Worst food in America: Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing

Men's Health has awarded the Outback Steakhouse with the Worst Food in America, for its "Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing."
2,900 calories
182 g fat, 240 g carbs

Even if you split this "starter" with three friends, you'll have downed a dinner's worth of calories before your entree arrives. Follow this up with a steak, sides, and a dessert and you could easily break the 3,500 calorie barrier.

Link (Thanks, Collin!)


  1. sweet christ. a starer with 2.5 times what i eat in a day.

    I noticed my weight spiking when i started dating my current girlfriend. Eating out a lot will surely do it. The best way to cope if you eat out a lot is to skip starters and split your meal. A half a burger or steak at most restaurants is plenty.

    unless you’re getting salads or something safer.

  2. Almost as bad as the Steakhouse Scrambler my boyfriend got at Perkins. Picture it: a bowl of scrambled eggs and fried potatoes topped by steak strips, sauteed mushrooms, beef gravy, swiss cheese and hollandaise sauce. AND it comes with pancakes.

  3. Those look like they might have meat on them. Cheese fries with ranch dressing sounds yummy, but with meat? Yuck.

    My personal weakness is Johnny Rocket’s french fries with their St Louis sauce. Nothing like dipping deep-fried carbs in spiced mayonnaise. Mmmm. I can feel the cement mixer backing up to my heart just writing about those.

  4. i used to manage the kitchen at a Chili’s. i remember seeing the nutritional information for one of the “Blooming Onions” (the deep-fried gigantic vidalia onions).

    consuming one worked out to 222 grams of fat and about 2700 calories.

    sweet mother of christ….

  5. “Almost as bad as the Steakhouse Scrambler my boyfriend got at Perkins. Picture it: a bowl of scrambled eggs and fried potatoes topped by steak strips, sauteed mushrooms, beef gravy, swiss cheese and hollandaise sauce.”

    Okay, i’ll admit i’d prolly walk 10 miles just to allow myself to eat that.

  6. Worst website design – Mens Health. Unless you’ve got the browser maximized with at least 2000 lines of screen resolution (available with that 52-inch monitor and 64GB graphics card that don’t exist), you have to scroll down each time down the list – all the better to notice those big-ass banner ads.

  7. i got those once. once. the fries, they were a pristine example of Sog.

    put me off them forever, i think, which is probably just as well.

  8. Is it the ranch dressing, the cheese, and the bacon bits (or whatever that is) that makes this so many calories? Because that doesn’t look like a ton of fries or anything. Not split between 4 or 5 people at least.

  9. @ Santa’s Knee

    They most definitely have bacon.

    Pair it with a Walkabout Soup (essentially a bowl of melted cheese and onions) and you’re set!

  10. Looks like Swanson’s Hungry Man Breakfast has to settle for the runner-up title, although it does have (had? I don’t know if these are still on the market) the notable distinction of being a frozen meal that you cook in the microwave, and is also up front about its nutrition information right on the package.

  11. I love how they’ve put the words “Aussie” and “fries” together and expected them to make some sort of sense. They’re called “chips”, ffs.

  12. The editors of Men’s Health do not seem to comprehend that anyone ordering such a thing is unlikely to be concerned with the caloric content.

    I cannot discern if it looks tasty or disgusting. The idea was “perfected” in a corporate kitchen/laboratory. They probably tested it with focus groups, so it might taste pretty good. For the very same reasons it may taste like ragout d’hobo scabs. I’ll never know because you’d have to pay me to eat at an Outback.

  13. For those who don’t know, poutine is a god-awful French Canadian dish consisting of soggy fries (you can still get fries done in lard there), chicken gravy, and cheese curds. I was forced to eat it when visiting the province, and I must say it was one of the worst things that’s passed my normally very adventurous pallet.

    One of the amazing things about Quebec is that they fancy themselves as more sophisticated than the rest of North America; however, the proliferation of casse-croûte (small restaurants that serve greasy fries, hot dogs, and hamburgers, along with the national dish poutine, sometimes by topless 40-ish waitresses) really makes one question the high regard in which the Quebec people hold themselves. The casse-croûte are more ubiquitous than McDonalds, and they have quite a few McDonalds to boot!

    There are few so-called ethnic restaurants in most neighborhoods. In the States we at least have a few healthy alternatives when grabbing a quick lunch or dinner out. I tend to patronize those places rather than chain restaurants, which aren’t all bad.

