Fried + Brownie = Delicious?

I'm sort of irritated with Whataburger right now.

The burger chain is currently responsible for the utter destruction of two truths I always held to be inalienably irrefutable: No. 1, that anything from Whataburger can be counted on to be delicious. And No. 2, that adding one delicious thing to another delicious thing will result in the joyous birth of another delicious thing, if not twice the deliciousness.

And then Whataburger had to come along with its Hot Chocolate Brownie Pie, which is -- in essence -- a fried brownie. To be more accurate, it's one of the gooey, super-chocolatey brownies you always favored over its dense, blocky, cake-like cousins at school bake sales...deep-fried.

Sounds great, right?

I was perhaps a little too excited to see the fried brownie for sale at Whataburger a couple of weeks ago as I went through the drive-thru. In a hurry to get to an event where I knew there wouldn't be dinner served, Whataburger -- always a good option when you're seriously crunched for time and are out in the sticks, as I was that day -- came to the rescue with its promise of a good cheeseburger and a Dr Pepper.

And then I saw it: Hot Chocolate Brownie Pie. The picture pasted on the drive-thru sign made it look like the perfect evolutionary endcap of our nation's fascination with chocolate and deep-frying things. I almost screamed at the the drive-thru woman when she asked if that would be all: "NO, NO, I WANT A BROWNIE PIE, TOO."

Driving away, I felt my paper bag for that fat, warm package of sugary goodness. And then: panic. It was missing! I drove back to Whataburger -- potentially making myself late for the event -- just to get that damned fried brownie. The woman behind the cash register felt terrible that my order had been messed up and dropped two into my bag with a smile. I smiled back, excited to be getting two times the goodness (as if I really need two fried brownies). I could hear the faint sounds of my entire vascular system weeping softly.

I pulled over in the parking lot, having suddenly been inspired to photograph this majestic bounty in the wild. When I was finished, I tore into the first brownie.

It was shockingly awful. Not just a little bad, not just slightly unpalatable. Awful.

Recounting the epic tale of just how bad the fried brownie was, my cubicle mate at work asked me, "Well, what did it taste like?"

"Like failure," I sighed.

"I see," he nodded.

There was no real chocolate taste to the oily sludge inside of the fried pocket at all; it was like a sugary goo tinted the color of chocolate, as if Whataburger was trying to trick the senses into believing it was chocolate. And the fried pocket -- all quarter-inch thick walls of it -- tasted like stale French fry cooking oil. I wanted to cry.

After my second bite of the monstrosity, I threw both of the fried brownies back into the bag and sulked. I barely ate any of my burger. It was probably all for the best. I think God's hand was somehow present in all of this failure, emphatically guiding me away from things like fried brownies and double cheeseburgers with barbecue sauce and bacon.

So Whataburger's fried brownie sucks. But at least maybe I've added five days back onto my lifespan by not eating it.

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