Apple of My Eye: Every once in a while, someone comes up with a business plan so staggering that the mere contemplation of it leaves you short of breath.
That's what happened to me when, after a recent trip to the north Phoenix Chompie's, I peeked in on the new operation that replaced the defunct TCBY next door.
It's called Candy's Apples. The concept: a shop that sells nothing but gourmet candy apples.
If you think the idea is staggering, wait until you see how it's been put into practice. Whoever thought an apple a day would keep the doctor away never saw these babies.
First, the proprietor gets ahold of the largest Granny Smith apples he can, and puts them on a stick. Then he massively shrouds them in a variety of goodies. The coatings are so thick they could stop plutonium rays from escaping.
And what coatings! The Johnny Cashew model is a mix of milk chocolate and large cashews. Pistachio Peak is a mountain of caramel, chocolate and gobs of nuts. The Englishman is layered with crumbled Heath bars. Kum-Ba-Yah brings together graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow. Peanut Butter Blues features a chocolate, peanut butter and peanut blend. The Mona Lisa offers an artful, hand-crafted design of alternating bands of white and dark chocolate. And you'll be lucky ever to reach the apple entombed in the Big Kahunana's chocolate caramel coating, which is studded with giant macadamia nuts.
In all, there are 15 varieties, handmade in-store daily, then neatly packaged in plastic and refrigerated. Each weighs in at a mind-boggling two pounds. I wasn't sure whether to take a bite or bench press them. If you consider that even the biggest Granny Smith rarely exceeds eight ounces, that leaves about a pound and a half of candy mortared onto each apple. The gal behind the counter says they can feed two to four folks, and she's not exaggerating. One of my samples is still in the refrigerator, as big as a leftover leg of lamb.
If you think the candy apples are hefty, wait until you see the prices. Don't expect to buy one of these beauties by collecting the loose change hiding under your sofa cushions. The least expensive model is the Plain Jane, a caramel-drenched apple. It goes for $6.95. The Classic, a Plain Jane coated with nuts, goes for $7.95. Everything else is $9.95, except the Big Kahunana and its white chocolate twin, the Hawaiian Beach. These will set you back a whopping $12.95.
The promotional literature suggests that the proprietor is hoping to market his product as a special-occasion gift: thank yous, birthdays, holidays. That makes sense. I can't imagine too many people walking in to munch on a two-pound candy apple on a stick. Maybe someone will put some under your Christmas tree.
Look for Candy's Apples at the northeast corner of 32nd Street and Greenway Road--3202 East Greenway Road--in Phoenix. Its hours are irregular: Monday through Friday, "12ish to 8ish"; Saturday, "after breakfast until before dinner"; and Sunday "if we're here." Call 493-5032, or check it out in cyberspace at www.candysapples.com.
Suggestions? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or New Times, P.O. Box 2510, Phoenix,
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