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GOURMANDISE

Pass the fire extinguisher, Charlie

Hot, hotter, hottest is the claim being made for the newest spicy sauce on the market, Habanero Hot Sauce.

The label has a picture of a mushroom cloud on it. "A taste of Armageddon in every drop," the label warns (or promises). The label also claims the sauce has a "half life."

Believe it or not, Habanero Hot Sauce is a Western New York product (available at Wegmans), produced by Billy Richer of Clarence Center.

The main ingredient, scorching Habanero (or Scotch Bonnet) chiles, usually don't grow this far north.

Last summer, however, was perhaps the best growing season this area has seen in many years, so Richer was able to start a crop in his house, transplant it to his garden and harvest it. Exerting caution, of course. Never forget that this chile is lethal. When Richer cooks the sauce, he wears three pairs of latex gloves to protect his skin!

Pacific Rim food

This trendiest of all cuisines is on the menu next Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Saki's as a fund raiser for Planned Parenthood. Several food stations will be set up to keep you happy and full.

Items include: Sushi, Seared Pepper Tuna on Bruschetta, Pot Stickers, various types of Spring Rolls, Tea Smoked Duck with Hoisin Sauce, and cold Noodle Salads.

The goodies will be prepared by chef Paula Kapasz. Call 853-1779 for information.

Airplane food notes

Qantas, the Australian airline, serves emu -- a smaller cousin of the ostrich -- but only in first class.

Breakfast notes

Healthy Choice has just jumped into one of the few product categories it hasn't already infiltrated -- breakfast cereals.

ConAgra Inc., the makers of more than 300 Healthy Choice products, and cereal giant Kellogg USA Inc. recently announced a joint venture: a line of multigrain, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals with all the correct buzzwords (low in fat, high in fiber and containing vitamin E and beta carotene).

Healthy Choice From Kellogg's, as the new cereals are called, comes in squares, flakes and clusters and will be available nationwide this summer.

Some folks have had a sneak taste already, and here is what they say:

The squares are best. In the flakes and clusters, the taste of the grains gets lost in a veil of sugar and artificial flavors. Maybe, say the reviewers, Kellogg's should have left well enough alone.

And maybe General Mills should have, too, they add. That cereal giant announced it was licensing a candy name from the Hershey Foods Corp. for Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs, a corn-puff cereal for children.

Now we're waiting for a countermove from Kellogg's -- perhaps Healthy Choice Chocolate Kisses.

Just what we all need.

A Taste of Buffalo

Those optimistic folks who keep insisting summer will arrive here will definitely take heart with the news that the 11th annual Taste of Buffalo will be held July 9 and 10 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in its usual place on Main Street.

This year, however, the event will have a different look.

The 1994 Taste will invite guests to step into the cinematic world with a theme of "Lights, Camera, Action -- The Taste Goes Hollywood." Stages, tickets and restaurant booths will be decorated to carry out the theme; community theater groups are being invited to participate, and restaurants will be competing for a grand prize that includes a Hollywood travel package for the best themed booth.

So button up your overcoat and come on down!

A really hot hot line

Continuing on this optimistic note, it soon will be time to drag out the old barbecue. With that in mind, Weber Grills has launched a toll-free barbecue hot line that you can call for answers to questions ranging from how to fire up the coals to how to make some wonderful new dish.

The Weber Grill Line, (800) 474-5568, will operate through July 8; hours are noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, as well as -- need you ask? -- Memorial Day and July Fourth.

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