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Mall has ultimate in good bad food.

Byline: Mark Baker The Register-Guard

Hungry? Grab a (deep-fried) Snickers.

On second thought, don't grab it. That would burn your hand.

The Surgeon General tells us that America is too fat. He tells us that chocolate and sugar are bad for us. He tells us that deep-fried foods are bad for us, too. And now, thanks to a new restaurant in the food court at Gateway Mall, we can all be really bad, all at once.

Say hello to deep-fried Snickers bars, Twinkies and Oreo Cookies. Top Dogg USA freezes them, rolls them in a sweet batter and then deep-fries them in oil. Also on the way to the fast-food restaurant: Mars bars and Three Musketeers.

"That's crazy!" says Eileen Rodriguez of Eugene as she bites into a deep-fried Oreo. Her taste buds, however, don't lie. "That's good!" she exclaims after the sweet, doughy concoction has introduced itself to her mouth. "Who thought of this?"

No one on the Atkins diet, that's for sure. Mike Jones of Wilsonville opened the first Top Dogg USA last summer from a cart at the Oregon Zoo in Portland and now has the just-opened outlet in Springfield plus Top Doggs at the Woodburn factory stores along Interstate 5, in Sherwood and at the Salem Center mall.

The restaurants serve gourmet sausages, foot-long "corn doggs" and curly fries - but the Gateway Mall spot is the first to serve the deep-fried fare.

Jones first saw deep-fried Twinkies selling like crazy, along with deep-fried Oreos, at the Clark County Fair in Washington a couple of summers ago. But deep-fried candy bars? "I read about it somewhere," he says.

Although they contain mega calories - we're talkin' more than 500 - there's nothing quite like a deep-fried Snickers bar for a taste sensation. All that chocolate, caramel and nougat is melted inside a doughnut-like covering, sprinkled with powdered sugar and stuck on a stick just like a corn dog. Your first instinct would be to put mustard on it if you didn't know what was inside. Top Dogg USA suggests a strawberry or blackberry sauce.

"I had dreams about it," says Alisha Napohaku, manager of the Gateway Top Dogg. At least that's what she claimed in describing the sublime experience after trying one.

Diana Navarrette, who works at 100% Fresh & Natural right next to Top Dogg USA at Gateway, has tried the deep-fried Twinkies a couple of times, but the idea of deep-frying candy and cookies doesn't sit well with her.

"I don't think so," she said.

DEEP-FRIED TWINKIES AT HOME*

Skewer a Twinkie with a stick and freeze.

Roll the frozen Twinkie in pancake mix that has a bit of sugar in it.

Deep-fry in canola oil for about three minutes.

*Follow same directions to deep-fry Snickers, Oreo Cookies or other candy bars.

CAPTION(S):

Mike Jones holds a deep-fried Twinkie at the Top Dogg food counter in the Gateway Mall.
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 18, 2004
Words:482
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