It happened at four o’clock on a sunny afternoon. Two young women were sipping coffee under fluffy clouds and a startlingly blue sky. Café Kubal was nearly empty when David and Lonnie Chu, a fifty-ish couple from the historic Eastwood neighborhood in Syracuse, NY, walked in and saw it waiting for them: The Black Beast.
As if to hide its true danger, it was sitting complacently on a pure white plate, a hand-written card announcing nothing more than its name: Bête Noire. It looked like a small slice of chocolate cake. How could they have known?
Since they were eating dessert first (they didn’t know how truly uncertain life could be), they ordered just one slice between the two of them. Dinner at OIP – heavenly char-grilled wings – could wait.
David politely waited for Lonnie to take the first bite. Her eyes glazed over. She put her hand to her forehead. Then she moaned… a moan of sheer pleasure. David dug in.
With admirable restraint they took turns eating bites of the black beast before them. Being one of those “cakes” that has no flour (being gluten-free, it was particularly special to Lonnie), it was just pure chocolate heaven. The bottom half was only somewhat lighter than the top, a smooth, dense layer of utterly addictive blackness. Somewhere within, a crunchy texture played lightly within all the mouth sensations the black beast provided.
As they ate the last bite, David and Lonnie were realizing that they were eating history in Eastwood. They were shocked to discover that, in an accounting of all the deeply chocolate desserts they had had… in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Bovina Center… only one or two may have ever come even close to this one. They were flushed with excitement. They wanted another yet were strangely satisfied.
They were in love. With the Black Beast.
La Bête Noire had triumphed.
David and Lonnie didn’t know what the French know: On devrait avoir peur comme d’une bête noire!
One should be afraid, as of a black beast. The beast of addiction, the beast of chocolate done so supremely it calls in the night, it tortures during moments of quiet and distracts during work or play. It gnaws at you.
La bête noire is quietly waiting for you. At Café Kubal.