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June 11, 2012

Whether you're going to TGI Fridays, Chili's, or Ruby Tuesdays . . . we have the best appetizer options all scouted out.





(ranked worst to best)

10. Stuffed Mushrooms – you know what would make stuffed mushrooms delicious?  If they weren’t any mushrooms.  At least I can take comfort in knowing that this Great Gatsby era appetizer has been put out of its misery and removed from most menus.  The next time someone orders stuffed mushrooms look around the table, I bet the average age is over 50.

9. Deep Fried Green Beans – A for effort, C- for execution.  You think they were bored one day in the kitchen at TGI Fridays and started throwing random things in the deep fryer?  Before green beans, I bet they deep fried every veggie from broccoli to cauliflower.  Image a world where you could eat an entire salad that is crispy brown and swimming in ranch.

8. Potato Skins – enough with the crappy apps, let’s talk good stuff!  Potato skins follow the age old formula that everything is better with cheese and bacon on it (see: meat, bread, veggies, et al).

7. Spinach Dip – really a misunderstood dish.  Most people see the word spinach and continue on to more deep fried pastures leaving poor spinach dip behind.  Spinach dip’s secret is that it is absolutely delicious and, if made properly, the spinach aspect is little more than food coloring and garnish.  Long live unhealthiness!

6. Deep Fried Mac and Cheese – ummm, the greatest idea ever?  There are few things better in this world than mac and cheese and deep fried mac and cheese should be one of them.  Unfortunately, this idea is better on paper . . . the fried mac and cheese ball is always too dry, the gooey cheesiness just isn’t there.  The scientists at TFM, Chili’s, and Applebee’s are working around the clock on this one.

5. Sliders – these mini burgers continue the genius trend on the appetizer menu.  We have all faced the conundrum when ordering, you want to get fried chicken / tacos / pork chops, but the hamburger is too tempting to turn down and you end up sheepishly get the same old burger.  Now you don’t have to choose anymore!  The only thing holding sliders to #5 on the list is that most restaurants haven’t figured out the bread to meat ratio.  If I wanted bread I would eat the free loaf already provided.

4. Chicken Tenders – ripped right off the kids menu and placed on the app menu.  There is nothing wrong with chicken fingers, but they rate as an A for execution and a C- for effort.  Getting chicken fingers is like going to bar with a ton of great beers on tap and ordering a Miller Lite.

3. Mozzarella Sticks – truly one of the elite appetizers out there.  No menu is complete without mozzarella sticks and no family dinner is complete without a fight over who gets the last one.  Mozzarella sticks also provide one of the great mysteries of the universe: occasionally there will be a hollow shell with no cheese inside.  We can put a man on the moon, but still can’t figure out how that cheese vanished.

2. Nachos – a mountain of crispy chips, cheese, refried beans, beef, and enough veggies on top to give this some color.

1. Buffalo Wings – the king of appetizers.  Buffalo wings are so good that they can be served with a side of blue cheese and celery, two appallingly atrocious items, and still be overtly delicious.  Special bonus award for boneless buffalo wings (way not to step up chicken fingers).


Unfortunately, this entire argument is moot because of the greatest invention in the past 25 years (not counting iPods, electric cars, or push up bras) leaves all other options in the dust: SAMPLER PLATTER.  The biggest decision now is which of these do you eat first.


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