Knowing my penchant for preparing and eating challenging foods, Last summer Lonely Planet asked me to pitch 'em some ideas for an upcoming title, The World's Best Spicy Foods (a spicy sister to the previous year's World's Best Street Foods, to which I also contributed four articles). As with Street Foods, the catch was that any dish I pitched I'd not only have to research the back-story for, but also be able to replicate on my own.
Which makes sense - how else could Lonely Planet in good confidence tell readers how to make the dishes themselves?
Anyway, I pitched six of my favorite dishes, four of which LP assigned me to write up. (The other two had already been assigned, proving that great minds think alike.)
With the exception of Chili Dogs (or Chile Dogs, and you'll have to purchase the book or go to New Mexico to understand the difference), The four dishes were all foods I'd discovered in my travels. I'm especially proud of my ability to replicate pitch-perfect Fish Head Curry (not once but twice) and create a Jamaican Jerk chicken dish that tasted pretty damned close to the best Jerk I've ever had (in Belize, naturally).
Center photo in collage is of me celebrating book's arrival by downing a bottle of Marie Sharps Hot Sauce. Other shots various pictures from research phase.