Taste, 416-649-0024, 375 Danforth. Rating: NNNNN
Hardcore chili heads who hit Gerry Mischuk 's Danforth condiment emporium, Taste , can numb tongues with sauces spiced up to 7.1 million Scoville units if they're willing to sign a liability waiver. The Scoville scale measures a pepper's potency (a jalapeño tickles your tongue with 8,000 units, while a blast of pepper spray tears you up with 2 million). Here, anything over 200,000 requires you to take responsibility for your palate's well-being. Customers eagerly sign on to take home bottles labelled Acid Rain, Alberta Crude and Liquid Stoopid. "I want the person I'm buying it for to cry," is a common customer refrain.
Taste's sampling bar is stocked with its own Herbery line of oils and vinegars to tang up salads and sautés minus the hot hot heat. Toothpick a bread cube and take it for a dip in Smokey BBQ Vinegar for fresh-off-the-summer-grill flavour, or go nutty with Spicy Thai Oil.
Mischuk's Picks : Bestselling garlic grapeseed oil, $10; additive- and preservative-free blueberry and balsamic vinegar salad zest, $10; Ring of Fire hot sauce from San Diego (award winner celebrating flavour over heat), $15.
Look for : Weekend cooking and tasting demos using Herbery products in treats like garlic grapeseed mashed potatoes; Niagara Vinegars' wine-based vinegars in vintage flavours like Baco Noir, Merlot and Ice Wine, arriving this spring.
Store hours : Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 11-6, Thursday and Friday 11-8, closed Monday.