On Friday, here on the blog, I made known something personally risky, and I was holding my breath to see the fallout I would experience on social from admitting that “I like Olive Garden. Well, my friends, I was absolutely delighted to learn that in this, I am not alone.
As it turns out, I have many “OG Brothers” who love that mountain of breadsticks and gargantuan bowl of salad as much as I do and weren’t afraid to admit it. People from all over, from different walks of life, all coming together to say, “Yes, Scott, I like Olive Garden, too!”, and well, it still brings a tear to my eye.
Thank you for accepting me, and my “casual dining but I know it’s not ‘real’ Italian'” occasional food craving place where we get takeout and enough breadsticks to feed a Texas high school varsity squad.
Five “hot picks” for food you wouldn’t think of ordering at places you go to for something entirely different.
While we’re taking a brief respite from all this non-stop photography and Photoshop stuff, today I want to share five surprisingly awesome dishes you might not think to try, but if you do try them, you will thank me (and your Cardiologist will curse me). Here goes:
1. The hot dog at Steak n’ Shake
Nobody thinks to go to Steak n’ Shake for a hot dog, which is a shame because they’re shockingly yummy. In fact, they’re so good they’re not even called “hot dogs” at Steak n’ Shake. They’re called “Steak Franks” thank you very much, and each one is made with love (well, they taste like that anyway). You can get them with their famous chili on top, and/or cheese and onions, and getting a hot dog at a burger place like this will make you rethink everything and change your worldview forever. True story. Ask anybody.
2. The Double Cheeseburger at Dairy Queen
Nobody thinks to go to Dairy Queen for a cheeseburger, which is a shame because theirs is literally one of the best around. Way better than Wendys, McDonald’s, Burger King, etc., and you can get a Blizzard for dessert (try the Heath Bar Blizzard), which is just off-the-chain good. It comes with a set of defibrillators just in case, but you probably won’t have to use them, which is a good thing because that Blizzard tends to get a bit drippy by the time you’re done with that cheeseburger, and drippy ice cream and electricity don’t mix all that well. I’ve been told (I’m asking for a friend).
3. The Homemade Potato Chips at Zaxby’s
Nobody thinks to go to Zaxby’s for homemade potato chips, because you’re hopefully there for their new Signature Chicken Sandwich, which (and this has been confirmed in recent real-world tests), is right up there with Popeyes. In my eyes it has officially won the “chicken sandwich war of 2021” (or at the very least, they have signed a truce with Popeyes and are now against the Russians). They give you crinkly fries when you order it as a “meal,” but you can request the chips instead, and they’ll swap ’em out for you. It’ll take an extra minute or two because they have to make the chips up fresh, but you know what? That means they’re fresh! Get the Ranch or Teriyaki dipping sauce because it activates the chips.
4. The North Atlantic Cod Fish Sandwich at Culver’s
Nobody thinks to go to Culver’s a fish sandwich. However, if you like fish sandwiches, and have endured either McDonalds or Wendy’s fish sandwich (I’m not entirely sure either is actually made from fish, and if proven to be somehow fish-based, it’s probably made of Nordik Angler, which tastes similar to a dirty sock you might find inside a discarded washing machine at a landfill), then you’re ready to step up to this sea swept beauty. It’s crunchy and yet very light. The breading is more like fish lovingly snuggled in tempura, lightly killed, and then gently laid upon some fresh bread from a French bakery, but the kind of French bakery that would actually be in the kitchen at a Culver’s which is probably not French at all. This, despite the fact Culver’s serves French fries, which I’m sure the French might have a word or two to say about that, but anyway, if fish is your dish, this one is probably the best around.
5. The Buffalo Chicken Wrap at Jersey Mikes
Well, probably somebody goes to Jersey Mikes for a wrap, but I have to wonder about that person (what I’m saying here is: I have to wonder about me because I go to Jersey Mikes just for this wrap). Now, I like their Italian sub a lot (I get it “Mike’s Way”), but once I tried their Buffalo Chicken Wrap, I can’t bring myself to pull the trigger on that I-sub anymore. It’s big. It’s chickeny — it’s big and chickeny. Give this one a try, and you’ll be astonished and perhaps a bit frightened at how good it is. Heads up though: the whole time you’re eating it, you’ll be thinking, “Man, this would go perfect with some Olive Garden salad and breadsticks!” Well, that’s what I was thinking.
There you have it. Five “hot picks” for food you wouldn’t think of ordering at places you go to for something entirely different.
Here’s to a great week, and don’t forget, you could try one of these hot picks every day for lunch and then hit the OG on Friday night. Awwww, yeah. One more thing: remember, you after your order arrives you can stop for a sec and make some great food photos! Make sure you ask to sit outside (under an umbrella or overhang), or indoor by a window (actually, don’t sit indoors — COVID). See how I just neatly tied this all together and made it relevant to photography right at the very last second? It’s a gift. I’m blessed. ;-)