One of life’s little (OK, big) pleasures

May 12, 2014

Yes, that's me, digging in behind the fudge pie mountain.

Yes, that’s me, digging in behind the fudge pie mountain.

If you’re gonna splurge, you might as well do it right.

This is, I am here to assure you, doing it right.

Residents of the Greater Memphis area may recognize this as the famous Hot Fudge Pie from Westy’s, on North Main at the corner of Jackson, in downtown Memphis. Those who do not should go there as soon as possible.

Westy’s is the successor of the North End, which in turn was the successor of the South End, a series of restaurants owned and managed by the late lamented Jake Schorr. They made their name as one of the few late-night kitchens in Memphis, other than the Waffle House or truck stop variety, definitely a spot where the locals went, looking just maybe a step above a dive (and a short step, perhaps, at that), the place where all the other servers, etc., went when their restaurants closed for the evening.

The menu was both sides of an 8 1/2 x 14 sheet of paper. Printed in tiny, tiny type. It ranged from Shrimp Creole and red beans and rice to burgers to a long list of wild rice dishes (my favorite was the #14, with mushrooms, cheese and bacon). They had steaks, and they had tamales, and they had burgers and sandwiches.

And hot fudge pie. Only dessert on the menu. Only dessert that needed to be on the menu.

Do NOT order this as a dessert for one, unless that one has an appetite to rival an offensive tackle for an NFL team. It’s definitely a two-spoon, or maybe three- or four-spoon, dessert.

It begins with a dense, gooey, moist, rich, sweet, chocolaty fudge brownie type confection. This is a brownie on steroids, just barely set past the point of being a chocolate custard, just barely cake-y enough to not be fudge.  It’s topped with at least a pint of French vanilla ice cream. It’s drizzled with chocolate sauce, and, if that’s not overkill enough, it’s topped with a squirt of whipped topping.

Dear. Sweet. Baby. Jesus.

I do not want to know how many calories are in half of one of these things. Or even a quarter of one of these things. The calories in a full serving would likely take a Cray supercomputer to figure out.

The chocolate is likely not a high-quality chocolate. But the finished product — a spoon sliding down the side of that mountain, gathering a bit of whipped cream, a dab of chocolate syrup, a silky bite of ice cream, and a bite of the pie itself, slightly crunchy top and bottom embracing the custardy insides….have mercy! All the way down to the last bite, the melted ice cream turned a light tan, with big crumbs of brownie floating in it.

If there is a better chocolate dessert on the face of the planet, I don’t want to find it. (Although Glenda Hicks’ chocolate pound cake comes close.)

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em betake yourselves downtown to Westy’s. The trolley stops right out front, so you don’t even have to walk back to your car when you’re so full you can’t move.



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