  14. I love these comments bitching about how the fucking appetizer from Outback Steakhouse is not authentically Australian

  15. This is just lazy journalism.

    Since nobody, except maybe pre-subway Jared, eats a whole order, let alone every day, I don’t see what makes it the “worst food in america”. Unless you are one of the neopuritan body worshippers who go around looking for EVIL in foods that don’t have whatever sacred dietary proscriptions you are following this week.

    One is expected to share an appetizer.

    For an entree, the large nacho cheese covered chicken fried steak at the jailhouse cafe in san antonio texas is far worse than this (and by “worse”, of course, I mean better). And it came with a side of fries. Between the sodium, the fat and the carbs, you are lucky to come out alive. I could handle it once, maybe twice a year tops – then only after playing 5 sets of tennis. I hope they are still open – I’m checking southwest for airfare ASAP.

  16. Also Yankadian is a buster, poutine is the god food and Quebec is vastly superior to the howling plain of idiots in which I reside

  17. While I can believe this starch and fat pile is the least healthy, it’s not the “worst” food. There are unhealthy foods that are also disgusting.

    I remember, after maybe 24 years, a microwaveable hamburger — the “Big ‘Un” — that I bought at 7-11. Loathsome, with bad quality chili and bad quality cheese and an unhappy gristly meat patty. I finished it only because I was desperately hungry poor college student.

    And a “crispy” “spicy” “seafood” “wrap” that I bought at Long John Silver’s. The “crispy” part came from 1″ long rice crispy like bodies. The spicy part, a runny, caustic yellow-pink fluid. I managed to eat half of it, then threw the remainder out the car window. (I-79 on the way down to Pittsburgh.) I belatedly apologize for littering, and beg forgiveness from the Most High for the agonizing death the consumption of this wretched choad might have caused any unsuspecting wild critters that thought they’d lucked out when they found it.

  18. Ate at an Outback Steakhouse once. It was a very hot summer and there was an air conditioner above our head and — I’m not kidding — condensation from the AC dripped onto my wife’s plate. And the waitress said we just had to expect that in summer.

    Never been there or any other Outback Steakhouse again.

  19. Okay, you convinced me not to eat it, but worst food in America? There are people eating ‘possums off the road, for Pete’s sakes!

  20. @ #27,

    Hey, if they’ve been feed table scraps to clear the carrion out of their systems, opossum is a perfectly edible meat. Plus, you’re eating local!

  21. @24:

    What do you mean by “buster?”

    What to you mean by “howling plain of idiots?”

    Finish this sentence:

    “Poutine” is to “ambrosia” as “steamy hot bowl of shit” is to….

  22. I spent a long time today reading the Wiki entry on the Great Irish Famine, because of some liner notes in a Celtic music collection CD I recently got out and listened to again, and was thoroughly depressed as a result. So I came to BoingBoing, hoping for something lighthearted. The juxtaposition of this article, in contrast with the famine, is…well, it’s something.

  23. Somebody up there along the thread wrote that one is “expected to share an appetizer”.

    Maybe. I’m not sure. I thought an “appetizer” was supposed to be a small portion of something to whet the appetite. I don’t know how cheese fries or fries of any sort count as appetizer because they don’t wet the appetite so much as drown it, kill it and bury it six feet deep.

    Outback Steakhouse is just bad. One cannot get a decent steak there. The meat is mediocre. And people actually stand in line to get into the place and eat that slop.

    But surely, as chains go, the worst food in America has to be at Applebee’s. I’ve gotten stuck eating there on road trips a couple of times. I learned my lesson. I’d rather skip the meal. Eating good in the neighborhood? Maybe, if your neighborhood is s dumpster.

  24. There’s a Polish restaurant near me that serves goulash folded in a fried potato pancake the size of a regulation volleyball. It’s topped with about 6 ounces of sour cream and includes a side of sliced cucumbers swimming in more sour cream. It tastes great but it’s enough food for 3 people.

  25. #33, Try the 99. It’s worse. (Not by much, but at least Applebee’s has a good bar selection so you can use alcohol to forget the food. I avoid both like the plague.)

