Eating a Carolina Reaper

Eating a Carolina Reaper

If you’re the kind of person that throws caution to the wind, jumps out of airplanes without checking their parachute, or if you simply eat ridiculous things for very little to no money then I have only this to say to you: I GET you. You’re dumb but I get you.

Having eaten a couple of Carolina Reaper Chilis (not one but two) I can tell you with certainty that eating them was mere child’s play…

Child’s play, that is, when compared to the severe aftermath of what happens to your body after you eat them!

You can see from the video above that my cherubic features are under intense fire after consuming the two super-hot chilis. It’s an interesting sensation eating something that painfully spicy. It’s not the pain itself that’s interesting, that straight fucking sucks. The intriguing part to me is simply what the body wants to do with itself once it has detected the very dumb and stupid thing you’ve done to it. 

Where does one even score these super-hot peppers? You can typically pick these up from places that sell the seeds. Cal Poly Pomona has such a program. For me, I have a guy who works one of the local Farmer’s Markets who grows these things. I purchased a baggy with a few peppers in them. I had Scotch Bonnets, a Reaper hybrid, along with a few Carolina Reapers.

First thing’s first…

The body knows something is wrong; it knows that the brain done messed up. The mouth is on fire, the throat, and tongue are not exempt from the torture either. All of your mouth instantly hates you, as the rest of your body is adjusting the new normal of pain and suffering you’ve just subjected it to.

The first thing you’re likely to notice, aside from feelings of instant karma and regret, is the onset of violent hiccuping and burping. It’s funny for a moment and then it’s not. As the pain burns on, you start producing tsunami-worthy levels of saliva, your nose begins dripping, whatever moisture is left in your body tries to escape in the form of tears and sweat. You’re a literal hot fucking mess! No one will ever right-swipe you on Tinder. Get outta here!

After four to six minutes of intense suffering, the heat levels begin to wane and things begin to cool down. You’ve made it you bad-ass Stud McMuffin! Good on you! No eat something nice and cool or drink some milk. You earned and your body is begging for it. Enjoy it, you heroic so-and-so because no one else is going to celebrate this victory with you. Instead, if like me, you posted a video like the one above so your loved ones could see, be prepared for messages telling you, “Hey buddy, that looked like it hurt. Please don’t do that again.” Or, “I hate seeing you suffer, please stop doing this shit.” It’s nice to know people care but it really puts a damper on what should be a joyous victory celebration.

Next thing’s next…

If you didn’t consume adequate amounts of casein (calcium, milk, etc) then you’ve got something to answer for from your stomach. The chilis finally make their way to your stomach. Even for a seasoned heat chaser a raw super-hot pepper can create serious issues and send them to the hospital.

You see, I went to bed — I foolishly thought I’d kicked those peppers right in the dick. The joke was on me as my stomach tried to digest them reapers and replied with Yeah, I’m gonna pass on these buddy. It’s your problem now. My stomach was rejecting the peppers I consumed and with good reason. I vomited the reapers. It was next level torture, like watching The Wicker Man, with my eyes pinned open while women from a cult poor fire ants on my body and let them bite me. I can now articulate how Nick Cage films make me feel, I have the tools now! What I threw up came up through my nose and it burned something fierce. I began sweating and hiccuping.

The stomach pain was so intense I called an on-call nurse to see if I was dying. She asked me some questions and said, “No, you’re not dying. What you’re feeling is stupidity and it hurts. Just ride it out fella.” I mean, she didn’t literally say that but the eye-rolling was audible (and justified).


After consuming the Reapers I can tell you that I’ve not suffered more physically from a poor life choice than I did then. Eating those two peppers by far is the dumbest thing I’ve done in the last week. I would not recommend to anyone. There are folks who can handle these peppers without issue, I’m not one of them. The people who can handle these peppers are made something different, they are the LeBron Jameses of spice eating, while I’m over here G-Leaguing that shit.

If you go forward and decide to eat one of these things don’t do it. Instead donate money to the Red Cross, reconsider your life, and cuddle something you love. I hereby hang up my tights and relinquish my title of Unofficial Pain and Suffering Correspondent for now, not forever.

