Without retail I forgot it was Christmas!

•December 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

So I have been out of retail for 4 months and I discovered yesterday that I forgot Christmas! Or rather forgot to shop for Christmas. I became a complete mess yesterday when I realized it was the 20th of December and I still needed to Christmas shop. I am usually done shopping by October. I blame on all on being out of retail.
In retail we started planning Christmas in January! In July your Christmas merchandise will start to trickle in, by October its all in. If you have a traditional store your decor will go up in late November. So I have been in retail for 25 years, and this internal calendar is built into me(or so I thought). Typically I pick up my gifts from October 1st though 31st. Not this year.
All of a sudden it was ,”oh Crap Thanksgiving is this week”, I agreed to host it back in August. Working in a school now I got all of thanksgiving week off si you would think I had enough time. It was a bit strange because I am usually submerged in Christmas decorations that entire week. But without that blatant signal I kinda forgot to shop. I have been absorbing the Christmas songs, parties and cheer. But my shopping alarms never went off.
Yesterday I ventured out to shop. The first parking lot was packed. I tried to escape which took me 20 minutes (just to get out).On to the next store, there where no shopping carts,literally,they where all in use. Forty-five minutes later and I escaped with only an arm full of gifts and the urge to run over a prius in my husband’s truck. At this point I gave up. I admit for a woman with 25 years of mall experience I caved in pretty easily. I headed for the supermarket and the gift card mall. But no one was buying food, they where all crowded around the frame of the gift card mall.
When my husband asked me what I got I threw up my hand and said,”Everyone is getting cash this year”, IF there is no line at the ATM! My Husband laughs, he likes to shop on Christmas eve. I have determined that I don’t like Christmas from this side of the counter,and my new years eve resolution will be to start my shopping in January! Continue reading ‘Without retail I forgot it was Christmas!’


See Ya Later

•July 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

To my Chile Pepper Family,

Yes, The news is true and I am saying good-bye. I will be leaving Hot Licks at the end of August. This was not an easy choice to make but it all boils down to something or rather 2 someones I love more than hot sauce, my kids.

I started in the spicey foods industry in 1995 (as a kid really) at Calido Chile Traders. The industry was mostly men back then and I was often called “Honey”, “sweetie”, and (gasp) “young lady”. No offense gentleman but many where out to shock me and try to burn this poor little girl. Hopefully the shock was not so transparent on my face. I met many wonderful people who believe and love what they do. Eventually I would meet Craig, the owner of Hot Licks, and go to work for him in 1998. I have been honored to be a part of the Hot Licks family for almost 16 years.

This industry has changed a lot in that time and I can truely say that I have loved my job. What is it they say, “Do something you love and you will never work a day in your life?” Its true!

I have spent half of my life selling Hot Sauces(insert big sigh). I even have a chile pepper tattoo (couldn’t get by with out one) as a souvenir.

I am not really good at good byes, I am more of a “see ya later” kinda girl. So if I don’t get around to giving you a personal call you will know why.

I am sitting her thinking of all of you who have taught me so much over the years (especially my boss Craig). I am a little teary thinking of those of you who have made me smile and laugh. Even of a couple of people who are no longer here but looking down from above. What a blessed girl I am. Thank ypu all for being such a wonderful, beautiful, part of my life.

I may be leaving the hot sauce shop but as you may know being a chilehead is a way of life. I will still have too many sauces in the fridge and force my husband into out of the way side trips on vacation to visit hot sauce stores. So, to you all, see ya later!


That’s just life.

•April 1, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A year ago we discovered that our daughter has Celiac’s .  What’s that?  It means that she can not eat Gluten.  It started with headaches, stomachaches and joint pains.  The first pediatrician said it was stress. WHat?!? she was only 3 at the time.  It was a long and twisty road that lead us to where we are today. It started with the dentist,he shocked me with the news of 10 cavities.  He also wanted to put her under to fix the teeth because she had chronic croup.  After consulting with the NEW pediatrician we where sent to a ENT, the ENT determined she did not have croup but acid reflux that caused the croup.  He suggested diet change no milk.  That didn’t seem to work so the Pediatrician said “it’s a long shot, but try no gluten”  after 2 weeks she was symptom free.


Pre- Gluten Free, we didn’t know these treats where making her sick.

We have adapted and learned a lot in the last year.  Things like where to get the best gluten free pizza, always carry gluten free snacks, Chuck e Cheese has a gluten free option and Knott’s Berry farm claims to have gluten free but really hasn’t a clue.  Bet you didn’t know that Reese peanut butter cups are gluten free but the Easter egg shaped ones are not (learned that the hard way).We have made some major changes in out kitchen like a 4-slice toaster, 2 slots are for gluten free only.  And some might think wow really? But to us, that’s just life.

Our extended family has probably suffered the most.  The have had to learn how to deal gluten free and it’s not really their problem.  We are blessed to have a sister who is also gluten free, she has taught us a lot and it helps Addison to know she is not the only one.  The rest of the family is wonderful and they are adapting and learning right along with us.  Addison’s 10 year old brother has had to make a lot of changes.  He can’t eat many things now because it’s “not fair” to his sister (there was a drastic reduction in McDonald’s trips this year),but he is such a loving kid he takes it all in stride because, that’s just life.

Today we are celebrating a bit with a trip to a grocery store that stocks a lot of gluten free foods then off to get a gluten free pizza.  I’m not the type of mom to whine about it, but looking back I can see we have made a lot of adjustments this last year.  Some have been small and some would seem huge to other people. I guess it’s a good thing this is mine and my daughter’s burden because we just adjust and move on because (say it with me) that’s just life!

