Maybe this is a macho Texan thing, but like our Mexican brethren, we Austinites love to eviscerate our taste buds with hot sauce -- we've even got an annual festival dedicated to it. If you prefer to test the limits of your tongue in private though, here are some places to pick up a locally-mixed bottle.
Come fall -- or even winter -- pick up a bottle of Sgt Pepper's Picante Pumpkin hot sauce at the farmer's market (or at Whole Foods or Spec's, where it's also sold). Dab a bit of goat cheese on a cracker and top with a dollop of Sgt Pepper, or mix into a hearty home stew.
The fact that this stuff is colloquially known as "Green Crack Sauce" should tell you something. Tacodeli's Dona Sauce is creamy and HOT, but a few drops instantly elevate your tacos to culinary transcendence. It's got such a devoted fan base that they started selling bottles of it right in the restaurant.
A miniature heaven for hot sauce lovers: This place is fantastic if you want to buy a non-Texan an "Austiny" gift, as they carry an enormous variety of hot sauces, BBQ sauces, local jams, jellies, and marinades.
Indian-inflected hot sauces mixed by the namesake herself. Curry Chipotle, Mirchi Masala, and a green, creamy one called Hotvocado are some of the best-sellers: A bottle of this stuff for your dinner party host guarantees you will be invited back.
Most people think of Spec's for liquor, but that would be forgetting the "finer foods" that appears in the title of their name. They are also one of the few places in town to carry Dave's Insanity Sauce, made with savina pepper -- purportedly the hottest pepper in the world. At the time of this review I still possess my tongue, so I confess I've only tried a teensy (i.e., near microscopic) amount -- and even that brought tears to my eyes.