Hot sauces of Portland 🔥

Hot sauces of Portland 🔥

If you love hot sauce, follow @wetwizardsauce, @hotmamasalsapdx, @kombuchahotsauce, and @secretaardvark on Instagram for more of this. ☝️


Portland’s food scene is known for food trucks, vegan fare, fusion cuisine, and more — but it might be time to add something else to that list: hot sauce. Portlanders seem to love it with everything from omelettes to tacos to pizza, and apparently even chocolate.

We caught up with four local hot sauce makers to find out what gives their favorite condiment a special kick and how their heat rates on a one to five 🔥 scale. Here’s what we learned.  


Hot sauce boss: Stacy Moritz

Her favorite sauce: Habañero Hot Sauce

“I use it every single day. We just got back from Sri Lanka and I brought it with me,” says Stacy, who founded the company. .

Fire rating: 🔥🔥 “I don’t do anything that burns your face off. We’re all about flavor.”

What’s in it? Habañero peppers, tomatoes, and carrots.

Fun fact: “This isn’t a very fun fact, but we’re the most stolen hot sauce in Portland,” Stacy says. “We’ve lost a lot of restaurants because they have small margins.” Thankfully, some places still keep it in stock – just behind the counter, she says.

Pairs best with: “Eggs and pizza — I don’t eat either one without it.”


Hot sauce boss: Karel Vitek

His favorite sauce: Their one and only Stinging Kombucha Hot Sauce

“It’s the first-ever kombucha hot sauce ever created,” says Karel, who created the hot sauce. Others who’ve “attempted to crack the recipe [found that] it explodes in the bottles because kombucha is alive and constantly hungry and eats sugar, which creates air.”

Fire rating: 🔥🔥 “After it hits you, it will kind of climb, then leave you alone, and then in five to 10 seconds, you don’t have the sensation of spiciness so you can still experience what you’re eating.”

What’s in it? Kombucha, habañero, jalapeño, cayenne, black pepper, chiles, eggplant, and red sauerkraut.

Fun fact: Although the hot sauce is advised to be refrigerated, Karel said he likes to keep his on the kitchen table so that it fizzes. “It doesn’t change the taste, but it gets a little hotter each time because as the kombucha eats sugar, the spicier it becomes,” he said.

Pairs best with: Eggs (Karel’s seven-year-old daughter puts “two tiny drops” on hers), roasted peppers, smoked chicken, rice, and tacos


Hot sauce boss: Molly Hart (a Bridgeliner ambassador)

Her favorite sauce: Los Roast Verde

“It’s really bright and punchy,” she says.

Fire rating: 🔥🔥🔥 “All our hot sauces are meant to be approachable,” she said. “They come with a powerful punch of flavor with just a little bit of heat that keeps you on your toes.”

What’s in it? New Mexico hatch chiles (roasted locally in St. Johns), lime juice, tomatillo, onions, garlic, and spices

Fun fact: “The weird anecdote I hear all the time is people saying ‘I didn’t like hot sauce until I tried yours.’”

Pairs best with: Tacos, breakfast sandwiches, and pizza


Hot sauce boss: Nikki Maria Guerrero

Her favorite sauce: El Tamarindo. “I love that sweet and sour note from the tamarindo,” says Nikki, the owner. “It doesn’t get enough play in American food.”

Fire rating: 🔥🔥🔥

What’s in it? Pickled serrano chiles, tamarindo, ginger, coriander, mustard seed, molasses, and maple syrup.

Fun fact: Nikki says she’s passionate about not using preservatives, fillers, or stabilizers. One happy discovery she made while creating El Tamarindo: tamarind is a natural preservative approved by federal regulators.

Pairs best with: Indian- and Asian-style foods and pupusas

Know of another awesome local hot sauce? Especially one that’s a ‘5’ on the fire scale? Hit reply to let us know about it.


How to keep Portland standing. There’s a decent chance Oregon will face a major earthquake this century, which is really bad news for a city with as many old brick buildings as Portland. Those buildings will need major retrofitting if they hope to survive The Really Big One, but no one is itching to pay for all that work. The Merc weighs the tradeoffs ahead of City Council’s high-stakes decision next month. (Portland Mercury)

Salem’s water problem, explained. If you’re wondering what cyanotoxins are, how they got in Salem’s water, and who needs to avoid tap water for a minute, KGW has answers, as well as the story behind yesterday’s over-the-top emergency alert that warned people to “prepare for action.” 😬 (KGW)

Sounding the alarm (on the way out the door). With a month left on the job, outgoing Portland Public Schools administrator Jerry Vincent has given his vote of confidence to superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero, but is firing a warning shot about the district’s “unrealistic” plans to renovate and rebuild several local schools. Vincent says PPS is understaffed and overcommitted, and he’s not confident the district can fix that any time soon. (Portland Tribune)

Apple, is that you? Apple’s downtown retail store is hard to miss, but apparently the rest of the company’s operations in Portland are seriously hush-hush. The O’s Mike Rogoway reports that Apple has opened a “secret” lab near Hillsboro and is poaching engineers from Intel — but what they’re working on, nobody seems to know. (OregonLive)


🍾 Drink mimosas for a cause (NE | Lloyd)

👩 Go to a country bar for Ladies Night (Tualatin)

⚾ Kick off the season with the Portland Pickles (SE | Lents)

🍲 Learn ‘delicious’ solutions to food waste (SE | Clinton)

🎤 Hear Pulitzer-winner Margo Jefferson talk community building (NW | Old Town)



🚜 Get happy hour drinks on a farm (Sherwood)

⛳ Welcome back 19th Hole’s outdoor mini-golf (Downtown)

🚴 Kick off Pedalpalooza with a group ride (SE | Richmond)

🌙 Shop local at the Portland Night Market – through Saturday (SE | Central Eastside) 🆕

🎙 Hear local storytellers perform live – through Saturday (SE | Clinton)

🗣 Join a free ‘Assembly’ on social practice – through Sunday (Downtown) 🆕

🌼 Catch the Festival of Flowers – through June 12 (Downtown)



🤓 Geek out at Portland State’s Archaeology Roadshow (Downtown)

🏃 Watch our director (and 99 other runners) chase a world record (Facebook Live) 🆕

👟 Don a costume for the 40th Starlight Run (Downtown)

🌟 Stay up for the Rose Festival’s Starlight Parade (Downtown)

😂 Go out for late-night comedy show (SE | Division) 🆕



😋 Make vegan cake — and eat it too (TBA)

🍾 Go to a Drag Queen Brunch (SE | Clinton)



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It’s official  Timbers striker Samuel Armenteros is MLS’s Goal of the Week winner for a second straight week. Check out the nifty spin-and-shoot maneuver that made Colorado’s defender look a fool.  

And with that, we’ll see you tomorrow. 👋

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