Twinkie Twinkie Little Star

Hostess horror makes its way to Valley menu

New York chef Christopher Sells takes credit for creating the deep-fried Twinkie. It's exactly as it sounds: Twinkies are dipped in vinegar-based fish-and-chips batter before being dunked in 400-degree oil. For a gourmet touch, he sprinkles the hot Twinkies with confectioner's sugar and rests them atop a four-berry coulis.

It's amazing to me that someone would be proud of this. It's more amazing that Sells' customers can't get enough of them.

Now it looks like I'm going to have to taste the little monsters, subjecting myself to about 400 calories and, ugh, 35 grams of fat. The terrifying Twinkie has come to our town, with the September 3 opening of Iguana Mack's in the former Chops restaurant location at Alma School and Knox in Chandler.

According to what I've read about the deadly dessert, it's actually delicious. It's said to have a soufflé-like quality, with the vanilla filling infusing the golden sponge cake with a "delicate, banana-like flavor," and a crispy outside against a soft, fluffy inside. We'll see. Mike Lopercio, owner of Iguana Mack's, adds a Southwestern touch to his recipe by serving the cakes on prickly pear coulis.

Lopercio says he's going for an "uncivilized, 1950s Arizona roadhouse" effect, meaning his menu runs the gamut from traditional American to Mexican to Southwestern to Cajun to barbecue. The "ménage à trois" platter features barbecued pork ribs, roasted chicken thighs, six-hour-smoked pot roast with mushroom gravy, au gratin potatoes, green beans and dirty roasted corn, all served in a cast-iron crucible (serves three, of course).

Yet there's also pasta jambalaya, chicken-fried chicken with chorizo gravy, grilled-red-snapper-and-mojito-shrimp tacos, a Navajo flatbread chicken club, plus a Big Mack ("one all-beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, Iguana relish and no sesame seeds").

Lopercio boasts that another of his desserts, Doctor Dunbar's banana-changa, is "so good you'll want to slap your mother." I just hope the Twinkies don't drive me to murder. It's hard to forget that late-1970s trial in San Francisco wherein city councilman Dan White blamed eating too many Twinkies for driving him to kill the city's mayor and another councilman. White didn't win.

Deep-fried Twinkies? Now is that really a dessert to die for?

 
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