    #34, If you need a chain, try Cracker Barrel (though you should be prepared to consume at least a half pound of butter). However if you’re traveling you should try to find locally owned places. You’re more likely to find something really good to eat if you don’t mind the inconsistency, and the people will almost certainly be friendlier since the business is locally owned and not run by some out of sight corporate entity.

  26. Uh, yeah. As an Australian I can say that I’ve never even seen, certainly not eaten, anything that looks like that. And we call them chips.

  27. what? outback has the “worst” food in america? i think not…look up Big Daddy’s BBQ in Tulsa,OK for the best “worst” food in the world: “The Big Daddy.” imagine a huge baked potato, with shredded cheddar, bacon, ranch, sour cream, bbq sauce, hot links, brisket, shredded chicken, and pulled pork…all surrounded by its own moat of butter. serving size: one potato. contains all four food groups: fowl, beef, pork, and dairy. we added up the calories on this baby and it tipped the scales at roughly 4000 calories. and this meal actually tastes good, unlike soggy fries from a crappy steakhouse. i think my heart actually stopped for a few moments on one of the two occasions i managed to finish this work of art.

  28. It’s very tempting to make a comment about American cuisine, that nation being the home of the deep-fried Mars Bar after all, but I won’t be rude. And besides, I’m alarmed to find that the real home of the DFMB is somewhere entirely unexpected.

    Suffice to say that the Outback Aussie Lardhouse, as it is properly called, is a long-term project by a small group of enlightened Australians to undo the damage done by our tourist industry. See, every year, thousands of Americans come to Australia, spend money, see the sights, wear fascinating shirts, and pick up Aussie sheilas. The immediate result, even before any disease results are back from the clinic, is that perfectly adequate Aussie blokes don’t get a look-in.

    This situation was seen as intolerable.

    Therefore, the Outback Aussie wossnames were set up so that charming, cultured and well-educated Americans would come to see Australia as a nation of lard-eating trailer trash with all the cultural sensitivity of a Jerry Springer audience member. The only people who would remain attracted to Australia enough to actually come here would be so hideously repulsive that our birds wouldn’t have a bar of them.

    Cunning, eh?

    So… is it working?

  29. Is that really 2900 calories?

    i could eat this thing by myself, it looks like.

    But, I couldn’t eat 5.4 Big Macs in one sitting – that’s a verified 2900 calories.

    ergo, this Aussie thing isn’t 2900 kcals.

  30. #40, the deep fried Mars Bar is actually a Scottish invention. If you think American food is bad, at least they don’t deep-fry *everything*.

  31. This is not the worst food. I would rather be forced to eat this than fugu. ONE bad dish of fugu and you are dead.

  32. to #34:

    The answer to your question is everywhere. The availability of every type of food you can ever want has to be seen to be imagined. God Bless America.

  33. Poutine can be very good, or so-so depending on where you get it. When it is good, it is very addictive and loaded with calories and fat. Best eaten for brunch after a long night with one too many drinks. The best I had was in a small restaraunt in N. Ontario in a town called Kapuskasing. I tried a deep fried Mars bar in Scotland when I saw it offered on a menu at a fish and chip shop. Not bad, very gooey. Probably added a ton more cals and fat, but I was on vacation so wtf. Never tried Outback — from some of the comments here, it appears I won’t be too soon.

  34. American food is just modified immigrant food. e.g. american-chinese food, american-mexican food, etc. The best food, in my opinion is, american-italian food, but only because French food is more of an art than something to eat.

    Ok, so how many people did I offend there?

  35. @40: Mate. Legend. And well done for revealing the conspiracy only to BoingBoing readers, who’d probably know better anyway.

    Mate of mine once went to an Outback Steakhouse while on one of those “come to the US and spend your holiday looking after a bunch of kids at some fsm-forsaken campsite” deals.
    He took photos of the food, because he was so weirded out by what they termed “genuine Australian cuisine”.

    Oh, and for the few that might not know yet: Fosters is not Australian beer. Anywhere claiming to be an Aussie pub and serving Fosters should be viewed with deep suspicion. Over here, the masses drink stuff like VB, West End, Hahn and Tooheys.
    However, if you come to South Australia, we might let you try some Coopers Ale. If you’re good.

