Michael Donahue's Best Bets: Irish Car Bomb


irish Car Bomb at Sidestreet Burgers - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • irish Car Bomb at Sidestreet Burgers

An Irish Car Bomb explodes - with flavor - at Sidestreet Burgers in Olive Branch.

I tried the dessert created by the restaurant’s chef/owner Jonathan Mah. It’s fabulous.

I asked Mah to share the dessert’s history.

“Back in the day a lot of people were doing these ‘drop shots,’” Mah says. “Where you take some liquor and drop it in a glass and drop that in a glass of beer and you chug it. I wasn’t really into that, but somebody had told me about it and I said, ‘OK. I’ll try one of these.’ Apparently, it’s supposed to taste like chocolate milk. If it tastes like chocolate milk it’ll be OK.”

They gave him a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream mixed with Irish whisky. “You drop that in a pint of Guinness and chug the whole thing. So, I did a couple of them. It was very tasty, actually.”

Mah remembered that drink when he was sous chef in the kitchen with executive chef Karen Roth years ago at Alchemy. “I was trying to help her come up with dessert items. Kind of cool stuff. It dawned on me, ‘Why not take bread pudding and make it chocolate and add some kind of a twist? Like Irish whisky with praline sauce.’”

So, that’s what he did. “It was very popular.”

He added the Irish Car Bomb dessert a year or so after he opened Sidestreet Burgers. “i’ve been selling it for six years,and people love it. It’s a big hunk of bread pudding. It’s not like your average bread pudding. It’s not soggy or anything like that. It’s got this amazing flavor to it. We make a little praline-like caramel sauce and hit it with some Irish whisky and finish it off with a little cream.”

Mah makes his bread pudding with French bread. “I dry it out and that’s my base.”

He used to offer other desserts at Sidestreet Burgers. “Over the years, I had some other chefs who worked with me and we would rotate that dessert menu quite a bit.”

Now, the Irish Car Bomb is the only dessert offered at his restaurant. “Occasionally, maybe once a year, I’ve done white chocolate and mixed-berry pudding. And that’s cool. Every once in a while I’ve made that praline sauce with bacon.”

Any way you look at it, this dessert is the bomb.

Note: Call the restaurant to make sure they haven’t run out of Irish Car Bombs that day. “We can sell all of them pretty quickly.”

Sidestreet Burgers is at 9199 MS-178 in Olive Branch; 901-596-4749

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