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.

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