  36. Seriously embarrassing that there might be an actual Aussie somewhere in the Outback restaurants who lets this type of thing happen. Why not call it Texas Steakhouse or Southern Steakhouse ? Nothing to do with Australians that i can see. We call them chips, the only place you will see “Ranch” sauce over here is at a Subway or McDonalds (American companies) and i dont think we even sell that crappy liquid cheese over here either. If there is an actual Aussie associated with the chain then i think #40 is on the right track, they have an agenda to kill all the Americans with consumption :)

  37. If you are found putting anything else other than tomato sauce (ketchup) on chips (fries) in Australia you could have your Australian citizenship striped and be deported to a small island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

    Salt and vinegar on chips is also considered acceptable in some Australian social circles, but personally I avoid such people.

  38. Bloody hell, just because you put “Aussie” in front of a word, does not make it so.

    I’ve never seen these on any menu anywhere, even in a roadside dive.

    I don’t think any Australian would find that appealing either…

  39. We Aussies would never touch dirty crap like that! Tomato sauce, salt, vinegar or a combination these are the only acceptable condiments for chips.

    Wouldn’t the ‘cheese’ in those texas cheese fries be that nasty canned stuff? We don’t even have that down here.
    And yes, it’s true that we don’t drink Fosters.
    We long ago decided it was sub standard and so have exported it for years (it’s really hard to find here). We let the world have the crap beer and keep the Coopers, VB, Crownies, James Boags and such for ourselves.

  40. #40, I thought the deep-fried Mars bar started out as Scottish pub food? Maybe it’s one of those things that nobody wants to take credit for. :)

  41. The Outback is definitely an authentic Australian restaurant chain. You know it’s authentic because they give you cartoonishly large knives with your silverware. We all know that Australians eat using only huge knives.

  42. all you haters-

    Worth every heart palpitation

    oh, and its not “cheese food sauce”, they do use real cheese

  43. Anyone else realize that this article is a back-handed advertisement for a huge corporate chain?

    It took me an half a bottle of tequila for me to realize the tie-in.

  44. Fucking seriously do you guys freak out at Olive Gardens because the hostess is some girl named Crystal from the suburbs

    You are bitching about the authenticity of Outback Steakhouse

  45. I don’t think Outback has ever claimed to be authentic. It was just born during the Crocodile Dundee-inspired Australian love affair.

    Aussie food, as far as I can tell, is beer, yelling, and inappropriate touching.

  46. As an Australian I can say: no, not “Australian” food.

    In fact, Australian food – besides a stereotypical BBQ (chops! sausages! colesaw! anywhere food) – is a massive conglomerate of cultural influences our young-ish convict outpost adopted at inception.

    Indigenous Australian food is a whole different matter, and couldn’t be further removed from dairy, oil and potatoes.

    Also: I am now very hungry.

  47. @#50 IRREAL: “Coopers, VB, Crownies, James Boags”

    One of these things is not like the other. VB?

    Coopers or it’s nothing. Although I’m a snobbish South Australia, and say graph likeso – “grauf” not “graff”.

    I’ll stop trolling now.

  48. #42

    Oh you delightfully naive darling, you think one meal at Outback or Applebee’s can’t kill you? Don’t you read the news? Do you have any idea how many millions of pounds of E. coli 0157:H7 were recalled in the US this year? The USDA has a handy little email service so you can stay up to date: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/

    Ah hamburger, the food with feces!

    I’d rather die from a nerve poison than fugu than from a bad E. coli 0157:H7.

    And I’m sure many more people have died from food poisoning in one year in the USA than have died from fugu in Japan in the last century.

    I’ll take sashimi over that Outback barf bag o’grease any time.

  49. My wife and I have been to “The Outback” three times. The last time we went we ordered this appetizer thinking it would remind us of our college days many years and extra pounds ago when we would eat cheese fries in the student center.

    We expected an appetizer – something small and tasty to whet our appetites while we waited for our dinners to arrive. The “from above” photo does not do this dish justice – it is a MOUNTAIN of fries. We realized our mistake as soon as it hit the table. It is enormous. Six people might be able share this dish without ruining their dinner. Eight would be safer. A warning from the waitress that this was about 3 pounds of “food” would have been appreciated.

    We ate some. It was quite good (fries, cheese, bacon? Of course it’s good) The mountain looked almost as tall by the time our unnecessary dinners arrived. We each had about 2 bites of our main dish and called it a night.

