Fresh Flavors of Summer Menu and there are some really yummy dishes that are featured on this menu!
How to Pick a Perfect Tomato:
- The type of tomato depends on the recipe. Roma tomatoes are great for cooking while Beefsteak tomatoes make big, juicy slices and are ideal for a sandwich or salad.
- Once you know what type of tomato you need, there are a few things that you want to look for:
- Color: Tomato should be a deep red without blemishes or bruising
- Feel: A great tomato will feel heavy for its size, firm and should yield slightly when you squeeze it but have the resiliency to go back to its original shape
- Smell: Tomatoes that are fresh and ripe will have a grassy, earthy smell, especially right where the stem is
- Stem: While an intact stem doesn't mean that a tomato is automatically fresher than one without a stem, it is an indicator that the tomato was handled with care, probably by hand
- To avoid splatter (and mush), start with a sharp chef’s knife.
- Make sure the skin side is against the hard surface of the cutting board and not the soft “meat” of the tomato. You want to cut through the soft side, not through the skin.
- Excess seeds and juice mean you probably got a tomato with an overgrown seed cavity, an indication that the tomato was left on the vine too long. This is most common with larger tomatoes.
- Everything that ends up on your cutting board (aside from the stem and core) should go in with your food! Anything red, all the seeds… All of this will add to the quality and freshness of whatever you are preparing.
- Avocados begin to ripen as soon as they are picked off the vine so a freshly picked, hard avocado will need 1-2 days before it is ready to eat.
- If you buy an avocado that is perfectly ripe but that you are not ready to eat, a great trick is to put it in the fridge, as that will slow down the ripening process.
- Feel: An avocado is ready to eat when you can squeeze it without leaving any indentations. If indentations remain it means the avocado is overripe.
- Color: Avoid avocados that are completely green. You want color variation. An avocado that is extremely dark means it is overripe so look for something in between.
- Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the avocado in half lengthwise. With one hand on each side, give it a quarter turn twist and it will neatly bisect into two halves (one with the seed, one without).
- To safely remove the seed, use a sharp teaspoon and slide it directly under the seed until it pops out.
- Once the seed is out, hold one half of the avocado so that it lies in the natural shape of your hand and using a chef’s knife, score it twice lengthwise and three times horizontally.
- Using the same sharp teaspoon, scoop around and under the avocado meat and 12 nice chunks will pop right out.
I have NEVER known how to dice an Avocado so these tips are so helpful for me. I love to prepare fresh foods for myself (seeing as my family doesn't eat fresh veggies) and think that these tips will be great!
So, for this review I was sent a $50 Gift Certificate for Applebee's and hubby and I were very excited to get away for an evening. Last night, we were able to get my sister to come and babysit the children and we escaped for a date together.
The first thing that caught my eye were the little kiosks on each table. I immediately asked my husband what they were and when we were seated, I found that on this kiosk you can order drinks, appetizers, play games (for a price) and do other things to make your dining experience more pleasant.
Our menus were handed to us and we had already decided that we wanted French Onion Soup and an appetizer to start. Our waitress, who was named Rachel, took our drink orders and hubby ordered a Frozen Strawberry Lemonade. He let me try it and it was DELICIOUS. :)
Obviously, after hearing so much about the new Fresh Flavors of Summer Menu, I eagerly opened my menu and began searching for the newest additions. I sort of wish that they had a specific section dedicated to this menu as the items were scattered amongst the other menu items and you kind of had to look for them. Some of the newest dishes are, Blackened Sirloin & Garlicky Green Beans, Margarita Queso Chicken & Shrimp, California Shrimp Salad, Lemon Shrimp Fettuccine and Green Bean Crispers. Everything sounded sooo delicious (except for the shrimp dishes as I am not a shrimp fan) and I had a hard time choosing something.
One thing that I noticed that is really nice is the fact that they have Weight Watchers menu items (complete with the number of points that meal will use) that make choosing a meal simple for someone who is on the Weight Watcher's diet. Just wanted to note that. :)
While we were waiting for our meal to come out, we decided that we would really love to try the Chili Cheese Nachos. Our Nachos arrived hot and ready to be eaten and we dug right in! As I was eating, I spied something unusual in my Nacho's and upon careful inspection, I found that there was a long, black hair wound around the chips. Whoa, that was totally unexpected. Our waitress was taking care of another table and so I flagged down someone who looked like a manager. After pointing the hair out, he apologized profusely and took the bad nachos to the kitchen. It wasn't long until a new platter was brought out and we thoroughly enjoyed them (in fact they were better than the first platter because there were more toppings on them). Later on in the evening, the manager came back to our table and again apologized for the issue we had. He also told us that it should NOT have happened and that he had removed the Nachos from our bill. I was VERY impressed with his professionalism and the fact that he had taken the almost $9 appetizer off our bill. We were happy with that. :)
For my dinner selection, I chose to try the Blackened Sirloin & Garlicky Green Beans. I typically always order the same thing when I go to familiar restaurants but wanted to try something different and LOVED my choice! This particular dish comes with fried red potatoes, a 7 oz. sirloin rubbed with blackened seasonings and basted in lime butter, garlicy green beans topped with chunky roma tomato pepper relish. The tomato relish was AMAZING.
My husband chose a full rack of barbecued ribs. He is a fan of ribs and loved his dinner! We ended up taking almost all of his dinner home because he was full from the soup and appetizers. His eyes are always so much bigger than his stomach...ha ha! It seemed as if the restaurant was short staffed as our waitress was gone for long periods of time and that caused the managers to be out and about, waiting on tables, taking care of checks and bringing take-home boxes out. It was nice to see the managers helping out but I do think that Applebee's should do more to make sure they have sufficient staffing to take care of customers. Other than that, our food was delicious and we were glad that we chose to eat at Applebee's last night!
So, this summer as you contemplate where to visit for a fresh dinner, check out Applebee's Fresh Flavors of Summer Menu! There is something for everyone and if you are like us then you will have absolutely NO ROOM for dessert! The new menu is wonderful and one that I would like to try again very soon.
Applebee's has graciously given me a $50 Gift Card (electronic...you will need a printer to print it out and take to a restaurant) to give away to one of you so you can go and try out this new menu too! Here are your entry options...a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for this post. I did receive a free Applebee's Gift Card for review purposes. All quotes and stock photos are from the Applebee's websites and email. Prize is being provided by the sponsor. This blog is not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen prizes. All thoughts and opinions are 100% mine.