Featuring many more burger options than the comparably Spartan cheeseburger, KC Smoke Burger boasts a long list of meaty favorites, like the Gyros Smoke, Hawaiian, Danger Zone and Monster burgers. All come flamed, grilled and smoked to perfection, and all are served with a heap of crispy fries.
For a seriously hot drink that might just turn out to be a love potion, head to Mercadito Midtown in Miami and have a Vato Loco. Stay for traditional Mexican food mixed with seasonal and local sensibilities, and you've got a perfect date night.
Music and food go hand in hand at this cozy Southern soul food joint and music venue. Chef Keith Hicks serves steak, seafood and comfort food dishes like habanero-spiced Flash-Fried "Skrimpz," Texas-style Chicken "Wangs," and shrimp and grits topped with a fried egg to enjoy over live entertainment.
At this Los Angeles taqueria, tender, slow-cooked meats are piled into freshly pressed corn tortillas, which Aaron Sanchez said "burst with corn flavor." He and Roger Mooking recommend the "spiciest taco on the menu" -- cochinita pibil -- which customers can order on a spiciness scale of 1 to 10.
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.
This family-run, vegan Thai restaurant boasts some of the hottest dishes in Seattle. Try the Tom Yum Soup or the famous Drunken Mushroom Noodles, stir-fried with three kinds of mushrooms, garlic and chile. Roger Mooking says the noodles "start off smooth and then hit you with the heat."
Dig into BBQ dishes with a kick at Cowgirl. Spike up the spice factor with the smoking-hot pulled pork sandwich, or indulge in the Five Pepper Nachos with Salsa Diablo (add brisket for extra decadence). The Frito Pie is also a standout, complete with Fritos, chili, sour cream, cheese and jalapenos.
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.
Try the "legendary" Diablo Burger made with Kobe beef, pepper Jack, bacon and roasted habanero devil hot sauce for what Aaron Sanchez calls "a whole different level of heat." The tavern also serves grilled cheese sandwiches, flatbread pizzas and a monthly rotation of featured wine and craft beer.
This neighborhood pub with a nostalgic, '70s vibe is a Seattle favorite for American fare with a twist. Kick up your breakfast with the Bloody Joe: eggs poached in a habanero pepper and bloody Mary mix, served over cheesy grits. Aaron Sanchez calls the dish "not only flavorful but has great spice."
In Old Town San Diego, spacious Cafe Coyote boasts Spanish architecture, an outdoor courtyard with a fountain, traditional music, and authentic Mexican food. As a certified Tequila House, the Cantina at Cafe Coyote knows its drinks, and dishes like Carne Asada and Carnitas are big favorites.
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.
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."
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."
At family-owned and operated Zarda Bar-B-Q, "things are definitely, definitely hot," and the two hottest items on the menu, Brisket Burnt Ends and Baked Beans with Creeper Sauce, come on one plate. But fear not: Heat Seekers hosts Aaron Sanchez and Roger Mooking say their flavor is "breathtaking."