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On The Menu

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Discuss On The Menu Here!

 

On the Menu will be television's first cooking show to give viewers the chance to taste the winning dish after every episode, as well as give everyday cooks the chance to have their dish appear in dining institutions across the country. Ty Pennington is heading to the kitchen as Host, with legendary Chef Emeril Lagasse serving as Menu Master. The show airs on TNT on Friday, October 3 at 8 pm Eastern.

 

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Culinary contestants must create a new burger for Chili's in the series premiere of this reality show in which home cooks compete to have their signature dishes served in major restaurants.

 

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I like Emeril and Ty, so I'm giving this a try.

 

"No tomato butts!"

 

Who puts bell pepper in guacamole?

 

I thought I heard that one Jasmine chick say that she used instant mashed potatoes for the potato cake burger. Maybe I misheard. I thought instant anything was a big no no! on these shows - right up there with the dreaded truffle oil. :)

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This inaugural episode is on my DVR and I hope to get to it today.

 

Chili's is our "OMG, we're starving and will eat anything short of roadkill!" restaurant for vacations. I live near Washington DC and couldn't find a Chili's here to save my life, but I can tell you everything you could possibly want to know about the Chili's south of town in Flagstaff, AZ, for example. How to get to the restrooms, best parking spot, nearest cheap gas, which booths are best for reading a map, which are best for cell reception, which side of the restaurant has the least bar noise, best way to get to the nearby Barnes & Noble, etc., etc., etc. That's "my" Chili's.

 

Fingers crossed that this is at least a semi-decent show!

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I thought I heard that one Jasmine chick say that she used instant mashed potatoes for the potato cake burger. 

She's the same one who used granulated garlic instead of fresh garlic.  When it was completely unnecessary.

 

I hate that this was basically a one-hour commercial for Chili's, and the only thing worse is that the next episode is Denny's.  I hate that Emeril is associated with this, sitting next to someone identified as the chef for Chili's, which offers nothing but preprocessed, mass produced, flash-frozen, reheated crap.

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Wow. They can keep the sob stories. Hate them.

 

Cooksdelight -- red bell pepper... yum. hee.

 

I hope this show gets better. Denny's seems like a step down from Chili's, but I haven't eaten there in 20 years so... 

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I'm wondering why the focus on places that are just a step up from fast food? Nothing against Chili's or Denny's, but it's not a place I go to when I go to the trouble to get out of the house for a meal. Those places are where I go when I'm on the road and need food.

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Oh come on. Do we have to have a sob story on every cooking show?

I think it's the cooking competition requirement. On the other hand, Greg rubbed me the wrong way for some reason... arrogance, a tad, maybe? And that big honkin' chili on his burger turned me off.

In regard to it reminding of Rewrapped... at least these people get $25,000, instead of a year's supply of something. And the losers get a $500 gift card. Not too shabby.

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I haven't seen this episode yet. Should I call it up on the DVR, or is it one that ought to go into the void of being deleted unwatched? FTR, I have not been inside of a Denny's since I was in college, which was a very long time ago.

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Yes, Bella, this one was better than the Chili's episode in my opinion. The people were a little more fun.

I figured out what it is about this show. It's Chopped Lite. It's the exact same format, just no mystery basket. And a MUCH better prize, plus $500 gift cards for the runners-up.

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This show's format seems off to me. I don't know what it is....

Maybe the fact that it's hosted by a guy who is known for remodeling houses & has nothing to do with cooking?

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I think it's more the Chopped similarities. But yes, I often wonder why they picked a house guy to host a food show.

Also, this one was refreshing because there were NO sob stories! No dying grandmother, no one with cancer, no one with 20 kids to feed. The woman tearing up a little when she left was about the only thing that came close to sob story territory.

I'm glad he fixed that hash, too.

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This reminds me of the Supermarket whatever show that was on last year, where they had people try to make an item which would end up in the supermarket chain the Mob Boss ran at the end of the competition.  I've never been to either of the restaurants featured so far - not a food snob thing, just that neither has an outlet near me, and when I travel I look for a Mom and Pop rather than a chain.  I wish they used Emiril a bit more like they used Chiarello the Douche in that supermarket show, and had him give the contestants some clues about real life production in restaurants - this must have been shot some time ago to give the advertisers time to redo the recipes for production use.  They ragged on the woman in the Chili's episode for using potato flakes, but I'm betting that's it's more realistic that Chili's uses potato flakes than that they make mashed potatoes to order.  I don't eat eggs and my idea of a good restaurant breakfast is a steak bomb so I was out on that one anyway, but there's no way I'd order frosting-coated French Toast anywhere. 

