Face the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine and look to the right, and you’ll be well on your way to finding some of the hidden gems as far as food is concerned. For what’s sweet you’ll want to visit Claude’s Chocolates, but for lunch, pastries, and hot sauce, go to Hot Shot Bakery & Cafe.
If you are looking to bring home some datil pepper heat home, skip the touristy hot sauce shops and head for Hot Shot. Their sauces are for the datil pepper purist, one who doesn’t want lots of fruit or sweetness in their hot sauce. They’ve also got a case full of delicious pastries and a menu of sandwiches and paninis for a simple but tasty lunch.
They’re also home to the Annual Chocolate-Covered Datil Pepper Eating Contest, which will be held this year on April 16th. This is the sixth year of the contest. The record is 54 peppers eaten. Contestants should show up and sign in by 10:30am. The competition begins at 11am on the Cafe’s open air back deck. The winner receives a cash prize of $50, lunch for two at the Hot Shot Bakery & Cafe, and a keepsake gold fire extinguisher.
Whether you win or not, you might end up gracing the wall of pain/fame where datil pepper eaters have their datil eating commemorated.