5.) Johnny Carinos - http://www.carinos.com
Johnny Carino's is a fairly large Italian restaurant chain with locations all over the US. They provide a comparable menu to Olive Garden with decent dry pasta dishes, tasty fried apps and pretty good desserts. Their Italian Nachos, however, are one of my all time favorite appetizers... anywhere! They are the JAM. They use crispy fried pasta chips (like wontons), top them with olives, tomatoes, parmesan, peppers, mozzarella and a creamy Alfredo sauce. If that wasn't enough you then get to add chicken or sausage - I add both! At around $5 for a half order and $9 for a whole, I'd say we have a serious winner on all fronts. This dish is a must try. YUMMY!
4.) Chili's - http://www.chilis.com
I've always liked the food at Chili's. I think they actually have several menu items that are pretty good including their burgers, chicken crispers and their molten chocolate cake dessert. Their Southwestern Eggrolls are their most impressive and honestly a very creative idea. I know many other chains make an attempt to copy the recipe but no one ever comes close. These little pockets of goodness are filled with smoked chicken, black beans, corn, jalapeño jack cheese and spinach. They're also served with a side of avocado ranch...yes a mix of avocado and ranch dressing. Seriously?
3.) Olive Garden - http://www.olivegarden.com
House Salad (bonus: bread sticks)
I'm sure most of you have been to an Olive Garden. I like the salad for the following reasons-
It's FREE! Well...not free, but it comes with your meal and that's awesome. It's always fresh. I've never had soggy lettuce or a bad tomato in an Olive Garden salad. The dressing! It's so good they bottle it up and sell it. The breadsticks are pretty tasty too, especially when they come our fresh so be sure and ask for fresh ones. Now go and eat your veggies!
2.) The Aforementioned Red Lobster - http://www.redlobster.com
Cheddar Bay Biscuits
These are so good. I mean, just so good. Garlicky, cheesy, buttery goodness. These little guys also come with your meal and keep on coming. You can have as many as you like.
WARNING-they're super addictive. There are a lot of recipes out there that claim to be the same but honestly I have yet to find it. I have, however, gotten pretty close. I'll be sharing that recipe very soon so keep up the reading;-) Now I really want a biscuit...
1.) Outback Steakhouse - http://www.outback.com
Everyone loves this signature appetizer. Outback cranks out about a million of these a night and they are always perfect. The consistency astounds me. The breading is perfectly seasoned and the onion nice and hearty. And that sauce! I could put that sauce on and/or in everything. So good. P.S. This is also one of the worst appetizers for you as far as fat and calories so be sure to share the wealth
(aka. fat). It's totally worth it.
***Honorable mention-Pizza Hut- http://www.pizzahut.com
Deep Dish Crust
Who doesn't love this crispy, buttery crust? I know, I know-I live in NYC and can get the "best" pizza in the world, blah, blah, blah. I don't care what anyone says, Pizza Hut's pan crust is still amazeballs.
Don't be a hater-if the food is good, it's good. Regardless of where it comes from. Eat Up!