Secret Stairs of LA Walk #4 – Mt. Washington

This Secret Stairs of LA Walk #4 is brought to you by Powdermilk Biscuits. Has your family tried em? Heavens they’re tasty!

This walk takes you through Mt. Washington, a neighborhood that sits high above Los Angeles. If you pay attention to the “delightfully” offensive (and fairly spot-on) hoodmaps…

you’ll find that the area sits right in the middle of LA’s most “gentrified war-zone,” rife with hipsters, pricey coffee shops, people who haven’t taken down their Feel the Bern signs, and steep-ass fucking streets.

So, a lot of these walks that meander about these well-to-do neighborhoods often have garage sales on the weekends. I scored a new set of dishes ( for $22 smacks to the urethra. Granted there is a missing mug and plate, but I’ll take it. Your mileage will vary, but that’s a good incentive to do these walks on the weekends as opposed to mid-week. Each time I’ve made purchases at a garage sale I scored something good and the sellers accepted Venmo. So be prepared with the cash or the Venmo.

You can take the Metro Gold Line and get off at the Southwest Museum station and walk a bit south down to Avenue 45.

There’s only a couple sets of stairs on this route, but it still clocks in at a distance of 3.2ish miles, so you’re still “putting in work.” Bring your water bottle and airy clothing. There are a lot of pretty views once you get up to Kemper and Kilbourn.

The walk ends up taking you through Elyria Canyon park as you round your way back to your starting point. It’s a dirt road right in the middle of your walk. It’s hard to get lost unless your’re the “try hard” type who gets lost a lot. Take the time to take in the views and a few deep breaths while you’re at it. Also take a moment to think about what you’re thankful for.

Photos from walk

Secret Stairs of LA Walk #2 – Eagle Rock

What a weekend it’s been! NFL players taking knees, political meltdowns, war, the threat of war, disasters, humanitarian crises the world over… Just typing words onto a screen is a chore when the mind is chock-full of so much stuff. Fuck it! We’re talking about some stairs, kiddos!!

Secret Stairs of LA Walk #2 — Eagle Rock

Welp, I didn’t get murdered on my first walk, which made me super eager to do walk number two!

I love this part of LA. I once heard someone say that “Los Angeles is basically nineteen neighborhoods looking for a city.” Doing my own research, however, it’s more like forty neighborhoods. Each has its own flavor if you will.

This walk clocks in pretty close to four miles according to my Garmin. So you’ll want to eat your Wheaties before embarking on this bit of Urban Hikery. The walk starts on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Townsend, in Eagle Rock. Fun fact: You can take Townsend south and it will take you into Highland Park and deposit you onto York—if you park, you can treat yourself to some mighty fine donuts at Donut Friend. Thank me later.

Before I get too far into this, I’d like to apologize to Charles Fleming. I said, in the words of Senator Clay Davis (a personal hero), from The Wire, some shameful shit about him in my first post in this series. I take it back, Fleming is not a turd burger and I love this book for the fact it indulges my love of aimless wandering without getting murdered—but now with seventy-two percent more purpose! Thanks, Chuck! If you haven’t done so, buy his book!


The first set of stairs you encounter is a bit curved and takes you up a good bit before depositing you out onto Neola Place. It’s a quiet and pretty street. The houses were colorful, with a mix of old craftsman and more modern structures. The wind was doing its thing, making the leaves dance and blowing someone’s awesome bbq into my suddenly hungry and jealous face.

At the end of Neola, is another staircase which descends into a dead-end street, with a school as the backdrop. Lots of fun artwork is installed on the fence grating surrounding the school (I took a couple photos).

The sound of children at play and people living their lives is what I notice—everyone seems to have a place to belong if that makes sense. The sun, by that point, was waiting to be relieved by the moon, I could still smell the residual of rain from earlier that day, as if the trees, bushes, grass, and assorted plants were taking a collective deep breath.


