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SilverStormm

On The Menu

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At least this is one place that I am very familiar with the menu, as my elderly aunt in LA wants to go there every time I am out there. I usually order from the snack menu since their portions are so huge.

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The nearest one to me is an hour away and I've never been to it, so although I've heard of them I never knew they sold anything but cheesecake.  The dumbed-down bahn mi was the perfect choice and the winner was right on that making unfamiliar food seem familiar was the way to get picky eaters with an elementary schooler's palate to try it, which is a problem mall food chains must face every day.  I was surprised to hear they'd be serving the dish to "millions of people" from their 170 locations.  Emeril is so over this, and is now sleepwalking through it like he's on heavy meds, like when he lied straight faced into the camera about how exciting it was being the "menu master".  I think he wanted to slap the self-styled comic, but kept his composure.  The slice of cheesecake they brought out for the winner was the size of her head, is that the common portion there? It has to be 2000 calories on its own.

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ALL portions in that restaurant are huge. A family of four can order two entrees and have leftovers. Salads are enormous. You truly get your money's worth. Their menu is really a variety pack. They have pizzettes for people (like me) who don't want to order a whole pizza. Egg rolls, burgers, sandwiches, Asian dishes like orange chicken (my favorite), southern staples like chicken, BBQ, sliders, etc. It's worth the drive if you have never been to one before. Their soups are wonderful.

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They also have special pie-shaped to-go packaging for people who want to take home most of their cheesecake. It's one of those restaurants I enter assuming there will be at least one filled to-go box leaving with me. 

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The closest Cheesecake Factories to me are in the Chicago area, all well over 100 miles away, so I've never been to one.  I'm going to look for one next time I'm up that way now.

 

I liked the cute Asian comic guy at first but he became annoying very quickly.  I wasn't really taking him seriously after awhile and I don't think Emeril and the executives were either.  I ended up being glad that the young woman won.  I'd like to try her sandwich.

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 Emeril is so over this, and is now sleepwalking through it like he's on heavy meds, like when he lied straight faced into the camera about how exciting it was being the "menu master".  I think he wanted to slap the self-styled comic, but kept his composure.  

 

I thought he totally wanted to slap the female "spokesmodel" who ignored him when he was trying to find out about her dish.

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No $500 for the losers like every other episode?  Why is Hagar such a cheap-ass?  And who made him the Red Rocker?  I thought that was Tom Morello.

 

Why did the shrimp salad guy cook his shrimp the day before, anyway?  Shrimp cooks in like a minute.  Glad he threw out the rotten ones that had been sitting in the goo all night.  The winner was obvious although her dish was uninspriing - they can fix the sauces for her, and a cheeseburger quesadilla isn't going to cut it this side of a food truck.  Or an airport, which is where it looks like Sammy finds most of his captive customers in the continental US.

Edited by Totale

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I'd never heard of either of those restaurants before last night and nothing about the show made me want to locate one.  I did think the right person won.  That woman who came in second turned me off during her introduction when she described herself as cute and fabulous.  I associate that kind of self-promotion with pageant princesses like Sarah on FNS, not cooks.  It was unbecoming plus I wondered if she'd ever looked in a mirror. 

 

I'm looking forward to Outback next week.  I don't know about other cities but the Outback here has better food and service than the locally owned high-priced steak houses.  It's my favorite restaurant and it's always, always packed.

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This show has become nothing but background noise for me. Last night's winner was obvious. Of course an enchilada has to win, it's Mexican food, how boring.

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I'm looking forward to Outback next week.  I don't know about other cities but the Outback here has better food and service than the locally owned high-priced steak houses.  It's my favorite restaurant and it's always, always packed.

 

It's the only one featured so far that I've ever eaten at, anyway, although that was once on a trip because again there's none near Hooterville where I live.  There was one in a mall that died that was closer, but I could get to one within 50 miles if I tried.   I guess they have to make a "new" steak sandwich which should be a challenge.

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No $500 for the losers like every other episode?  Why is Hagar such a cheap-ass?

 

Maybe because their locations are limited. Did Planet Hollywood give out $500? He did give the winner a trip for two to Maui.

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I also noticed they stopped the money train, but I can't remember if they did it in earlier episodes. I was rewatching this and had totally forgotten Ariel saying she felt as hot as a whore in church.