    That was our last trip to the Outback and that had to be about 10 years ago. We had been a number of times and ordered a number of things, but it’s just not very good. There are plenty of places we can get better food, even if what we’re looking for is junk food appetizers.

  50. k so i was in WV one time and mentioned the lack of guardrails along the mountain passes and they said hell we dont have money for SCHOOLS here – the lack of guardrails is how we cull the herd.

    eat up shriners.

  51. k so my mom grew up on a subsistence farm here in the midwest and she had a hankerin for a brain sandwich and i looked at the cholesterol per 4 oz serving: 1700%. TWO AND A HALF WEEKS RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE OF CHOLESTEROL.

    there is so much crap being touted as food out there – this is just one more example.

    don’t get me started on hydrogenated oils.
    oreos = death.
    read food labels.

    brains, cheese fries, poutine, oreos, blue gatorade – you are eating worse than garbage.

    p.s. just try to read the ingredients at any sit down restaurant. you are on your own, shriner.

  52. According to my dietitian’s workup, this would be breakfast, lunch, dinner, three snacks, then breakfast and a snack the next day. There would then be enough left over for 1/3 of my lunch. I’m 6’3″ and addicted to exercise, too. Christ…

    I have to say, though, for purely disturbing gluttony imagery, the meatball with meat sauce entry was worse, imo.

  53. Hello from Adelaide, Australia. Nobody here puts cheese on their chips (fries), nobody calls them fries and nobody really knows what “Ranch” dressing might be and why it’s added to anything but a salad.

    I hope that people don’t really think this food is Australian. The chips here are primarily eaten plain with salt, sometimes chicken salt, tomato sauce (ketchup) or even a splash of vinegar for the so inclined.

  54. How many places did they go to before handing the title of “worst food ever” to this plate of cheese fries? For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure every suburban restaurant chain out there – Applebee’s, Shari’s, Denny’s, Chili’s, etc. – ALL OF THEM have versions that are this or worse.

    Doesn’t Texas have chicken-fried bacon? That comes with sausage gravy to dip it in? What about those burgers that come with 2 meat patties the size of your face, ham, egg, bacon, cheese, AND mayo?

    Come on, Men’s Health. Get out there and do some real digging!

  55. One of the more amusing juxtapositions of my life came from a visit to the USA in the mid-90’s. As a joke, one of the friends I was visiting took me to an Outback Steakhouse. The food was quite tasty, and the “Wow, a real Australian?” reaction from the waitress made up for the American beer.

    A month or so after my return to Australia, I went with a group of University mates to… a “Lone Star Steakhouse”. Same menu as the Outback. Same oversize cutlery. Same pretty much _everything_, just with s/Australia/Texas/g applied.

  56. I’m Australian and I don’t know anybody who eats this crap.

    We eat something much worse. It’s called a Chiko Roll. Which is basically cabbage and carrot scraps padded out with flour and deep fried in a hard batter case. Mmmmmmm.

  57. Just out of interest…do these “restaurants” have the whole themed shenanigans? Kangaroo, Koala, K…Crocodile and more recently Stingrays?

    And yes, do they sell Fosters?

  58. All the so-called Aussies posting here are taking the piss.

    These fries are all we ever eat. Fair dinkum.
    Sure, we take the odd break for meat pies and vegemite to spice it up a bit, but it’s Aussie Cheese Fries the rest of the time – breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Vast teams of kangaroos and koalas whip them up for us, and deliver them to us while we sit on the beach, sinking tinnies and watching Russel Crowe and Hugh Jackman play cricket on TV. Naturally we have sound turned down on the TV so we can still hear our Kylie Minogue CD’s.

    It’s a bloody you-beaut bonzer little ripper of a meal cobber! It’s dinky die Aussie.

  59. The Outback is definitely an authentic Australian restaurant chain. You know it’s authentic because they give you cartoonishly large knives with your silverware. We all know that Australians eat using only huge knives.

    All right, all right, you win, heh. I see you’ve played Knifey-Spooney before.

  60. Just tried Outback last night with my wife for an early Valentine’s Day celebration.
    We both wanted to try it and they built one close by.
    We did the Crap Dip for a starter and it was really quite good.
    My steak was slightly over done but not sub-par.
    Everything else was great down to the Chocolate Thunder and coffee.

