Archive for the 'Chain / Multiple Locations' Category

Chain Reaction: Red Lobster’s Endless Shrimp® & Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Bowl®

Red Lobster’s Endless Shrimp®

My weekday lunchtime habits have changed as of late. Working at a restaurant group with nearly 2,000 locations, I’ve been thinking about and eating at more chain restaurants than I ever did before. Fueled by a desire to scope out the competition and by genuine curiosity, I’ve been exploring places that I used to pay little mind to.

So while I usually dedicate this space to touting the merits of under-appreciated mom and pop shops, I thought it’d be fun to change things up a bit and shed some light on two permanent fixtures in the American dining landscape: Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Humor me, yes? Thank you.

Red Lobster’s Endless Shrimp®

First up, Red Lobster‘s Endless Shrimp®! For $17.99, I had my fill of six different shrimp preparations: Sriracha Grilled Shrimp, Parmesan Shrimp Scampi, Hand-Breaded Shrimp, Garlic Shrimp Scampi, Shrimp Linguini Alfredo, and Coconut Shrimp Bites.

Red Lobster’s Endless Shrimp®

The offer also included a salad (not pictured and not eaten) and unlimited Cheddar Bay Biscuits®. Whereas the former was anemic and sad, the latter were tasty lil’ carbohydrate bombs. We asked for seconds, thirds, and fourths. No joke.

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{swoon} Grilled Cheese with Pastrami at The Hat

The Hat - Grilled Cheese with Pastrami - Los Angeles

A co-worker’s birthday brought me and my fellow worker bees to The Hat for a festive lunch. I’ve visited this 63-year-old palace of pastrami twice prior, but didn’t swoon until this time around. Hello, Grilled Cheese with Pastrami!

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{swoon} Double-Double, Animal-Style, Grilled Whole Onions, Medium-Rare Patties, Chilies

In-N-Out Burger Secret Menu

I took a walk on the wild side last Friday night while road tripping from L.A. to The Bay. Instead of my usual In-N-Out order, a Double-Double with grilled onions, I crammed every “secret menu” add-on I could think of in between the two delicately toasted buns. After enduring rush hour on The 405 and odious feedlots along The 5, this gal demanded some serious entertainment of the edible variety.

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Zankou Chicken – Pasadena

Zankou Chicken

There is no greater aperitif than a long walk. Strolling at an easy pace, admiring buildings and people along the way, works up an appetite like sitting in traffic never can.

While the number of restaurants within walking distance (and worth eating at) isn’t tremendous in our Pasadena neighborhood, The Astronomer and I have a solid list of go-to places including Pie ‘n Burger, Old Sasoon Bakery, and Cham Korean Bistro. Our most recent addition to the walkable and craveable list is Zankou Chicken, an L.A. institution located about a mile from home.

Zankou Chicken

This much-loved rotisserie chicken shack was founded in Beirut in 1962 by Vartkes and Markrid Iskenderian. The couple fled war-torn Lebanon and opened the first American branch of Zankou in Hollywood in 1984. There are currently ten Zankou locations in and around the Southland.

Zankou Chicken

Zankou is run much like a fast food establishment. Orders are placed and paid for at the counter, and numbers are shouted out as food is ready for pick up. Business was bumping the Friday night we visited. Still, lines moved efficiently and food was prepared swiftly.

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