June 21, 2008

Eatin' Bad in the Neighborhood (I Want My Baby Back)

I'll be really honest, I LOVE CHILI's. Their food is always good, their service is always fast, their employees are always friendly and helpful. I go to Chili's almost once a week. I would go more but money prohibits me. And by money I mean both cash flow and my wife. (She's money too. HELLO!!!)

Yesterday I received a text message from my wife about dinner. She said she couldn't think of anything to make. I suggested CHILI's. When I got home she told me she thought we should try something different. She suggested Applebee's (Eatin' "Good" in the Neighborhood).

More than 5 years ago I went to an Applebee's in Rocklin. It was awful. The garlic mashed potatoes tasted like they were made with dirty dish water, the meat was tough, the service was slow, and I said I was done with Applebee's. Then a few years ago, Lincoln got a new Applebee's. We tried it out, as it was the only restaurant of its kind in Lincoln at the time. Again, the service was terrible, the order was wrong, and the food was not good. And, again, I said, "I'm done with Applebee's."

This brings us back to yesterday. My wife and I, along with my son, decided to "try something different." At our first step into the door of Applebee's I should have known this was not going to be good. There was no host. We waited to be addressed by an Applebee's employee for about 3 minutes. There was no one coming. Finally a man came up, I believed him to be the manager. He asked us if we wanted to be seated. Ah, duh. At that time a female host came and we were finally seated. Then our server. Goodness she had some issues. Overly fake and I could tell she was not the type who pays attention to the customers needs and ends up blaming everyone whe works with. She stated with the usual, drink orders first. Then we waited...and waited. She came back to take our order. "Oh you don't have your drinks yet? My assistants are slaking tonight." She left to get our waters. Now with the water, we order. And then we waited...and waited. Finally the food came. "Sorry the kitchen is backed up." It turned out my meal was pretty good. I got a "Trio" with Mozzarella sticks, Buffalo Wings in a Teriyaki Sauce, and 2 slider Bacon burgers. My wife's meal on the other hand, was awful. She got the Fiesta Lime Chicken. (8+ years ago I got this in Auburn and it was good. Of course, it was called Tequila Line Chicken then.) The Chicken was dry, the flavor was absent, the tortilla strips were stale, and the rice was just gross. What seemed like hours later, we finally got our bill and left. AGAIN, I said, "I'll never go back to Applebee's.

Now let's talk about something positive. Chili's. Everything about Chili's is great. Start with a nice glass of mango iced tea and some chips and salsa. Chips that are better then Chevy's Fresh Mex chips, and are around $3 compared to $7 if you get them to go. Then you can order your meal. Chicken Club Tacos, Monterey Chicken, the Old Timer Burger, soups and salads, or even the Guiltless Grill items are all good meals. The service is fast, the employees greet you at the door with a smile, the smile continues through the whole experience, the prices are good, everything about Chili's is awesome.

Those of you wanting me to move back to Auburn, get a Chili's and we'll talk. Applebee's is ridiculous.