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Finally, the person I thought should win did.  I did not like the guy's backwards hat but he seemed to have his act together otherwise.  I liked Lola but shrimp and something sort of sweet on steak didn't sound great to me. 

 

I recognized John Li the minute I saw him but couldn't figure out why I'd recognize an Outback executive.  It finally dawned on me that he's been a guest judge on Chopped. 

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Yes!! Thank you, I'd been wracking my brain trying to figure out where I'd seen him before. It was an episode based on Australian items.

Shrimp on steak in a sandwich? No thanks. I don't mind them on the plate together, but not in one bite.

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Yeah, I like shrimp and steak but not on a sandwich, and sweet steak sauce isn't appealing to me.  I also like steak and artichokes, but again not on the same sandwich. I suspect it will be sirloin or something rather than tenderloin when it hits the menu. I would have gone for the blue cheese and crispy fried onions version, myself, but I'm man enough to choose blue cheese.  This time it was "participating" Outbacks rather than everywhere, is it a franchise (so they couldn't push it on individually managed Outbacks)?

 

Never heard of next week's victim restaurant.

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This time it was "participating" Outbacks rather than everywhere, is it a franchise (so they couldn't push it on individually managed Outbacks)?

 

I missed that.  Maybe they don't want to force the dish on restaurants outside the U.S.  I have no idea but I go to Outback at least once a month and I'll ask next time I'm there.

 

I've never heard of next week's restaurant either. 

 

I hope this show survives to do another season.  I'm enjoying it.  However, judging just from the dearth of comments in this thread, I'm guessing it's not getting a lot of viewers.

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I think the issue may be the inconsistencies. First few weeks, the people eliminated got $500. Now they don't. They need to establish rules and stick to them. It turns off viewers if they think someone is getting cheated.

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They got the dough with Outback, I think it was only Sammy Hagar (and somebody above said maybe PHollywood?) that didn't give it out.  I'd like to have the contestants discuss the dish and the realities of restaurant cooking and pricing with Emiril before they go to it, and make them stick to a budget to hit a specific menu price (although we don't need to see them shop).  I'd be happy if they left out the first sacrificial challenge ("Brand Knowkedge", really?) and spent the time on that instead.

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I'd like to have the contestants discuss the dish and the realities of restaurant cooking and pricing with Emiril before they go to it, and make them stick to a budget to hit a specific menu price

Sort of how they did it in Supermarket Superstar. Michael Chiraello and Andrew Hunter would counsel them on their cost per unit and advise them of ways to make it taste better but not cost more. Emeril just seems to wander around and taste things. I don't think his heart is into this.

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I thought the right person won too, & he seemed like a nice guy also. I liked the way he said something to Lola about how well she cooked & wished her luck right before the judging. Something that Lola did neither of despite her sweet Southern lady persona. I do think that Outback is going to try to get her special sauce recipe, so good for her.

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I'd like to have the contestants discuss the dish and the realities of restaurant cooking and pricing with Emiril

 

Yes.  He makes his comments to the camera, maybe in the interest of not being an unfair influence on a contestant.  Some of the contestants though have come in with dishes that require numerous ingredients and too many preparation steps to be practical in a chain restaurant kitchen.  I've never worked in a restaurant and I can figure that out so I don't quite get why a contestant with money on the line hasn't thought things through better.

 

Random thought - It just occurred to me that the Outback near me doesn't open until 4 PM.  It's not open for lunch.  I wonder how many of their dinner customers buy sandwiches.  Maybe other Outbacks are open earlier.

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By the by, what the hell were they drinking at the judges table?  It looked like pureed pumpkin poured straight from the can.  I didn't see anyone sip it.

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I noticed that same odd drink.  It looked like a Creamsicle milkshake which made no sense in context.  I didn't see anyone drinking or the level in the glasses going down either.

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I'd be happy if they left out the first sacrificial challenge ("Brand Knowkedge", really?) and spent the time on that instead.

 

Agree on that.  What did having to cut and fry a blooming onion have to do with a steak sandwich?

Edited by nottopbravo

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Each challenge, they've had to recreate a signature dish of the restaurant, which may not have anything to do with the new dish they create. The first show, I think, they had to redo quacamole.