    Keep in mind that we don’t go out to dinner EVERY NIGHT or even every month.

    We only eat dinner out a few times a year, so who gives a shit how many calories our meal was?

  61. If only they were to call them “chips” and not fries they’d up their street cred with the Australians. Silly Steakhouse…

  62. This is for #42.

    Sashimi? Really? Too much mercury there for me, buy local beef, less ecoli and less mercury better taste!

  63. “We let the world have the crap beer and keep the Coopers, VB, Crownies, James Boags and such for ourselves.”

    “Over here, the masses drink stuff like VB, West End, Hahn and Tooheys.”

    It’s cute how Aussies so consistently present these beers as an example of their national beer drinking cred. Oh, how I longed for a decent affordable stout or hefeweizen while I was there. For the record, I haven’t met anyone in four countries who drinks Fosters. They must get some kind of subsidy.

    Australia is not missing out on the faux cheese, but you really should give ranch dressing a go. Not necessarily on chips, but it’s a wonderful wonderful thing on fried stuff. And salads.

  64. @ #80 For the record, I haven’t met anyone in four countries who drinks Fosters

    you’re telling me you haven’t met any Aussies in any of those four countries??? You should hang out in hostels more.

  65. The disgusting thing is that this American company calls itself Aussie Outback Steakhouse. I’ve travelled all over our country and I’ve never seen chips with cheese. But I must admit I’ve had some bloody-awful “rat coffins” (meat pies) at times. And I think its probably a given that the further North you go, the worse the food gets.

  66. Sometime I’m going to see if my cheese sauce is good on fries. I sautee finely chopped onions until transparent, add finely chopped mushrooms with thyme and sage, and continue to sautee until the mushrooms have given up most of their water.

    If I want the sauce REALLY thick, I add some flour and cook the resulting roux for a while. When that’s done (or if I skip it), I pour in heavy cream. I bring the cream to a boil, and let it simmer (stirring constantly) until it’s as thick as I want it for whatever I’m doing, then turn off the heat and put in a whole LOT of grated extra-sharp cheddar. (You can heat it back up if necessary, but if you let it boil after the cheese goes in it’s goodbye Charlie.)

    I put in just enough cayenne pepper to give it zing, and then use it. Ordinarily I mix it with al dente pasta and bake the resulting mixture, but I bet it’d be damn tasty on (say) wedge-cut and roasted (or fried) Yukon Gold potatoes.

    This is the sort of thing that’s not too bad for you if you eat it once a year. Much beyond that…*grabs chest, topples over*

    Miles, my sympathies. I think it was deeply wrong for you to be kidnapped by force from Quebec and kept enslaved in the Republic of Gilead, and I’d be happy to join the campaign for your release and repatriation. What? You say you moved here voluntarily? Then whatever are you on about?

    I must say, having visited Montreal in November and enjoyed it greatly, I fully intend to visit it in summer someday…and speaking of November, what happens in the US in that month may determine whether I live the rest of my life in Canada or not!

    Oz Commenters, yes, we apologize that we Americans are so stupid that a travesty like Outback Steakhouse survives and thrives in our benighted nation.

    I would point out, however, that another American travesty, McDonalds, enjoys worldwide popularity despite the fact that here it’s the food of the poor, the hurried, and the utterly tasteless. And small children (who, come to think of it, are generally all three). And touring musicians (2/3), who, I’m told, swear by it (instead of at it like normal people) because even though it’s bad, they know exactly how bad, and consistency is something you come to value when performing in Ohio one day and Nebraska the next.

    But I digress. I mean to say that McDonalds, while authentically American, is not exactly typical of how most Americans eat.

    And do try Ranch dressing. Dip something fried in a spicy batter in it. The yummy, it stoppeth not.

  67. WHY



    Oh jesus why is it impossible for someone like me to eat food in a restaurant in this country without WASTING it by not being able to finish the whole plate? Doggy bags are only sometimes an option. Sheesh.

    When will America realize that giving smaller portions for a smaller or maybe even the same price (whatever! I’d do it!) would make people feel healthier when they eat there…and then increase their business…

    It’s a good idea to avoid restaurants in general, if you don’t want to become obese, but sometimes…that’s not an option (read: living in NYC…being busy…)

    Why do pasta restaurants only offer “lunch servings” of pasta during lunch hours? I would buy it in the evening if I could. Instead, I get 4X the amount I can eat on this heaping plate that I could use as a lady’s garden hat…

  68. Yankadian, I’m mostly familiar with the food in Montreal rather than Quebec in general, but from what I’ve seen there, you’d have to really work at it to get consistently bad food.

