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Grumpy's vs. Chino Latino: Who has the hottest pepper poppers?

Chino Latino's hell poppers: Heed the warning

Chino Latino's hell poppers: Heed the warning

Jalapeno poppers, a beloved bar food, are a great winter snack for non-calorie counters: a little heat from the pepper and a lot of delicious fat from the cream cheese filling. We picked a couple pepper popper spots to test in the Twin Cities, and we found one popper that packed some serious heat.

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Grumpy's Grumpy's Red Hot Poppers ($7.50) promise heat on three levels: the jalapeno peppers themselves, an "extra spicy breading," and their temperature after coming fresh from the fryer. But if you order these poppers seeking peppers that are palate searing, you might be disappointed. Our batch was mild. The "red hot" poppers did a better job delivering our recommended yearly intake of cream cheese than they did making us sweat.

Chino Latino Chino Latino's Hell Poppers come with a warning. Be prepared for pain after eating a bite of these habanero peppers. Only the truly heat-loving, or truly masochistic, will be able to finish an entire serving. To cut the heat, the poppers are served with a small scoop of sorbet, which you will end up racing your dining companions, Survivor-style, to finish. The winner: If you're a thrill-seeking diner, you'll love Chino Latino's Hell Poppers. They're stylishly served, and they are hot as Hades. If you can't finish them all, well, you've saved yourself a few calories of cream cheese intake.

If you're just looking for a simple snack, served in a plastic basket lined with red-and-white-checked paper, Grumpy's poppers will do the trick.