My birthday tradition with the cousins I grew up with and my best friend is to have dinner at Stubrik's, that classic Fullerton steakhouse that knows charred beef the way Nolan Ryan knows how to fling a baseball. I'm usually so stuffed after knifing through one of its slabs that I have no room for dessert, but I ate lighter this time around, choosing to go with some pasta dish topped by chicken. The chicken, roasted and juicy, was memorable; the pasta, though, was too buttery.
One of my cousins ordered bananas Foster, a dessert I've never really particularly cared for–not particularly sweet, not particularly memorable. But what came out–four scoops of vanilla, two standing on top of the other, surrounded by a lake of amber and golden bananas–made me go in for a spoonful.
Most versions of the dessert err on the side of brown sugar at the expense of the cinnamon and the rum, but Stubrik's didn't make this delicious mistake. This is a Foster of bite, of a sharp rum, sweet and smooth. The cinnamon fought its brown-sugar cousin to a tie; both clumped together under the rum and crystallized into concentrated niblets. The banana slices, meanwhile, were flambéed past the point of caramelization–how many different notes of dark sweetness is it so far? And the vanilla ice cream, while . . . well, vanilla, maintained its integrity despite the heat, leading to a dessert in which all of its angles remained true and not overwhelming one another.
That mound in the photo lasted two minutes–next year, I'm ordering one for myself. Pinche primos. . . .