Best Dessert (2003)

Terilli's Xango cheesecake

The qualities of perfect cheesecake are really oxymorons if you think about it. Each bite should be saturated with flavor but fluffy and rich, while also being light. The Xango has all those characteristics, plus a surprising one: It's wrapped in pastry dough and flash-fried. Sign us up. Understand, though, we're not supporters of all things fried. We don't dig the fried Twinkie, and frankly, a battered Snickers is way too much to deal with. The Xango, however, is so different from all the greasy, too-much-batter treats that are dunked in funnel cake mix. And while we do love a good funnel cake, in this instance, lighter is better. The pastry shell is crisp and thin, makes a nice crackle when attacked by a fork and, oddly enough, isn't greasy in the slightest. Topped only with cinnamon sugar, the Xango stands on its own (no unnecessary drizzle) and rewards the taste buds.

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