Black Forest Cafe and the “Too Fat Polka”

December 6, 2009

Foray to the Container Store a success, the question:  What to do about dinner?

Kathryn asked, “How about that little German joint in back of Half Price Books?”

The Black Forest Cafe and Bakery.  Legendary for its Black Forest Cake.  For years it had a small shop inside the “mother ship” of Half Price Books a half-block away.  Before Starbucks, in Dallas there was the Black Forest Cafe.

It’s really more like a delicatessan.  Out of the way.  A real hidden kitchen of Dallas.  A refuge for Germans and lovers of German meats, mustards, chocolates.

Not immune to kitsch, though.

We were surprised to find the place packed late on a Friday.  At a couple of tables, obviously a part.  A private function?  We found a table at the rear of the cafe.

And along the way we passed the guy in leiderhosen.  He carried a large, burgundy-colored accordion with a German-sounding name.

Soon after we got our seat, he stood up at a microphone in a corner of the place, said a few things and I heard “most popular song of 1957.”  Vic Damone on an accordian?  Frank Sinatra?  Buddy Holly?

“Too Fat Polka!”  Kathryn and I both laughed.  We knew it from Bob Wills’ repertoire, old cowboy movies.  In a crowd of mostly young Dallasites, we would be the only ones to recall it (1957?).

From the opening notes and especially through the chorus, the entire crowd sang along.

Who knew?

The Hungarian-spiced bratwursts exploded with flavor, and the mustard was perfect.

Note: No, it was 1947.  An Arthur Godfrey success, McGuire Sisters.   And anyone else who had a band and a recording contract in 1947.


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