Yosemite is the next street you come up to, it’s a busy street that runs from Figueroa to Eagle Rock Blvd and beyond. There’s a tiny set of stairs connecting the split-level Oak Grove Dr. As I make my way over to Fig, I have to take the crosswalk and wait for a light, I’m just not that fast to run across the street. Not only is that a bad idea, it’s against the law! The next staircase, is built right into the side of a hill and it has a fancy mural painted on it, the Zen Mural I think it’s called. It’s a bit of a climb and a bit of a descent—what goes up must come down after all (I swear, I’m just as insufferable in person).

If you’re lucky, you can cross back over Fig, to the west side of the street and not get hit by a car. Real life Frogger is fucking terrifying! There was a taco stand setting up when I walked by, which was neat, however, they weren’t open for business just yet. They posted up next to another set of steps leading up to Eucalyptus and Buena Vista Dr. It’s a narrow road with a lot of old houses that have a wonderful view over parts of Eagle Rock and Occidental College. A lady, who was walking her dog, said, “Sir, I like your mustache very much!” So friendly! I twirled stache in appreciation like the savage villain that I am.

There’s another set of stairs as you descend from Buena Vista on Nolden. It was getting dark, so they are easy to miss if you’re heading down. There’s a railing there, too, if you’re the sort who tries to end their lives by falling on their face a lot. I’m that sort of person, fyi.

The last set of stairs is on Linda Rosa. They’re steep, as is the hill they’re built into. If this walk was a video game, then these stairs would be this level’s boss. Fear not, you made it this far so unless you want me to call you names and leave you garbage email, you better eat your steps and get to the top!

Then on your way back, you can hit up Trader Joe’s or walk another couple of blocks down to Casa Bianca, which Jonathan Gold said was one of his “99 places” he recommended you ought to eat at. It’s one of the better slices in the city, I think.

Gmap Pedometer Route

Photos from the walk

Secret Stairs of LA Walk #1 – La Loma Road.

Last weekend I went to Vroman’s in Pasadena to buy a book. I didn’t have anything in mind so I figured I’d just purchase the first thing of interest. On the recommended books wall I saw ‘Secret Stairs’ by Charles Fleming. It’s an LA Times bestseller about the various urban stairways throughout greater Los Angeles.

I haven’t read the book in its entirety but I’m pretty sure Fleming and I wouldn’t be friends—the guy seems like a judgemental turd burger or Debbie Downer’s more annoying and obnoxious cousin from the South. I base that judgment purely on his writing style and talking shit about peoples’ homes and noisy pets. Eff you, Chuck!

I’ve walked up a few of these historic staircases throughout Los Angeles—Echo Park and Silverlake are a couple that comes to mind. I’ve also walked a couple in Highland Park and in Mt. Washington. But I wanted to go through these walks in their entirety. As someone who likes to wander neighborhoods like a fucking madman that you tell your children not to take candy from, you can bet that I am going to be all over these walks!

Secret Stairs of LA Walk #1 — La Loma Road.

This is my first official walk from this book. I have to say, it’s a pretty neat walk. This particular walk apparently goes through Pasadena, just like Charles Fleming said! I also confirmed it on Google Maps.

Pro tip:

The maps in the Secret Stairs book are decent and accurate from what I’ve seen. Google Maps on mobile (and desktop) seem to know about these staircases, too. And if you know what to look for their not too hard to spot, although it is somewhat vague. See screenshot:

Google Maps displays steps on mobile devices. Pretty cool.
You can see stairs on the Google Maps app on mobile devices

The walk isn’t too long and I’d wager you could finish it in less than an hour; it clocks in just shy of 1.5 miles. There’s plenty of steps (oh and if you think I’m so OCD that I’m going to give you a step count on this you can instantly forget that notion!) and it’s a pretty and well-shaded walk. Given the suburban nature of the walk and how it starts out, it seems like you’re not going to see all that much but I was proven wrong. There are a lot of interesting homes to look at; it’s a pretty neighborhood and that there are so many stairs is surprising—I love how they just seem to pop out from nowhere.

I would advise bringing water or some other beverage with you.

