Takeaway Truth: Mad Mex Spicy Habanero Steak Quesadilla

Takeaway Truth is an occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: Mad Mex's Habanero Steak Quesadilla. (Plus Taste Test!)

If you're eager to skirt on the extreme side of Mesoamerican cuisine, Mad Mex has launched two super-spicy sauces that can be added to any menu item — the Habanero/Salsa Picante and the Carolina Reaper chili sauce. These sauces pack in an eye-watering 550,000 and 2.2 million Scoville units respectively, which is insanely hot for a mainstream fast food franchise. (By contrast, Mad Mex's next hottest sauce is a mere 50,000 Scoville units.)

In a presumed bid to maximise social media hype, the sauces will only be available for two weeks apiece. You can get the Carolina Reaper chili sauce between 12th and 23rd of October. The Salsa Picante launched on 28 September and will available until October 11.

Deciding to kill two birds with one spicy stone, we taste-tested the new Salsa Picante sauce while also giving Mad Mex's Quesadilla the Takeaway Truth treatment. One was a success. The other failed miserably.

Here's what the Mad Mex Quesadilla looks like on the poster:

And here's what we got served:

Here's a side-by-side comparison (click to enlarge):

With apologies to our Spanish-speaking readers: Cagaste y saltaste en la caca!!!

Seriously; what happened? I'm struggling to think of a worse looking meal in the history of Takeaway Truth. Subway's Mexican Chicken Flatbread comes close, as does Hungry Jack’s Deluxe Country Burger — but I think this horror show may have them both beat.

It looks like Gilbert Kane's ruptured stomach after the xenomorph burst through it in Alien — except a few weeks later, after decomposition set in. Somebody made this and thought it was worth $10.95. Jesus.

Thankfully, this Mexican train wreck tasted a lot better than it looked. I'm a huge fan of hot sauces and the Salsa Picante certainly delivered — it was flavoursome, complex and full of heat. My lips were still tingling hours later (in a good way).

On the downside, the dish was far too messy to eat without cutlery which significantly diminished the enjoyment. I was subsequently forced to knock a couple of points off the taste score. Pull it together, Mad Mex — you're better than this.

With that said, I have no hesitation recommending the Salsa Picante to spice lovers. Maybe go for the burrito though, eh?

We'll be trying the Carolina Reaper colon-scorcher next month. Wish us luck!

Truth Rating: 1/10

Taste Verdict: 7/10

Which fast food franchise or menu item would you like us to tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.


    Hot sauce? More like hot mess. Ayyyyy. I'm here all week.

    Still looks delicious if you ask me

      This is probably why so many places put minimal effort into preparing a meal in a way which looks appetising. Once it is in front of most people they will just scoff it down, even if it does look like refried dog shit.

    All I can see is cheese, tortilla, and what looks a lot like diced-up Pal or Chum dog food. The advertisement makes it look like there should be some vegetables in there somewhere? Still, the salsa picante sounds delicious, I'd definitely be up for that.

    Dropped your Spanish quote "Cagaste y saltaste en la caca!!!" into an online translator and it came up with this...

    "You cagaste and jumped in the POO"

    Not sure what "cagaste" is, but POO was right on the money.

      The phrase roughly translates to "you jumped in your own shit"

      Cagaste literally translates to: "you pooed on ____ " but is more akin to "you f-ed up"

    The Mad Mex FB page seems to suggest that it is 2 weeks per sauce. Not 2 days.

    Just go to Fonda in Melbourne if you want real Mexican food. Little bit more expensive (and a bit more of a restaurant) than Mad Mex, but their quesadillas actually look like quesadillas on your plate. They also don't have a need to show you fake photos of what quesadillas should look like only to serve up something completely different. The irony in fact is that ones from Fonda more closely resemble the ones in the poster from Mad Mex than what you actually got served.

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