My friend Russ Salazar is a member of Weight Watchers (down 50 pounds since January). He called me a few weeks ago to say that Applebee’s had a few Weight Watchers endorsed dishes on the menu we should try. So, after he got back from a trip to New York City, we drove to the Applebee’s at 3281 Coach Lane, in Cameron Park, to check things out.
Now, Applebee’s has a lot of great things on their menu, like appetizers, steaks, entrees, burgers, sandwiches, salads and more, but we were there just to try the Weight Watchers meals.
Weight Watchers has instructions telling you what to choose when you dine out, but Applebee’s has three dishes that are endorsed by them on their “Under 550 Calories” menu: Roma Pepper Steak ( 13 points, 510 calories), Lemon Parmesan Shrimp (13 points, 510 calories) and Chicken Freshcado (11 points, 480 calories).
Russ was interested in finding out how they actually tasted and ordered all three for us to try, along with an extra plate.
About 10 minutes later all three dishes arrived and we started dividing them up. They didn’t look exactly like the picture on the menu (does any dish?), but they did look good and appetizing.
One thing that keeps the calories and points down is that Applebee’s uses a lot of mixed vegetables in the dishes. Some they leave fresh and some they gently saute, but only enough so that they keep their crispness or shape and really liven up the dishes.
I tried the Chicken Freshcado first. It was a fire-grilled chicken breast topped with a fresh avocado and pineapple relish and accompanied by white rice on which was a melange of vegetables, including peppers, onions, sliced zucchini, cucumbers and more.
Immediately I really liked this dish. The chicken was still moist and nicely seared, the avocado and pineapple accompanied it wonderfully and the vegetables added great flavor to the rice.
Salazar is not a chicken eater, but he too agreed it was an excellent dish. On his first bite he thought he tasted cilantro, which he does not like (to many people it tastes like soap or gym socks – it’s in their genes). He continued eating carefully, but did not find it beyond that.
He also commented that white rice was not on the preferred list of Weight Watchers foods, but since the dishes were approved, they must have accepted it in this case.
The Roma Pepper Steak consisted of their chunky Roma pepper relish piled over a 7 oz. sirloin, along with red potatoes and a Portobello (everyone spells this differently) mushroom cap stuffed with creamy artichoke cheese spread. We ordered the steak medium-rare and got exactly what we ordered (that’s a real plus).
It ended up being lowest on my list because I thought the steak was a bit chewy and the potatoes needed seasoning. However, the large, stuffed mushroom cap was delicious and the vegetable relish really helped flavor everything.
Salazar liked it from the first bite. He is more of a steak person than I am (and more tolerant in a lot of ways).
Salazar began his meal with the Lemon Parmesan Shrimp. The dish consisted of blackened shrimp, sauteed with tomatoes, onions and basil, served over rice with a rich lemon Parmesan cream sauce. He loved it and said I should try it immediately.
I tried it and at first thought it was so-so, until I tasted the cream sauce. It was rich and creamy, with a nice tang (spicy is good). I moved it into a first-place tie with the chicken.
Overall, everything was very good. I am not sure that one of the entrees by themselves would satisfy a hungry eater (remember, we each ate one and a half), but Salazar thought someone on Weight Watchers would be satisfied.
By the way, this was my first time at an Applebee’s. We were there a few minutes after one on a Friday, and it was very busy.
They have the little electronic units on each table that allow you to order, page your server, pay the bill by card, play games (99 cents) and more. You don’t have to use them, but they are handy. However, I really like to have them ask to see my ID when I use a credit card.
This Applebee’s is open Monday – Thursday from 11 a.m. until midnight; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. until midnight.
For more information you can go online to www.applebees.com or call (530) 677-8677. You can even order online for pick up.
There is a lot going on at Applebee’s. On that day our server, Crystal, was all dressed up for the car show that was happening later that afternoon. Check them out.