Bite Me

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I asked around Bite Me World Headquarters if anyone had experienced a transcendent fried ice cream experience in Denver, and no one had. (Takah Sushi, at 420 East Hyman Avenue in Aspen, has a tempura-fried ice cream dessert on its menu, but that's a long drive for a pregnant woman.) So now I'm asking readers to help out. Where can Julia go? Is there any place in the Mile High City that serves the sort of fried ice cream she remembers?

While we await a positive reply, here's a little something to tide Julia over. The recipe's a killer, a cinch to put together, and just what her pregnant little heart desires. Julia, have your husband make this for you every night for a week as punishment for doubting the veracity of your food memories.

Fried Ice Cream à la Bite Me

Ice cream (any: vanilla is the standard, of course, but we live in a 31-flavors kind of world, don't we?)
Sponge cake (just buy it at the grocery store -- making your own is annoying)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. veggie oil
2 eggs, whites and yolks separated
Some flat beer
Vanilla extract
Oil for frying

Scoop and roll very hard-frozen ice cream into balls -- bigger than a golf ball, smaller than a tennis ball -- then wrap them in thick slices of sponge cake. (Pack them like you would a snowball, understand?) Put all the balls in the coldest part of the freezer overnight -- at least. Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, veggie oil, egg yolks and a couple drops of vanilla extract together in a mixing bowl. Slowly stir in the beer. (Lagers and ales work best with vanilla; Guinness and chocolate make for an interesting combination.) Refrigerate the whole mess overnight.

When you're ready to serve these suckers, heat up your frying oil. If you have a candy-making thermometer, get the oil to at least 375 degrees; if you don't have one, just make sure you get the oil really hot and keep it that way. Take those two egg whites, whip them stiff and fold them into the batter. Get your balls out of the freezer, dunk two in the batter mix, then drop them into the oil until they're brown -- no more than ten or fifteen seconds at the most. (If it takes longer than this for them to brown, your oil isn't hot enough. Stop being such a sissy and crank up the heat.) When they're brown, remove the balls from the hot oil, drain briefly on paper towels and serve immediately with honey. Repeat process as necessary until you've gotten your fill of Bite Me balls.

(Notice how good I was about not making any cheap ball jokes.)

Fried food nation: Okay, maybe fried ice cream isn't for you. How about deep-fried Twinkies? Wingin' It, open since July 12 at 8200 South Quebec Street in Centennial, is (as far as I know) the only Denver eatery currently serving this East Coast fave. Some places use batter, some places gussy things up with fancy fruit reductions or sauces in an attempt to add a bit of class to this junkiest of junk foods -- but not Wingin' It. They simply take a Twinkie -- your average, run-of-the-mill, yellow Twinkie -- and dunk it in hot canola oil for thirty seconds, then top it with whipped cream and a little drizzle of chocolate sauce, and off it goes...straight into your cardiologist's nightmares.

Surprisingly, as gross as it might sound, the fried Twinkie isn't bad. The equivalent of a white-trash eclair, it tastes like a country-fair cake doughnut straight out of the oil, bursting with warm filling and grease. The hot oil caramelizes the surface of the Twinkie, giving it a nice crunch, while almost melting the rest of the sponge cake inside, making the whole thing one massive, messy, sugary torpedo aimed straight at your inner child.

Doubly surprising is the fact that this little sports-themed, strip-mall spot fried up some excellent chicken wings (with a coating that held up even after a half-hour's ride in the car -- a criterion by which all good wings should be judged). These were big wings, meaty and juicy and cooked just right, and the medium sauce (out of ten possibilities) was a true medium -- mouth-wateringly smoky and thick at the beginning, with a nice afterburn on the tongue just begging to be washed away by a cold beer. I'd also ordered a side of Wingin' It's green chile, which turned out to be fantastic: chopped chiles, big chunks of fatty pork, and a deep, slow-simmered taste.

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Jason Sheehan
Contact: Jason Sheehan