If you’re one of those people who puts Sriracha or Tabasco Sauce on every meal you eat, this post has been written just for you. While I am not one to douse every meal with a fiery hot sauce, I do enjoy a good turn-it-up-a-notch party in my mouth from time to time, especially on breakfast dishes like tofu scrambles and potatoes.
With this in mind, I’d like to introduce you to a new vegan hot sauce company out of the west coast vegan mecca of Portland, Oregon. Just as the name suggests, the company was founded during some hard times, a time when founder, Luke Gillespie was struggling to make ends meet amidst the current economic downturn. As an experienced sous chef with a passion for the restaurant business, Luke created Hard Times Sauce Company. While still in their beginnings, their three hot sauce flavors have taken off in the Pacific Northwest and will soon be featured in a select few Whole Foods Markets in Oregon and Northern California. And, rumor has it that there are plans to create another seven new flavors, so stay tuned!
Agent Orange ~ “A sweet sauce with an undercover spice”
The mildest of the Hard Times Sauce Company’s flavors, Agent Orange is my favorite. I think it’s because the clementines, not oranges, have such a deliciously strong flavor. If you can’t handle too much spice this is the sauce for you, but beware like an agent, this sauce can sneak up on you. It’s perfect on just about anything, but I love it on faux meat. Come to think of it, I bet it would be excellent on the new Gardein Fishless Filets that are coming out this month (check the frozen section of your supermarket or health food store).
Soilent Green ~ “Better than people”
This sauce, so fabulously named after the 1970’s film, is the next hottest of the sauces. Unlike the cannibalistic movie, this green sauce does not contain human flesh, or flesh of any kind for that matter. It’s vegan, remember? Anyone who loves a good green sauce will die (get it?) for this spicy goodness! This green sauce goes great atop Tex Mex dishes like beans and rice or inside your favorite vegan quesadilla.
Foot High ~ “Even if you forget, you’ll remember”
And the final of the trio of sauces, Foot High, named after old metal pinup sign that was hanging above the stove during the first batch of Hard Times sauce, has the most fire. This red sauce is a perfect addition to your favorite dish that just isn’t quite hot enough. It makes a great addition to chili to give it that extra spicy kick.
If you’re anything like me, you can top your favorite potato dish with all three sauces.
I was lucky enough to sit down with owner, Luke, a couple months ago to not only learn more about Hard Times Sauce Company, but to also sample the three hot sauce flavors. Can I just say that I LOVE this company? They are small. They do everything by hand. They have catchy and fun packaging. All flavors are totally vegan and gluten free (it even says so on the bottles). The taste is great, not to mention each 8 ounce bottle is made from BPA free plastic. And, the price is right! All bottles currently retail for $6.00 each on their website. If you live in or near Portland, Oregon you can purchase bottles in several locations, just head on over to their location page to see where you can pick up in person.
Hard Times sauces are perfect for vegans and non-vegans alike and they are especially great for the hot sauce lover in your life. Because the sauces are so affordably priced, they make perfect gifts, and we all know that Father’s Day is just around the corner! No matter where you fall on the hot sauce scale, I know you’ll enjoy one, if not all, of these sauces which will truly put an extra pep in your cowgirl or cowboy step. Giddy up and go get your hot sauce on. Yeehaw!