Contrary to the opinion of the trench-coated gentleman who hissed at me in a parking lot in Austin a few years ago, I am not a Satanist. I do, however, worship El Diablo.
I am not alone in my devotion. My friends are equally, feverishly, fervently…enthralled? Obsessed? El Diablo has appeared on many a Facebook page, instantly garnering legions of likes, an abundance of all caps comments and more exclamation points than the entirety of that particularly exuberant portion of the Sky Mall catalog (RIP). It’s legend. Out-of-this-world-insanely-good. La puta madre, if you’ll pardon my Spanish.
If you know what I’m talking about, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already stopped reading this and are currently a) salivating and b) making plans to meet someone at Pike and Boren. Like, NOW.
And if you don’t and this serves as your introduction, I hope for your sake you just moved here because you are going to be KICKING yourself over lost time and wasted opportunity.
El Diablo isn’t just Seattle’s best dessert option, it’s my favorite in the entire world. It’s what keeps me coming back every time I swear I’m moving to Melbourne once and for all. It’s so fucking good that I’ll (more or less) deal with Am-holes, brogrammers, the rapidly dwindling supply of affordable housing, and new construction happening every 20 feet. Would I kill for it? Let’s hope we never have to answer that question…
It sounds good on paper — “bittersweet cube of sinfully rich, dark chocolate mousse graced with cayenne, spicy almonds, cocoa nibs and burnt meringue finished with a tequila caramel sauce” — but let me assure you that words do not do justice to its magnificence. It’s rich, sweet, spicy, dense-yet-airy, with an edge. That meringue is a creamy pillow of fluff that I used to think was a gourmet version of marshmallow crème, and the alchemical combination of that and the caramel sauce is pure, unadulterated magic. The mixture of tastes and textures in all conceivable combinations — salty and spicy and sweet, creamy and crunchy and oh-so-chocolaty — is almost quite literally unbelievable. I’m talking the kind of unbelievable that makes you have to keep shoveling spoonfuls into your face to convince yourself that the orgasmic reaction your tastebuds keep having is real, and I swear on a stack of Cure albums that I’m not exaggerating.
It’s a menu item with a cult following, fer chrissakes. I have — on numerous occasions — bumped into friends at Tango who have revealed the purpose of their visit with nothing more than a conspiratorial grin and an unmistakably devilish gleam in their eye. The Cheap Dates may be delicious, but we make the journey from all corners of the 206, braving the lack of parking and the indignities of Capitol Hill to revel in the comfort and thrill that only El Diablo can provide.
And maybe that’s just it — El Diablo is the dessert incarnation of naughty-but-nice, all the innocent, marshmallow-y goodness of childhood gussied up with an exotic, spicy, bittersweet, and decidedly grown-up twist. Comfort and thrill, artfully served up and drizzled with a tequila caramel sauce. A heavenly dessert with a devilish edge…