Earlier this month, my wife and I had dinner in the middle of the week at On the Border, our favorite chain Mexican restaurant. (There are only four in Florida and the other three are in South Florida.)
Normally, we don’t have dessert when we dine out because we are often too full for dessert. And if we aren’t too full, I find that dessert often fails my “price-value” test.
Not to mention that regularly eating dessert is not in the best interest of my health. You may have heard that Obama’s LDL (bad) cholesterol is 138, above the national average of 116. My LDL is just 76 (and total is only 126) and I want to keep it that way.
There are of course exceptions to my “no dessert” tendency. Whenever we dine at P. F. Chang’s, we often indulge in the Great Wall of Chocolate. For the uninitiated, the Great Wall of Chocolate is a Godzilla-sized dessert which easily satisfies two. It evokes a universal response from those seeing it for the first time: “Oh my God…look at the size of that thing.” Since a picture is worth a thousand words…..
To ensure we have the appetite for this dessert, which weighs in at 1,900 calories, we normally only share an appetizer of lettuce wraps: seasoned meat which you roll into a “burrito” using a large lettuce leaf. Unfortunately, there is no P. F. Chang’s where we live. Fortunately, there is one in our second home….the Vegas Strip.
If we’re in a Spanish restaurant, I’ll often want some flan for dessert if they have it. Mexican restaurants sometimes have flan but I find that version inferior to Spanish flan. Flan is a very rich tasting dessert but only has about 325 calories.
That evening at On the Border, we were celebrating our 15th anniversary and 24 years of living together. The occasion obviously demanded dessert. Accordingly, we split a Big Bordurrito (a huge burrito) so we wouldn’t be too full for dessert.
The sopapillas with chocolate dipping sauce appealed to me but I wanted to see what Susie was interested in. She enjoys dessert much more than I do.
Then, the dessert gods intervened. Only about eight tables were occupied and we were one of three groups that were not in a booth so we were more “visible.” Of the three “visible” tables, one table only had one person and the other table had four. Also, we were almost finished with our meal and the others were not.
All these factors fortuitously combined to bring a manager to our table with a dessert plate. Seems the kitchen had inadvertently whipped up an extra order of chocolate turtle empanadas; would we be interested in them…on the house? (We had not told anyone it was our anniversary; I don’t care for public spectacles in restaurants.)
Free dessert? Say no more! The dessert gods are just!
There was good news and bad news…
The good news is that this is a wonderfully decadent dessert. It features four empanadas (flaky pastry) rolled in cinnamon sugar and filled with chocolate sauce, caramel and pecans and accompanied by about a scoop and a half of vanilla ice cream.
The bad news is this dessert has about 1,250 calories. But hey….we only had half a Bordurrito each, which works out to about 700 calories each. So another 600 calories each would only be about 1,300 calories… excluding the two frozen Margaritas we each had.
But an anniversary is no time to count calories, is it? Besides, my LDL cholesterol is only 76! I can indulge now and then…
While I’m not much of a dessert person these days, that doesn’t mean I’m unfamiliar with them because there was a time when I regularly indulged. Among my favorites are Cherries Jubilee and Bananas Foster. I rate these Chocolate Turtle Empanadas in the top three, with the other two being the Great Wall of Chocolate and Cherries Jubilee, which combines two favorites (ice cream and cherries).
So if you happen to be dining at an On the Border and want some dessert, I can vouch for the Chocolate Turtle Empanadas. And if they’re on the house….
P.S. One of the bloggers I link to on my blogroll had an excellent post that I recommend to all of you. It’s about an incident from his childhood which he was reminded of because of a derogatory comment he encountered. Here is the link to that post: