4004 Mowry Ave, Fremont, CA 94538 | 510.794.7666 | Hours: Mon-Sat. 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
sadly, I heard this place closed…
My friend Jaycee sent me a note about this place that he said just screams my name… Hmmm, the Deep Fried Twinky & Pastrami Shop housed in a Valero Gas/Carwash… is that a good thing? But of course I was intrigued and the next time I needed some gas, I headed over to check it out. Because yes, once I heard about this place, it felt like it was screaming my name…
I was mesmerized by the menu, especially the section for fried food devotees that includes a variety of sweets, a Ham or Turkey and Cheese sandwich ($3.99)… and even a Deep Fried Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog ($4.99) with fries. Apparently they will fry anything you want, so I think I’ll have to return to try a deep-fried Snickers bar… They had an interesting article from East Bay Express posted on the wall from which I deduced that the guy in the apron was the chef/owner Steve Yankos, fried food artist extraordinaire.
I noticed that he was busy at work slicing piles of pastrami, while I looked over the menu… Deep fried bacon wrapped Hotdog? Double Dipped Pastrami? Philly Cheesesteak made with thinly sliced rib-eye? Difficult decisions had to be made and secretly, I was mostly interested in the deep fried menu anyways… I asked for advice in deciding between the fried hotdog or the pastrami and was told that you could get a hot dog anywhere, but the pastrami here was special. He indicated the log of meat he was slicing and told me that it is the navel cut, which is from the belly, similar to bacon. He slices it very thin and then cooks on the grill to render out as much fat as possible, then dips it in beef jus for extra flavor. Sold. I decided to go for the Double Dipped Pastrami Sandwich ($5.99), which came with tiny housemade pickled peppers.
I sat and sipped at my Diet Pepsi in the gated dining area by the entrance and watched cars exiting the drive-through wash.
The sandwich arrived, wafting garlicky meaty aromas. The pastrami was paper thin and expertly cooked on the griddle. Most of the fat melted away and the delicate edges were deliciously crisped, and overflowing from the soft fluffy bun.
The final effect was light and luxurious, the translucent paper thin slices felt positively spa-friendly…. It really was the best pastrami sandwich I ever had. Dare I say it? Even better than Saul’s Deli in Berkeley! There was a thin layer of melted swiss cheese and pickles that enriched the experience.
I asked Steve at the outset about the timing of the deep fried sampler, mostly because I was worried that my delicious desserts would sit around getting soggy, but he is a professional. Never fear, he said. He wouldn’t start working on the desserts until I said so.
The sampler ($9.99) includes one Hostess cupcake, 2 pieces of banana, 1 chips ahoy chocolate chip cookies, one twinkie and half of a peanut butter and jam sando. Also an oreo cookie, but they ran out, so I got 2 chips a hoy…
Steve allowed me to sneak behind the counter to photograph the assortment prior to frying, and then to catch an action shot of him dipping it into the batter and then into the fryer.
Peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich, battered and frying
The assortment took about 4-5 minutes to cook. I paced anxiously…
The batter is almost as good as the deep fried pickle slices I enjoyed in Victoria last summer. It coats everything in a tender soft bready layer with an external crust that shatters when you break into it with your teeth
The peanut butter melts and occupies your tastebuds with their salty rich nutty flavors while your teeth make their way through the layers and textures of of bread, batter and crispy fried exterior.
Steve first removes the frosting top of the hostess cupcake, dips the cream-filled cupcake in the batter and then into the fryer. Before he places the frosting back on top of the fried cupcake, he carefully drizzles chocolate syrup over top of the cupcake.
Unlike the twinkie, I was able to enjoy some of the cream filling of the cupcake.
The Chips Ahoy cookie melted and steamed within the fried batter coating, and reverted to a cookie dough texture.
My favorite items from the sampler plate were the pieces of Fried Banana. The flesh of the banana steamed and cooked into a soft custardy puddinglike texture that was buttery and rich and extremely delicious with the crispy fried batter and drizzled with chocolate syrup.
Steve dropped off a little plastic cup filled with Nutella that he said was very good on the bananas… I am appalled to admit that I really have not had Nutella before and I was smitten. It was fantastic on the fried banana!
The last thing is the Deep Fried Twinkie, pictured here sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate sauce.
The batter did create a lovely crispy crust around the soft spongecake.
And the strangest thing is that the cream filling must get steamed into the cake interior, which made it seem unnaturally heavy and dense like pound cake. Ever compared a twinkie with poundcake before?
On the way back to my car, I briefly pondered a quick walk through car wash to perhaps wash off some of the grease…
Now that I’ve got the deep fried sampler under my belt, next time I must return to try the Philly Cheesesteak which Steve said is as good as the pastrami. And I’m thinking about a battered and fried ding dong!