    Try the poutine at Au Pied de Cochon — it has all the standard ingredients, but they also put a big dollop of first-rate pate de fois gras on it.

    Pipenta (33), the continuing success of Outback Steakhouse is a mystery to me. We’ve got one on 23rd Street, on the east side of Sixth Avenue. My theory is that it’s there for tourists from the rest of the country, who want to eat at a place they recognize. If so, that’s fine by me. It means they aren’t taking up any of the small number of tables and chairs at the pizza/taqueria place just west of 6th Ave that really does serve good food.

    Same goes for Olive Garden: why does anyone eat there, if there are other options?

    Specialist (66,67) are you free associating?

    Bozzah (78), it’s no use. We’ve heard about the Pie Floaters.

  69. Pâté de fois gras on poutine??? Argh! Quebecois traitors! I’ll go and die quietly somewhere, thanks… Preferably in a place where fois gras is served whole, cold, with rye bread and a nice white wine.

  70. I’m thinking you guys (the creators of BoingBoing) probably don’t care, because you are hip and probably all thin, cool type people (whether this is because you count calories/diet, I do not know).

    But you must know that there is a significant membership of yours, or passive readers of yours who are fat, and who, further, do not diet, and have no interest in doing so, nor in counting calories.

    Surely a blog as cool as yours has noticed the growing national awareness of the fat acceptance movement recently. And the growing numbers of studies coming out that do not attribute fatness to laziness or other synonyms, or necessarily to one’s diet.

    We (as I am one of these people) are probably tired of your posts like these, where you talk about calories, which leads to talking about eating patterns and dieting and healthiness. Why? Because I think we have had enough of those sorts of discussions in public fora.

    I’m not discounting the great discussion of foods (that sound sometimes interesting and sometimes not) that also derives from this original post, but I think it’s possible to get there via other means, and not just decrying how bad for you a particular food is.

    Just a datapoint for you. I don’t wish a flamewar and I’m not trying to troll, just trying to give you honest feedback about your post topics.

  71. Teresa, thank you for the response and the pointer. I didn’t post the comment above to say that this discussion was particularly poor, just that I’m tired of this kind of discussion.

    It’s awesome that the discussion you linked to could also happen here on BoingBoing, and overall I found the discussion positive, but it would be cool if BoingBoing would also support more scientific treatments of the minority opinions.

    Ones like:
    – Being fat may be mostly genetic.
    – Eating food without the assistance of eating disorders doesn’t make you fat (i.e. the oft-cited advice to stop eating when you’re full does apparently work for many people, even fat ones – they don’t just keep getting fatter)
    – Dieting doesn’t work.
    – Eating especially fat food or especially rich food or especially pleasurable or especially sweet food won’t make you fat (unless done in excess or unless your genetics bias you toward being fat anyway and you’re thin only because you starve yourself).
    – There aren’t “obesifying” foods.
    – Many alternative sweeteners may be quite hazardous to ingest.
    – People (who aren’t on diets and) who are fat eat the same amount of food as people who are skinny (who aren’t on diets).
    – Theories of metabolism set points and how dieting to take fat off isn’t as easy as it’s portrayed as being.
    – Dieting actually contributes to depression and neuroses and can lead to unfortunate results for folks who can’t conform to the norms and body ideals promoted by pro-dieting interests (social groups, companies, etc.).

    If you’d like, I can provide citations. Recent ones, even.

    It would also be cool if BoingBoing posters would think twice before posting about facile things (like restaurants serving gigantic portions of foods that are high calorie) that might lead to the discussions which I’ve already noted I’m (and I assume others are) tired of.

    Part of what I think the social progressivism that I associate BoingBoing as a whole with is about is rethinking patterns of thought and ways of doing things that we take for granted and that remain unexamined.

    To me, supporting or exploring the newer thinking about how being fat may not just be indicative of laziness or excess is something that would be in BoingBoing’s interest to promote, from the point of view of reexamining unexamined thinking that may not in fact be realistic thinking.

