Before I get into my day at the Applebees Headquarters I have to tell you about last night. I was simply too tired to do it yesterday.
On the way from the airport to the hotel I asked the shuttle driver if he had any food recommendations. I purposefully tried to keep my travel food light during the day so I could enjoy some of this Kansas City BBQ everyone was talking about.
Right when I asked him we were passing Jack Stacks which was a mere half mile from the hotel. He said it was THE place to be as did the hotel concierge when I was checking in.
It was already 9PM but I decided… what the heck? I haven’t eaten dinner yet and besides, when will I get a chance to have BBQ in Kansas city again?
I ordered the Sampler. It came with a little bit of everything.
Barbecue Chicken, Pork Spare Ribs, Beef Burnt Ends and Polish Sausage. How could I pick? I mean, really!
The sides were Hickory Pit Beans and Cheesy Corn. I could do without the corn but those beans? HOLY SCHMOLY! I may have to add them to my "Last Meal" order alongside a slice of NY style pizza.
Has anyone else ever eaten there?
This morning the shuttle picked us up at 7:15 AM and we headed to the Applebee’s office building.
The had a typical office style spread for breakfast.
Considering my ENORMOUS 9PM meat-fest for dinner I stuck with just fruit…
Our day was packed!
The tour was actually fun. Their office building was simply gorgeous and designed so nicely.
In a weird way it made me miss the office work environment.
Did you know Applebee’s is owned by DineEquity and that DineEquity has a female CEO? I didn’t!
After the tour 2 Applebee’s test chefs gave us insight into the recipe development process.
I was fascinated! They do so much research and tests and focus groups!
All this talk of food was making me hunger. Especially after my light breakfast. Thankfully it was time to taste test.
We got to sample 4 of their new U550 items. These are dishes all under 550 calories.
First up, Sizzling Chili Lime Chicken
It was good! There was a light chili sauce that added a bit of spice and the portion size was quite large with a ton of fresh veggies.
I love hanging out with fellow bloggers.
I feel just slightly more normal. That’s Kristen of Dine and Dish taking her photo.
Next up, Signature Sirloin & Garlic Herb Shrimp
This one was my favorite and I have to tell you I NEVER order steak out. It’s just not even something I consider but this dish was unbelievable. The steak was tender and juicy. It was topped with just a little cream sauce, diced tomatoes, and slivered almonds. On the side was herbed potatoes (something else I don’t normally order out) and fresh veggies. Oh and the shrimp! I forgot the shrimp. Seriously, this is "the" meal.
See… again.. I’m not weird…
Next up, Sizzling Asian Shrimp & Broccoli.
I should probably let you know that I didn’t eat ALL of these plates by myself. We were sharing. :)
Anyway, this dish was also good! A little heavy on the sauce for my taste but the flavor was wicked. It had some kick!
Finally, Roasted Garlic Sirloin.
Even though I did like the steak, the star of this dish was the stuffed Portobello. I told them they should offer a vegetarian plate with 2 of those bad boys and a couple of sides. Someone else suggested making it an appetizer. This thing rocked! It sort of reminded me of my own stuffed mushroom idea but with a little cream sauce.
As a special treat we got a taste of their SkinnyBee Margarita.
That’s a 100 calorie Margarita. You heard me… 100 calories! And it was GOOD! Totally suggesting Applebee’s for my next girls night out. :)
After the food fest we chatted a bit and then headed into the test kitchen. There were no cameras allowed although I’m not sure why. It seemed like a typical kitchen to me. We watched them prepare 3 of the new Weight Watcher menu items all of which were delicious too!
Our day ended with a little more chatting and then a surprise slice of birthday cake for Amanda of Mommy of Two Monkeys.
She mentioned earlier that it was her birthday and the Applebee’s staff remembered.
I thought it was sweet.
Overall the trip was fun but I’m exhausted! Right now I’m on a flight from Detroit to Baltimore and dreaming of my bed. I’m looking forward to breakfast with the boys tomorrow. :)