I can’t believe it! I left this one in Draft mode and totally forgot about it! Let’s get this done!
I’ve been to quite a few different family restaurant chains when I was in the US, restaurants such as Denny’s, Lone Star Steakhouse, Olive Garden, etc. My favorite family restaurant though, is Applebee’s.
A family restaurant is like, a restaurant that has a huge variety of different dishes in their menu. Families typically come here because you are bound to be able to find something suitable for everyone in the family. I guess the closest equivalent to these restaurants in Malaysia is like… well… Oldtown White Coffee or Papparich, I suppose.
Of course, if you ask a true blue American, he/she will tell you that you can’t get the best American food in a family restaurant. The food is decent, but if you want to have the best, then you will have to hunt down one of those small scale food joints that only the locals know where to find.
But then, I’m not exactly a true blue American, so food in a family restaurant is good enough for me. Just like food in Papparich/Oldtown would be good enough for an American tourist visiting Malaysia. Not the best of the best local Malaysian food, but good enough to share with tourists.
In a way, Applebee’s is similar to Papparich/Oldtown in that, both offer local food that are typically scorned at by the locals when discussing delicious food, yet come meal time, they would all be doing business at full capacity.
I guess Applebee’s to me is more like Papparich. Slightly more expensive than the competitors, but serving better quality food.
There are two Applebee’s outlets near where I was staying, one in Loveland and one in Fort Collins. I used to frequent them both.
I witnessed quite a few amusing moments here, mostly from the antics of my colleagues… so, I think I am going to tell you about my Applebee’s adventures in the form of storytelling.
You know, (I’m not trying to be racist here, just stating facts) the thing with most Malays when it comes to beverages is that, they don’t drink tasteless beverages. You hardly see them drink plain water except for when they fall sick and had to take medicine pills. Other than that, it is always sweet beverages, like syrup and teh tarik and whatnot.
So the first time I came here with a Malay colleague, I ordered an iced tea. The colleague was not comfortable with reading the all English words menu yet, so he followed suit. I should’ve warned him beforehand, but I overlooked it. You see, the problem was, in Malaysia, if you order teh ais (iced tea) in a Malay establishment, what you will get is tea with milk and sugar, all mixed up in a glass. Sweet beverage, remember? Imagine his chagrin when this was served to him.
Bland, tasteless tea, with a touch of lemon. Fine for Cinabeng (Chinese bogans) like me, not so fine for him. To make matters worse, because the tea was cold, you cannot add sugar into it, the sugar would not dissolve properly. It was probably one of the worst beverage for him, ever. He did not even finish half of it when we left.
Then there was another time when I came with another colleague. You know, most Malaysians are what we call 饭桶 (rice bins), because they absolutely need to have rice in their main meals or else they would suffer psychologically. This colleague, he was one of these most Malaysians.
So, this guy, it was his first time coming to the US, and he has been here for two days without having a meal with rice. Needless to say, he was becoming insufferable. So when he placed his order of a sizzling chicken and shrimp dish and saw that there was an option for Mexican rice on the side, he was overjoyed. I did warn him that Mexican rice is NOT like Malaysian rice, but he didn’t care.
And then the food was served. It actually didn’t look too bad, albeit a bit sloppy.
He quickly took a spoonful of the rice and stuffed it into his mouth. And then his eyes widened and he looked at me in frustration.
“What did I say? I told you it is going to be different!”
Mexican rice (well, at least Applebee’s version) is basically long grain rice, which isn’t horrible on it’s own, although the texture is slightly different to the rice we usually have in Malaysia. But… instead of cooked fully until fluffy, they are cooked al dente, kind of like the Italian risotto, because the Yanks love their rice to retain a certain degree of crunch. I personally am fine with rice cooked this way, but for most Malaysians… I guess not.
So this friend, he had a few more spoonfuls of that rice, and then he couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to throw in the towel. He asked me to swap dishes with him because he thought mine seem more appetizing.
You know, I’m a nice guy. So I told him to toughen up and finish his food. Since he is a Christian, I told him it was God’s punishment to him for refusing to embrace American food and culture, so he had to complete the ordeal, otherwise God will give him worse tests in the future. See, I’m nice, right? I look out for the long term well being of my friends.
Anyway, this was my meal, the one that looked more appetizing than his rice.
This is a 6-ounce rib eye steak with shrimp topping and assorted vegetables. Super delicious, and what’s better was that I ordered this from Applebee’s Under 600-Calorie menu. In fact, every time I came to Applebee’s, I would order this, or some chicken dish from the same menu.
Actually, most American restaurants have their own simple and fit menus, but I can say that Applebee’s is the only family restaurant with attractive low calorie menu that enticed me into ordering them. Applebee’s is the only restaurant in the US that made me eat healthy portions. And that’s another reason why I prefer Applebee’s over the other competitors.