I've always thought of the habañero pepper much as I do the jaguar or great white shark -- they're all pretty to look at, rather dangerous, but not really my problem.
Sure, I had a run-in with habañeros in high school, but I foolishly sought that out (when you don't know what these chilies can do, a recipe for habañero salsa with equal parts chilies and tomatoes doesn't seem so problematic). Sure, habañeros are hot, but I'm just not going to stumble across these piquant little fireballs in my sheltered, everyday American life.
However, during my time in Mexico, I had to actively avoid habañero peppers. Perhaps one in three of my meals came with a roasted habañero chili on the plate, whether as garnish or an integral part of the meal I'll never know, because my Spanish language education (generally adequate for my Yucatecan adventure needs) did not cover the word for garnish (it appears to be "guarnicion").
Moreover, I came across this impressive stand at el Mercado Municipal in the city of Mé rida:
|It hurts just to look at. Also, the price is five pesos per bag -- about 38 cents. Cheap!|