P.S. for all of you chileheads, did you know almost all hot sauces are gluten free?


•April 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

If you have ever been in our Hot Licks Seaport Village location you know that it is a tiny little store (no bigger that a postage stamp).  We recently moved to a larger store which is exciting, but those of us who have worked at Hot Licks,forever will miss our little store.


Our tiny little store was home for 17 years

The store was literally packed to the rafters with Hot Sauces, and other spicy foods.  For over 17 years we have served our customers closely and loved every minute of it!  We spent our days giving out samples of our hot sauces while warning tall customers to watch the low hanging display and balancing hot sauces from rafters.  It has all become second nature to us.

Back in January our boss chose to close our sister store Carousel Music Box Company after many wonderful years in the Village.  When I was asked if we should move into that space I said YES!  Of course I would miss our wonderful little store,but seriously, I was busy thinking of all the things I would gain!   I could put the fax machine in the backroom instead of under the counter,  heck, we would have a backroom I could give out samples without standing in the doorway! AND THE SPACE!   I have been with Hot Licks for almost 14 years and have become very close to the staff, I mean REALLY CLOSE, when the store gets busy we often stand shoulder to shoulder just to get in one more customer.  Of course there is also the added value to the customer, I envision expanding the Barbecue and hot sauce selections as well as adding new items.  Just the thought of a new smelling store was like Christmas and My Birthday all rolled in one.


New Store, Hot Sauce Section


New sample bar

As you can imagine, it is not easy moving all those bottles of hot sauce.  We choose to stock the store as if we where opening somewhere new, from scratch. The store was painted, Two refrigerators installed and new cabinets where built and moved in. Product was priced and shelved, and supplies where placed where they are needed.  After the fist weekend we slowly moved the remaining merchandise and as of today we are DONE! I shed a little tear for our tiny store and a wear a big grin for the new store. I must admit I love opening a new Hot Licks store.  So far, many of you who have stopped by have commented that you like the new store and all the space.  It will take the staff and I some time to get used to the layout and such (15 years of stocking the same store makes some hard habits to break).  If you have not had time to stop by please stop in and see our new home.

Image So what’s next?  Many of you have asked when we will open our store on Pier 39. Things are moving forward, but over the years I have learned that these things take time (there are an amazing number of details and red tape when opening a new store).  These last few weeks where great practice for our trip up the coast.


•November 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup any flavor HOT LICKS SERRANO hot Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cans (12.5 oz. each) Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained or 2 cups shredded pre cooked chicken

HEAT oven to 350°F. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir until smooth.
MIX in salad dressing, HOT LICKS SERRANO Hot Sauce and cheese. Stir in chicken.
BAKE 20 min. or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

SoCal Sunburn

•May 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It’s Mothers day weekend so my cocktail will have hot sauce!  You however, can make yours without the Hot Sauce or should you prefer without alcohol.  The drink is actually called  a Gold Coast Sunburn but I keep calling it a SoCal Sunburn.  Afterall I was born and raised in Southern California so I just don’t get the Gold Coast thing.


One tall glass with ice

1 Once Vodka

5 drops to one 1tsp Hot Licks Serrano Extra Hot Hot Sauce

Orange Juice

Lemon Lime Soda


Fill glass 1/2 full of Lemon Lime Soda and 1/2 full of orange juice.  Add the Vodka and Hot Sauce and stir.  Garnish with a slice of orange and serve.

Cooking with Beer and Chilies

•May 1, 2012 • 2 Comments

I discovered a couple of recipes that use beer  in my ‘to cook’ file, I got a chance to try them out this weekend and they where wonderful!  If you get a chance to try them for yourself let me know what you thought of them.

Beer Marinated Chicken Tacos

What you need

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice.
  • 2 teaspoons Cayenne Powder ( I also used a little Habanero Powder)
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 Cups Pale Beer ( I used 1 bottle of Pacifico)
  • 3-4 Boneless skinless Chicken Breast
  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • Flour Tortillas, Warmed
  • Fresh Cut Cilantro leaves.
  • You can also use, Sour Cream, Shredded Mexican blend cheese, Chopped tomatoes.

What to do

In Gallon size ZIPLOC Bag, add Lime juice, Cayenne Powder and Chili Powder.  Slowly add beer stirring to mix ingredients.  Add the Chicken and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.


Marinate Chicken.

Ready to cook!  Preheat grill and remove chicken from bag.  Remember to dispose of extra marinade.  Grill Chicken until done. Cut Chicken into bite size pieces.  Fill tortillas with chicken and garnish  with remaining ingredients.


So what hot sauce do you use on these tacos?  Homemade Beer Hot Sauce of course!

What you need

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Serrano Chiles Stems removed and chopped
  • 5 Jalapeno Chiles, stems and seeds removed and devained
  • 12 oz Amber Ale (My hubby sacrificed a Full Sail amber ale for this recipe)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon sugar (although I forgot this and it still tastes good)

Simmer for 10 minutes.

What to do

In Sauce pan heat oil and add chiles over medium-high heat.  Stirring often until chiles are softened.  Add Garlic and cook for 1 minute stirring often.  Add the beer and remaining ingredients, simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Pour ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.  Store in air tight container and refrigerate.

Reminder: always wear gloves when handling chilies.  On this occasion I forgot my own rule only to have a painful reminder when I rubbed my eyes later!