A lot of people are snobbish about the major chain restaurants. Every time you have the gall to mention them, they complain that Olive Garden is the McDonald's of Italian food or opine that if you wanted a real steak, you wouldn't be eating at Outback. I'm not one of those people. Not by a long shot. Maybe I have simpler tastes, but I love those restaurants. I love the atmosphere, the laid back style, and the fact that I can get a decent chicken pasta at each and every one of them. The service may suck, but it's usually a great time.
What I love most are the appetizers. While I might order a variation of chicken pasta at every restaurant, I have a different and beloved appetizer at each one. Without further ado, here are the appetizers I cherish most:
Skillet Queso w/Tostada Chips
Though this may not be my favorite appetizer on the list, it is undoubtedly the most frequently consumed. I know a lot of people will be screaming "HERESY" to see this on the list in place of the almighty Awesome Blossom, but eh, get your own blog. There's nothing wrong with the Awesome Blossom--I won't turn it down, right--but if I have the choice, it's the chips and queso every time.
Lobster meat, cheese, and crusty bread to soak it all up with? Um, yes please. This is one of those appetizers that will leave you so full you don't have anything left for your entree. Well, scratch that. You shouldn't have anything left for your entree. Somehow or another, I always manage to make it through. This, of course, complements the delicious Cheddar Bay Biscuits that Red Lobster is known for. Too much bread? Is there such a thing?
Simple and delicious, this is what you get with this appetizer. Unlike many of the choices on this list, Olive Garden's best appetizer won't have you eyeing your entree like it's a war machine coming to wreak havoc on your intestines. In fact, they should use that slogan in their advertisements. This appetizer has a particularly fond place in my heart, as it represents one of the few times I ventured outside of my "these are the foods I like" zone and was rewarded for it. Usually, I am treated to an uncontrollable gagging seizure, which is embarrassing under the best of circumstances.
Aussie Cheese Fries
Yet again, people everywhere are recoiling in horror that I have passed over Outback's Bloomin' Onion (their answer to Chili's Awesome Blossom) in favor of this. Well, you know, get over it, fried onion lovers. It ain't that great, and that yellow sauce is suspect. The Aussie Cheese Fries represent something all Americans (if not Australians) can get behind. 2900 calories of pure, cheesy bliss. If you mention it to the waiter, they can "layer" them, which means more cheese, bacon, and calories, all but ensuring you have a heart attack before the age of forty. Will it be worth it? If you even have to ask, you haven't tried this appetizer.