One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


Recap of My Applebee’s Kansas City Trip

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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.

Jack Stacks

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. :)

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There are 18 comments so far.


    February 18, 2012

    So glad you were able to enjoy some KC barbeque!!!! We lived in KC for 8 years and just recently moved away. Jack Stack is one of the best in town!!! It is one of the many great restaurants I miss in KC!


    February 18, 2012

    You get to do so many cool things! Good to know that Applebee’s is adding to the menu as the old one is played out for me. That Asian Shrimp is definitely something I would want to try. Glad you are home safely with your babies!


    February 18, 2012

    It is a bit more “upscale” than most BBQ places in town:)


    February 18, 2012

    That’s what I was told. It’s the “fine dining” of BBQ. lol


    February 18, 2012

    I’m from MO and Jack Stack is the only place we’ll go to eat when we are in KC. I was so excited to see that’s where you went! I always order their chicken when I’m there.


    February 18, 2012

    Sounds like a blast. They probably didn’t allow the cameras for recipe security. Overall sounds like a great time. I am not a huge fan of applebees but the chicken dish looked good.

    Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

    February 18, 2012

    I am glad you posted this. I went to Applebees years ago and had one of their “light” menu items and was very disappointed. It was just a regular grilled chicken and broccoli. I just kept thinking that I could have made this cheaper and tastier at home and it didn’t feel like eating out and fun just to have grilled chicken and broccoli. My husband loves Applebees but I never want to go there. That shrimp and steak meal WILL make me to to Applebees,next time he brings it up, I will say yes! Thanks!


    February 18, 2012

    wow sounds like you had a wonderful time.
    Their resturant is one of our regular nite out.
    I am glad they are improving their menu for us. No camera in the kitchen. Maybe just in case something goes wrong. Well in my kitchen it happens.


    February 18, 2012

    You missed the best part about Jack Stack … their strawberry spinach salad! :) I know, it’s not BBQ … but it truly one of the best things on the menu! I can’t wait to see the next 3 Applebee items.


    February 18, 2012

    That’s so great you got to do that Roni – how fun is that?


    February 18, 2012

    We have mail-ordered food from Jack Stack’s. So good!! The beans are unbelievable. Love love love the burnt ends!! Yummmmmmm!


    February 18, 2012

    Food obsession=eating disorder.


    February 18, 2012

    Nice to see you’re back Cheryl. Thanks for the pageview.

    That sounds like a lot of fun. I don’t eat at Applebee’s often, but some of those items sound great! The sizzling lime chicken looks delicious.


    February 18, 2012

    Roni, how was the sodium content for these dishes? Last year at our WW meeting we discussed how outrageous the salt in the Applebee’s WW menu was:(. But these dishes do look amazing!!!

    Looks like a fun trip and man that sampler looked awesome.

    I’d be curious about the sodium on these too. Did they share that info with you guys?


    February 20, 2012

    They have the sodium listed in their NI file..

    All I can say is… YIKES!

    Travis Ehrenstrom

    September 20, 2012

    I know that Applebee’s has received a lot of criticism lately for their high calorie menu. It looks like your visit proves that they are working really hard to dis-spell that notion, and they are working on lower calorie options, which is really exciting to me!

    I have always appreciated their service, and I am not surprised that their customer satisfaction rises all the way up to the corporate level.

    Woo hoo for women CEOs! Thanks so much for sharing, I think I’m hungry now!