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Darn.  I somehow didn't realize that this show started last week and I missed the first episode.  Anyhow, I go to Denny's every Monday morning for breakfast - have for years - so I was interested to see what will show up on the menu tomorrow.  I was hoping the guy with the latkes would win because his breakfast looked really good to me plus I just liked him.  I didn't care much for the young guy and that hash looked awful.  Also, I wouldn't think of pairing French toast or pancakes with hash browns if I were cooking.  That seems odd to me but Denny's has quite a few breakfast entrees that do just that.  I'll ask the regular waitresses how the new dish is selling.

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Sooo.... I went to Denny's this morning and ordered the On the Menu breakfast.  It was pretty much what I expected - marginal.  The hash browns were mixed with fried onions and greasy and there were little chunks of very spicy chorizo scattered on top, not mixed in.  Visually unappealing.  The French toast itself was fine but the filling was some kind of white cream and little cubes of canned apples which were sweet and bland.  The meal was $7.99 or $9.99 if you wanted to add 2 eggs and bacon or sausage which I can't imagine anyone doing unless it was a huge person who hadn't eaten in a week.  The potatoes and thick slabs of French toast were a lot of food.  IMO The two items didn't go together at all.  I won't be ordering it again.

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I love getting feedback on these things, thanks so much!! I live in a very small town and we don't have any of the chains that will be featured on this series. But I do occasionally go to Atlanta or just north of there where there is a plethora of Denny's, Chili's, Outback, etc.

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I think a more interesting way to have done this show was have the final two entries judged by the customers themselves, maybe over a period of a month.

 

The hash browns were mixed with fried onions and greasy and there were little chunks of very spicy chorizo scattered on top, not mixed in.  Visually unappealing.  The French toast itself was fine but the filling was some kind of white cream and little cubes of canned apples which were sweet and bland.

 

 

I wonder how much this has to do with someone else cooking "your" dish.

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The idea of surveying actual customers over time makes a lot of sense.

 

I think the greasy hash browns probably were the result of the way they were cooked but the chorizo chunks looked just like the picture - like a garnish made from Alpo.

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I believe, for the sake of a TV show, they have to pick a "winner" to place on the menu. Printing costs, etc. But, how long it stays on the menu would determine whether they really earned the $25,000 or not.

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I think the point of the show is the hour of advertising for the restaurant brand.  All else is fluff/irrelevant - as part of the advertising contract they'll whip up something like what was shown on TV (modified to fit their standard operating procedures) and whip it on as a special for a week or two, but the show is over when the hour is up and I'll bet my hat none are there in six months. 

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I was looking to see where the nearest CPK was (~50 miles) after the last episode and somehow got the notion to look up the nearest Chili's.  Still too far away for me, but they had the TNT Winning Burger online for calling in takeout orders.  It's been a couple of weeks, but if I remember right the guy who "invented" this burger made a big deal about his meat blend ("like brisket"), special spice rub and barbecue sauce.  The sauce was a source of contention because he added ketchup to it without tasting it before he served it to the execs and they tore him a new one for it.  He needn't have worried, the sauce is now "Chili's Signature BBQ Sauce" and there's no mention of special meat or rub, although they did leave on the fried breaded pickles which were the other feature of "his" burger. 

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I just now watched this episode and I've already forgotten which woman was which.  If Laurie was the housewife, I agree.  I couldn't wait until they got rid of her.  Talk about annoying!  I didn't like the younger woman much either - too loud and shrill.  I was very surprised a chain restaurant would take on any dish with that many ingredients.  I liked Cruz and was sorry he didn't win.

 

I meant to add that there is no CPK anywhere near me AFAIK so I'll probably never get to try the pizza.

Edited by mlp
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I've never come across the restaurant. Just their pizza in the frozen food section.

It's actually a pretty good chain, they have some great pizzas, unusual combinations. But they fell into the thing that a lot of restaurants do - adding more and more items, like sandwiches and pastas, instead of sticking to pizza and salad. Quality suffers when menus get lengthy.

