron Sanchez, who called her spicy peanut butter and Sriracha combo "spectacular."
Legend has it that Thai Place is known in K.C. for throwing down serious heat. It's "go hot or go home." For the true heat experience, try Ted's Famous Pad Thai made Thai hot, or attempt a Thai Hot Challenge. For those not into spicy, Thai Place has an entire menu of authentic, non-spicy dishes.
Feeling spicy? Try the chile-spiked oyster shooter, a "kicked-up" combination of oysters, horseradish and black pepper vodka. For dinner, there are plenty of mouthwatering, less spicy options, including lobster rolls, steamed littleneck clams in white wine and garlic, and grilled mahi mahi tacos.
On Food Network's Heat Seekers, Aaron Sanchez and Roger Mooking find fiery Mango Pepper Shrimp at Mama Jamaica's in San Diego, CA, a local cafe serving up spicy island classics.