Hot. Incendiary. Extremely punishing.
Hot sauces seem to measure their appeal in Scoville units alone. Not these three, all from local producers. For them, chile is not the only spice:
Business-school pals Lalit Kalani and Dan Garblik based their Bandar Spicy Mango Chili Sauce ($4 for 7 ounces at Buyer's Best Friend) on Kalani's family pickle recipe. A hyperbolic tanginess hits, followed by a full complement of Indian spices, before the chiles begin to burn; it's a good match for grilled meats.
Sosu's Lisa Murphy concocts a variety of ketchups out of heirloom tomatoes, but her Srirachup ($6.50 for 9 ounces at Bi-Rite Market) is the one we dredge roast potatoes through. Made with Early Girl tomatoes and fermented Fresno chiles, the sauce has a bright acidity, softened with a little brown sugar, and measured, fruity heat.
Peter Fikaris, who has been making Pretty Dog Hot Sauce since 2012, is cooking them in the kitchens of Beauty's Bagel Shop during its off hours; the shop returns the favor by carrying his full product line. The Mole-Style Hot Sauce ($5 for 5 ounces) gives you a three-second window to savor the smoked salt, garlic and sweet spices before the habaneros kick in.