Chili’s, IHOP, and (surprise!) The Cheesecake Factory top the list
We were so close. May 5th was the deadline for menus at chain restaurants and elsewhere to post calories, a long seven years after Congress decided that Americans have a right to know what they’re eating.
But less than a week before the deadline, lobbyists for pizza chains (led by Domino’s), convenience stores, and supermarkets convinced the Trump administration not just to delay but to reopen the rules to weaken them. Sigh.
That’s why we’re honoring Domino’s with the first Xtreme Putting Profits Before Public Health Award. Who cares about the obesity and diabetes epidemics, as long as the cash keeps rolling in to one of the nation’s premier purveyors of white flour and cheese?
Check out a few of this year’s award recipients. To put these nutritional nightmares into context, a day’s worth of calories is 2,000, a day’s worth of sodium is 2,300 milligrams, a day’s worth of saturated fat is 20 grams, and a day’s worth of added sugar is 50 grams.
The award for Worst Visceral Effects goes to Chili’s Ultimate Smokehouse Combo.
“More flavor than can fit on a plate,” boasts the TV ad for Chili’s Ultimate Smokehouse Combo. Make that more food than can fit on a plate. So it’s served on a tray.
“Choose any 3 meats,” says Chili’s online menu. “New smoked bone-in BBQ chicken breast, new jalapeño-cheddar smoked sausage, hand-battered Chicken Crispers or a half rack of house-smoked baby back ribs.” (The ribs will set you back an extra $2.)
We went with the sausage, the Crispers (with honey mustard sauce), and the Texas Dry Rub ribs. With the sides (roasted street corn, homestyle fries, chile-garlic toast, and garlic dill pickles), our combo was like downing three Chili’s sirloin steak dinners—that’s three 10 oz. sirloins topped with garlic butter, plus three orders of loaded mashed potatoes and three orders of steamed broccoli.
Why stop at a triple meal? Why not serve four meats and four sides? Or five?
And forget the tray. How about a trough?
The Award for Worst Adapted Pasta goes to The Cheesecake Factory’s Pasta Napoletana.
“How can we turn a meat lover’s pizza into a pasta?” asked Donald Moore, Chief Culinary Officer at The Cheesecake Factory, in a Facebook Live video in March.
That head-scratching challenge inspired the chain’s new Pasta Napoletana, which piles Italian sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, and bacon on pasta that’s been greased with butter and cream.
As it turns out, it is like eating a Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s Personal Pan Pizza…as long as you top the pizza with three cups of pasta and a cup of heavy cream.
Check with your waiter for a list of nearby cardiac care units.
Want to see all the “winners”?
Click here to see which other chains took home a 2017 Xtreme Eating Award.
Plus: Think you can guess which menu items from some of the winning chains are lowest in calories? Test your knowledge with our Xtreme Eating 2017 quiz.
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