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This time it was "participating" Outbacks rather than everywhere, is it a franchise (so they couldn't push it on individually managed Outbacks)?

 

Looks like there aren't very many "participating" Outbacks! Only 24, if the Outback site is accurate. Given that there are around 1100 Outback Steakhouse locations in United States, 24 is pretty pathetic. 

Edited by emily842752

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Looks like there aren't very many "participating" Outbacks! Only 24, if the Outback site is accurate. Given that there are around 1100 Outback Steakhouse locations in United States, 24 is pretty pathetic. 

 

All in NY or Jersey.  Probably the minimum they could get away with under contract.  The winner's 6 ounces of tenderloin is now "steak", I seem to remember him putting in full artichoke hearts and actual spinach which became "spinach artichoke dip", and the sandwich went from grinder/sub style to a trendy brioche.  But other than that it's just the same.

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I think the "new and improved" version actually looks better than the original presented on the show.  I wonder if Outback is using their NY and NJ restaurants as a test market before deciding whether or not to make the sandwich available elsewhere.  I have no idea - just guessing.

 

I was at Denny's this morning and asked the server how their On the Menu dish has been selling.  She said just so-so but she thought it's because it's promoted on an insert rather than the regular menu, not because people don't like it. 

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Never heard of this place. I'm surprised they took both dishes especially since one of them forgot the vodka.

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They said they were welcoming back the English guy, but I didn't remember him, was he Mr. Planet Hollywood?  There are apparently a lot of these, but nowhere near me.  Weird concept for a restaurant, anyway.  So no business dinners for traveling singletons, and if my wife's at her lodge meeting I should stay away, right?  Even if we were going out together we'd never go there, we always get different entrees and appetizers and share.  The gay guy was trying way too hard (give it up, Boo, you're not fooling anyone), and I wasn't sure whether the older lady was Chinese or Korean. I was surprised the diners supposedly chose the veg entree first, maybe more people off the street do like zucchini noodles than like panchetta or sausage in some world I haven't visited yet.  Maybe it's the same world Emeril lives in where he's never microwaved a potato and the concept seemed utterly foreign (try it, Em, it works).  It'll be a drag to be a prep cook at buca whatever today, having to spend all day rolling out potatoes to make gnocchi when they could just be using the prepackaged ones like Jacques Pepin does.

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 I have been to the Buca di Beppo in Vegas and it's really good. A bit on the expensive side. Both dishes will fit right in on their menu as it has classic Italian and some modern twists. It was crowded and loud but was a lot of fun, full of families.

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I'd never heard of this chain either.  When Ty welcomed back the CEO I wondered if it's part of a large conglomerate that owns several chains.  I vaguely recall seeing the guy before but I don't remember when. 

 

The healthier dish looked very nice but I'd order the gnocchi dish myself even though I found the woman who made it annoying.  I was surprised when the restaurant people took both recipes but I can understand why they did.  I don't imagine 25K is a huge sum for a chain to pay for a developed concept plus the advertising and good will.  I'll bet they won't make gnocchi on site though.  That seems like a lot of work for short order cooks in a chain store.

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I actually ate at the original in Minneapolis before it became a chain, I wasn't that impressed but I always remembered it because of the name when they started popping up everywhere. I have been once or twice, the only thing I can say for it is that it's better than the Olive Garden.

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I really hope the Dickey's near me has that stew, it was exactly the kind of thing I love.

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Once again I had never heard of the restaurant chain.  Now I'd like to go to one though which I guess is the point of the executives' appearances.  I've really enjoyed this show and I hope they do another season.  I don't know if it's the focus on the cooking or the mostly low key atmosphere or Emeril and Ty or what but I like it.

 

I haven't been very good at picking the winners.  I thought the soup that won looked good but, if I were in a Dickey's, I''m sure I'd be much more apt to order the meat dish with barbecue sauce.  That woman who won looked like a 14 y/o girl and her baby voice was like nails on a chalkboard.  When she said she had three kids, I nearly fell off my chair.

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Dickey's is not "On the Menu" anywhere in New England, so the rest off the country will have to have my soup.  This show was OK although it had plenty of wobbles for me.  I actually think with tweaking it could be fairly entertaining, but don't know that it did well enough to come back.

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