Arrgh! I actually ate out twice today, and owing to the preferences of my companions (and the fact that I'm a pushover!), neither meal was at a blogworthy restaurant. I picked my Brilliant Daughter© up in one town full of interesting restaurants — New Haven — and drove with her to meet my Lovely Bride™ in another town full of interesting restaurants — Hartford — and where did we eat? Arby's for lunch and Outback for dinner!
Actually, I enjoyed trying Arby's again after I-don't-know-how-many years, and I generally enjoy Outback; they just don't represent much to blog about. I did note a couple items relevant to yesterday's rant about the general non-spiciness of "spicy" items at chain restaurants:
At Arby's there's a (new to me) 3-pepper spicy sauce, and it clearly follows the rule: Aside from a vinegary tang that's reminiscent of bad French dressing, there was certainly not 3 peppers's worth — nor even 1 pepper's worth — of heat there. And let us not even mention the Jalapeno Bites poppers, shall we?
Better luck, though, at Outback: The soup of the day was advertised as a spicy tortilla soup, and it actually lived up to its billing. Not viciously hot, of course, but you wouldn't want that in a soup. It was tasty, with nicely cooked strips of chicken, bits of corn tortilla, and just the right amount of botanochemical heat.
And speaking of tortilla soup... is it just me, or is this one of those dishes that's almost entirely different in each new restaurant? Since my first (and still best) experience of it at the Alamo Cafe in San Antonio, Texas, I must've had tortilla soup at a half-dozen different places. While there's always chicken and tortillas, it's been otherwise virtually unrecognizable as the same dish on every single occasion.
Always good, though; go figure!