On David’s 50th birthday we decided to head to Portland, Oregon to celebrate. While waiting for his mom, Sue, to come down to join us, we were watching Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel. The host, Adam, was at Salvador Molly’s in Portland taking the Great Balls of Fire Challenge. He was crying – that’s a signal to people who like spicy food that it’s an enjoyable experience. The challenge involves eating 5 habanero chile cheese fritters covered in habanero sauce. So that’s where we decided to go for the birthday dinner.
The other thing that intrigued us about this restaurant is the variety of foods provided. Dishes are offered from Jamaica, New Orleans, Hawaii, Ethiopia, and Thailand. David was very excited for the variety.
Getting there is a bit of a challenge if you aren’t familiar with the area and even though David knows Portland pretty well, we were glad I had my iPhone with GPS and Siri. It’s easy to pass the restaurant. It is just the end part of a very small strip mall. After we went in, we immediately order just the three Great Balls of Fire. The challenge requires a person to eat five of them. Even my spice-loving guys thought that might be a bit much. When they came, first David tried one, then Josh kinda licked at his. After a few seconds, David’s eyes started watering and he was sputtering a little. Josh had finally eaten his in one whole bite and started regretting it. I have to admit Sue ate half of one and just said it was very spicy but no crying from her. She’s no wimp!
Of course, I just watched and recorded their reactions on my phone. I’m no fool plus I don’t like much of anything. I asked the waiter, “What do you have for people who don’t like anything?” and he looked at me kinda funny. Sue said, “She’s not kidding, she doesn’t like anything.” So I ordered pulled-pork sliders with the BBQ sauce on the side. When it came, I just sniffed the BBQ sauce and my eyes started watering. I said to the waiter, “I know this is probably bad to ask here, but do you have just plain ‘ol ketchup?” They did.
David and Josh ordered Jambalaya. When it came, they took a few bites and David said, “I can’t taste anything yet.” But after a few more minutes, it finally went away, and he said the food was delicious. At one point we saw a baby outside on the deck waving his arms around. David said he must have tasted the Great Balls of Fire and was waving his arms, crying, and asking if anyone had seen his taste buds that had ran off down the street.
Fast forward a few months. We told my daughter, Brandy, and her fiancé, Jason, about Salvador Molly’s and she loves spicy food and he likes some of it, so they wanted to try it. This time we ordered five Great Balls of Fire, expecting everyone (except me, of course) to eat one. David and Jason each ate one. Brandy ate ½ of one, Josh ate the other half. After about a minute Brandy’s eyes started watering, then she started feeling hot all over, then her sinuses cleared. Jason did pretty good for a guy who doesn’t like very spicy things. He was disgusted though when he took a drink of his beer and said, “Now I can’t taste my Corona!” We laughed and told him that would pass.
Our meals came and everyone was pleased with their meals which were flavorful and spiced just right. Or maybe they just seemed that way in comparison to the Great Balls of Fire. This time I ordered the Chickidee Do Dah (chicken breast with mashed potatoes and carrots) off the kids menu. Yes, I most certainly am a wienie – that’s about as brave as I get.
Salvador Molly’s is a small restaurant, but has interesting, vibrant décor from around the world. The service is excellent and the ambiance is fun. Most of all, it’s just entertaining to watch other people eat the Great Balls of Fire!
Getting there: Located at 1523 SW Sunset Blvd., Portland, OR, 97239. Rather than give directions, if you don’t know the area, I recommend using your GPS. It is very confusing to get to.