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When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Order Bloomin’ Onions

TopsecretWhat was the most brilliant article in today’s New York Times? No, not the one about treating gang violence like an infectious disease nor the creepy piece about parents tracking their children’s grades and attendance in real time.

No, it’s "Déjà Vu Dining," an earnest in-depth review/round-up of suburban chain restaurants by their “in the region” writers. I could’ve written the whole thing myself, and with great pleasure.

I have no idea who these writers are but one can only imagine. The overall Manhattan-centric Times always seems woefully out of touch with reality, and I can’t understand how their bedroom community counterparts appear to be equally removed from the scary dietary habits of regular folks. The article gives the impression was that these restaurants were their first encounters with chains. 

At least that’s what I gathered from statements like, “in the league of the best Italian restaurants” in regard to a Long Island Olive Garden. All that says to me is that the state of Italian cuisine in Massapequa is sad and that independently owned has no correlation to quality despite the common perception.

And only someone who feeds their kids gluten-free chicken nuggets and whole grain French bread pizza would say “my teenage daughter is a fan of spicy food, so she was enthusiastic about a visit to Chili’s in East Haven, Conn.” Or maybe I’m the naïve one because I had no idea that Chili’s was known for piquant flavors (though the chain does exist in heat loving Kuala Lumpur) But compared to an Amy’s burrito, Southwestern eggrolls probably do seem spicy.

I wonder if this is meant to be a nod to recession-fighting tactics. While the rest of the nation is supposedly subsisting on 99-cent frozen dinners and Manwich, tri-state denizens are dallying with stuffed potato skins and chocolate lasagna? If so, I’m all for this cost-saving plan.

Here's a real penny-pincher; make your own 3,148-calorie battered onion treat at home.

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