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The Cowboy Weigh

By Bob Woodiwiss · April 15th, 1999 · Pseudoquasiesque
His bandana was the color of tangerine-pomegranate sorbet. The trail dust that had settled on the crown of his Stetson made it look as if it'd been dusted with cinnamon. And his fingers carried a lingering hint of spun sugar, which gave them a slight though not displeasing tack on the leather of his reins.

"Whoa, Linzer," the rider said in a B&B-mellowed rasp. "I dunno about you, but I'm pret' near dyin' fer a cappuccino, light foam, right about now. With dark chocolate shavings. And mebbe a biscotti noccióla."

Dismounting, he shifted his pecan pie-tinted eyes up, then down, the rutted dirt of Main Street. So this is San Antone, thought The Dessert Kid. Home to the fearful Alamocha Flourless Double-Dense Torte shrouded in a Belgian bittersweet truffle shell and drizzled with Drambuie-kissed crème fraìche.

"Tonight, big fella," he confided softly to his horse, "that devilish confection is goin' down."

The Kid's presence did not go unnoticed by the citizens of San Antonio. But then a 530-pound saddle-tramp with a pair of fully loaded pastry bags in his twin holsters who spends all afternoon in the hotel restaurant dropping sopapillas down his throat easy as if he were dropping snakes down a drainpipe would have attracted attention in all but the most sophisticated Western towns of the time.

The sheriff had thought it prudent to warn the sweet-toothed stranger he wouldn't stand for any sugar buzz-inspired damage to property, including livestock. And the whole town began hoarding cheese until word spread that The Kid, like most Americans, didn't really consider cheese a dessert. (Of course, what had led the locals to assume the stranger was a "furriner" in the first place was his murky accent, which, in reality, was nothing more than his talking with a mouthful of crème brulée.)

Come 8 o'clock that evening, The Kid could be heard straining the boards of the town's sidewalks, making his way to The Shackled Frenchman, the finest restaurant west of the Mississippi (thanks to the indentured chef from whom it derived its name) and his gastronomical OK Corral.

Full of confidence, El Niño de Flan (as he was known along the Rio Grande) was in no hurry. He stopped at various establishments along the way for casaba cheesecake au framboise, an éclair de caramel chaud, a butterscotch/vanilla crêpe strewn with a melange of semisweet morsels and macadamia nut shards and an inchoate rendering of what we'd now call a Frappacino. Not a crumb, not a calorie, survived his voracity.

Finally, his abundant confidence now jockeying for space with much sugar and butterfat, he strode into The Shackled Frenchman. Once seated, he waved off the dinner menu and called for dessert. For the Alamocha Torte.

"Perhaps you would enjoy some soup or a salad this evening, sir," the waiter said, trying to boost his check average. The Kid's response came from deep within: a defiant and unequivocal casaba/framboise-scented belch.

"Now," he said.

Shortly, the torte arrived. Three minutes later, it was gone. In a few more minutes -- 10, 20, 30 tops, maybe after a bicarb -- he'd ride out of San Antone. Trying to recall that thing he'd just eaten. ©



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