The competitors were putting too much stuff on the pizzas. Too much meat, for one thing. CPK specializes in individual sized pizzas, typically with a small amount of toppings cooked on the pizza, then some salad type of topping added after cooking. Their pizzas have a unique texture to the crust from the wood burning oven. Too much stuff makes the crust soggy, and the chewy crust is what makes their pizzas special.

I could not stand the "housewife", she was annoying as hell, and a throwback to the 50's. She's my age, and calling herself a housewife? I don't know if that's what I hated more, or if it was the hysterics. Her not winning made me happy.

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If you closed your eyes one of them sounded like Katie Lee Joel. 

 

Don't know of any local California Pizza Kitchens without taking a flight.

 

However, waiting for the Outback episode.

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I think CPKs are clustered in certain parts of the country. I started plugging in random city names and it seems like they are fixated on having 5 in or near each major city.

 

As someone else said above, they diluted their menu and now have a bunch of so-so items. But the pizzas remain pretty good.

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I think CPKs are clustered in certain parts of the country.

 

I looked at Illinois earlier today and found 9 or 10 in the Chicago suburbs but none downstate.  The closest one to me is at least two hours away, too far to go just for lunch so I guess I'll remain ignorant unless I have reason to head north.

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Bah.  I liked Tammi and was hoping she would win. I couldn't believe she was over 50!  Her dessert looked delicious to me.

 

I was hoping that little snip Katie would get booted first.  Between her vocal fry and deliberate toothy smile for the cameras, I wanted to slap her.  As soon as she described herself as "cute", I knew I'd hate her and I wasn't wrong.

 

I find it hard to imagine people naming a boy child Sunshine, hippie or not.  Good grief.  Even stranger...... He goes by that instead of a nickname.  Maybe he doesn't in real life.

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As someone else said above, they diluted their menu and now have a bunch of so-so items. But the pizzas remain pretty good.

 

This. I grew up on CPK and the sandwich part of the menu used to be good with their spicy dijon mustard, but that's gone. Some times I miss the butter that used to be served with the bread. I do love their salads so I usually end up ordering them the most. Surprisingly I really like the small plate quesadilla and it's a good snack portion and price. The desserts are very rich so it's hard to eat it all at one time. My local CPK is only 5 mins away and I've been to it so many times that one of the part time managers knows my name now.

 

I still have no desire to try out the new pizza, but then again I only like about 3-5 pizzas on the menu.

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As far as looks, I'd have to give the win to Katie.  Her dessert looked the better of the two.

 

 

I find it hard to imagine people naming a boy child Sunshine, hippie or not.  Good grief.  Even stranger...... He goes by that instead of a nickname.  Maybe he doesn't in real life.

 

You gotta give him credit.  He decided to "own" the name rather than run away from it. 

 

This show is much more enjoyable than other "dreck" cooking competitions.  I'm looking at you, Cutthroat Kitchen.

Edited by nottopbravo
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I thought both desserts look unbearably sweet, I don't think I would be able to eat either one of them.

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I can't root for either of these two contestants - Eric talks too much, the woman keeps talking about how "unique" her seafood lasagna is - well, I hate to break it to her, but I've had (and made) seafood lasagna for years.

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And I'm not a seafood lasagna fan.

Me either, it also sounded way too rich, & I don't like cooked bell peppers.

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I didn't think either dish had any wow appeal but I liked Eric better so I was hoping he'd win.  I thought he removed the most interesting parts of his first dish and made the second offering mundane.  The seafood lasagna wasn't anything original and it looked heavy and gloppy.  The young girl was very annoying.

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Also, I would have kidnapped Emeril & made him make me those grilled oysters every day :-) They looked delicious!!!

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This has gotten awfully predictable, I called every elimination way early.  When chef Emiril Jr and whoever the loud host is got the first tasting of the lasagna and said "There's a lot of crabmeat in here" I heard "But we can't sell the damn dish for $80 so that's coming way down". But shrimp and grits guy was doomed after everybody told him "everyone in NOLA has been making shrimp and grits that kick your ass for their whole lives" so it was no surprise he was booted off.  Easier to fix up a seafood lasagna they can actually afford to sell than risk Emeril's reputation - if he thought S&G should be on the menu they already would be. 

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