“Ohh, this cabbage is so spicy!" a friend of mine recently exclaimed over dinner in uptown Minneapolis. Her Nordic eyes were ablaze and beginning to well with tears, bulging with the intensity of someone who had just plowed into her first bowl of kim chi. But this was no case of Korean cabbage. This was clearly laughter, and she was definitely making fun of me. I guess I can't say that I blame her. As a native New Mexican, I've developed a pretty cavalier attitude about how other states season their food. Heartfelt attempts at salsa and "chili" are cute at best, but ultimately all are met with my snorting rebukes. "Not enough heat," I boast, dousing my plate with hot sauce. "Yessir," this seems to say, "I am one spicy badass." So while visiting friends in Minnesota, I took it upon myself to prove that the Midwest is also the world capital of flavorless cuisine. How did I do this? By brazenly knocking back what was hands down the spiciest Bloody Mary of my life, choking on it and finally snorting out a nostril full of Clamato-infused magma onto my shirt. I swear to you, my lips were numb for 10 minutes. So, here it is, Minneapolis: I was wrong. Turns out the Midwest really can take the heat.
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