  72. I agree with Perigee here to a certain extent. I’m not sure at all why this site would link to something as homosexually closeted as Men’s Health magazine just to advertise for Outback Steakhouse, and then go on to bemoan the caloric content of this beast. I know very skinny people

    Still, being fat is unattractive to a few people I know. Just a few. So it’s a minority opinion. I know a few who are chubby chasers as well. God Bless Clinton for helping your cause, Perigee.

    But many of your points, like “eating fatty shitty food won’t make you fat, it’s ALL DNA”, ignores the 3rd factor: your own self image and will power and how both have a massive effect on your pituitary gland, and, therefore, your metabolism. I believe metabolism is king for sure. Try LSD.

    Strider_MT2K: Taking your wife to the Outback Steakhouse for an early Valentines Day gift sounds depressing. I hope she smiled.

  73. Cycle23, I said “Being fat may be mostly genetic.”, not “eating fatty shitty food won’t make you fat, it’s ALL DNA”. I think there may be a difference there. I trust you can find it.

  74. I’m not going to comment on anything said here, I will provide you with a bit of history.

    Outback Steakhouse was created in 1988 by a few guys who thought it would be cool to have a themed restaurant. Crocodile Dundee was popular at the time. For many years, there was a picture of Paul Hogan in every restaurant. Their flavors are inspired by Louisiana – not Australia. The only thing from Australia they use is some lingo and the import the lamb from New Zealand. Although the Cheese Fries are called just that – in every other place on the menu they are referred to as chips. The dressings are made fresh every day. The produce is delivered fresh every day. The chips are cut from Idaho potatoes and go through a 3 day process of preparation. Outback has a lot of healthy options on the menu. They have a fat free salad dressing, Tangy Tomato. They have oil and vinegar. They have salads and grilled chicken – just ask that the chicken not be cooked in butter. The menu is great for someone who is diabetic or on a gluten free diet. Most people do split their meals there and often get “doggie” bags. The Cheese Fries are bad for you. If this is news, I would be very surprised. There is nothing healthy on the plate. That doesn’t mean having a few fries will kill you. That doesn’t mean that it will single handedly cause heart failure or lead to death. If you eat the entire plate every day… or even weekly – I think there would be a problem. For most people it is something they get once every 6 months. Big deal.

  75. Perigee, yo-yo dieting IS an eating disorder, one I have. And as you might imagine from my earlier post in this thread, I’m far from an advocate of never eating anything that might be fattening. I’m currently about 30 pounds overweight.

    I think most of the posts on here are about the food being disgusting (that is, esthetically unpleasing) and unhealthy (cholesterol), rather than about the calories per se.

    I personally believe that if you’re going to eat food that will kill you (with your particular genetic/metabolic profile), it should be food worth dying for. This crap doesn’t qualify.

  76. For the past few years my friends and I have ended up in Outback for Independence Day. I mean, hey, why not.

    In 2005 I instituted what became the Cheese Fry Challenge… that is, to finish a whole plate of cheese fries individually. Not surprisingly, this has been less of a competition between friends and more a battle of personal attrition.

    Seriously, what better way to honor the US than orgiastic excess in a sham restaurant.

    Disclosure: I am not patriotic.
    Obviously: I am fat.

    Awesome photoshop to commemorate the the first annual here.

  77. The scary thing is, I stopped by an Outback yesterday, and the only reason I didn’t go in was because there was a 40-minute wait. I might just have been tempted to order this thing.

    #34: So where in America can a traveler find a meal?

    Eat locally, and check out Roadfood.com, Jane & Michael Stern’s site for such things.

    #102: The only thing from Australia they use is some lingo and the import the lamb from New Zealand.

    In Japan, at least, they import the beef from Australia, not least because the Japanese really don’t trust U.S. beef because of the mad-cow scare. Hell, McDonald’s in Japan was advertising their Australian beef at the height of the scare.

  78. #106: Umm…no it’s not. We eat cows, not me personally, but the same as anyone else on the planet. Except we don’t add process our meat like the U.S- it’s natural.

    Kangaroo is merely farmed on the side like a delicacy, there’s a small section in the supermarket devoted to it, but it’s a little bit on the expensive side. However, NEVER EAT KANGAROO. It tastes even worse than beef.

    Be vegetarian; it simply saves everyone. Capiche?

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