Pro Tip 2:

Don’t be that asshole who wears jeans and a shirt on this thing. It’s rigorous enough that you’ll work-up a sweat. Don’t be like me—I looked like a goddamned hooligan who lost his clown suit en route to scaring the living shit out of every child in a two-mile radius! Wear breathable, moisture-wicking, material aka athletic wear.

Oh, here’s a Gmap Pedometer of the route. I’m pretty fucking cool, right?

Post-walk meals

I don’t really have any recommendations for places walkable from this walk’s starting point.

I’m a big fan of Little Flower cafe—it’s the kind of place you’d expect every grandmother to sit down and have her soup and sandwich (at least that’s what my Nana liked to do). Little Flower is east on Colorado blvd. and up the hill.

Eagle Rock Kitchen is the other direction on Colorado, a few miles down. They serve Filipino Comfort foods. The place is run by a Mother and Son combo. Get the ERK fries and Adobo chicken for fucks sake! Also, they use the .kitchen domain on their website. Strong!

If you’re feeling extra fancy and give zero fucks about how rank you smell after your rigorous walk then make a reservation at Little Beast. In all honesty, it’s pretty gross how many awesome places there are to eat through that particular corridor of Colorado Blvd. as it runs through Eagle Rock. You can’t really go wrong. Oh, if you’re feeling extra shitty about life and want to serious damage your arteries there’s Oinkster. I’m not going to link to it. I won’t be responsible for your rage shits or spontaneous heart explosion.

Pics along the way

Running Route from Pasadena to Union Station

One of the great things about living near Los Angeles is that, if you’re a runner, you can be a bad ass and run from one neighborhood and through to the next one and catch various glimpses of city life.

I run with the Snail’s Pace Running Academy out of Monrovia—it’s a swell group of folks if you’re looking for people to run with!

There’s a particular route that I enjoy running that starts at the Metro’s Pasadena Del Mar Station. It winds through Pasadena, into South Pasadena and into Highland Park eventually driving you to Union Station.

The route ends up being about ten miles if you don’t get lost af.

It’s a fun route and it’s relatively easy since the vast majority of it is downhill except for a stretch that goes through Highland Park up Avenue 60.

As you start through Pasadena you run through some nice parts of town and you get to see some nice houses. There’s a brief stretch that follows along the well-known Arroyo-Seco trail which results in a little trail running.

You’re running through the burbs mostly as you run through Pasadena and its hated Step Sibling, South Pasadena which is known for not having noisy lawnmowers. They’re totally green and proud and pretentious and I’m pretty sure that’s the town motto if it isn’t Fuck you, Pasadena!

Once you get into Highland Park the homes are a little less pristine and things get more urban. Running up avenue 60 is a real pain in the ass but worth it once you get to the top. Collis is a nice decline that seems to go on forever and a nice reminder that if you’re coasting through life you’re going downhill. Sage words from Mehrdad Mohdjtahedi.

As you run down Huntington and onto Mission, the neighborhoods are more worn, revealing the city’s working-class homes and businesses. It’s a stark contrast from where you begin your run in Pasadena. Eventually, you run alongside the “Piggyback” rail yard and along the fencing. At the time of this writing, you’ll no doubt see the myriad homeless encampments that have claimed their space here—it’s telling how pervasive the homeless epidemic in Los Angeles truly is and how the city and state are not doing enough to combat this problem to help those in the margins find solace and a safe space to live.

As you pass by the train yard eventually you’ll run by a row of auto repair shops blaring a variety of music before bumping into Cesar Chavez Blvd. You’ll turn right there and run along the north side of Union Station. Behold mother nature at its finest as you cross over the LA Reservoir (or river as it’s usually referred to)—during the final stretch you’ll run beneath an overpass, with cars whizzing by you kicking up all kinds of dirt and other stuff you don’t want to think about into your face, I encourage you to yell at the top of your lungs and hear the echo of your bad-assery as you emerge to the other side where Olivera Street is in sight.

Boom! You did it!!

Treat yourself to a nice coconut margarita at Casa La Golondrina. When you’re done hop on the Metro Gold Line and back to Del Mar Station as you give absolutely zero fucks about how fucking savage you smell, much to the disdain of your fellow passengers. You earned it!