Welcome to the 2018 Xtreme Eating Awards.
Each of these restaurant items manages to cram in close to a day’s calories, often accompanied by at least a day’s saturated fat, sodium, or added sugar.
That’s not easy. After all, a typical restaurant entrée has “only” about 1,000 calories. That’s one reason why “only” two out of three adults and one out of three children or teens are overweight or obese. But these dishes go the extra mile...just so more of us can start looking for extra-large-size apparel. Bravo!
The information for this article was compiled by Jennifer Urban and Jolene Mafnas. The article was written by Lindsay Moyer and Bonnie Liebman.
Worst Way to Start the Day
The Cheesecake Factory Breakfast Burrito is served all day, thank goodness.
It’s a “warm tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, chicken chorizo, cheese, crispy potatoes, avocado, peppers and onions, over spicy ranchero sauce. Served with sour cream, salsa and black beans.”
What? No pancakes?
IT’S LIKE EATING: Seven McDonald’s Sausage McMuffins.
Worst Special Effects
At Yard House, a Vampire Taco Combo comes with two 440-calorie tacos—each stuffed with pork, “bacon chorizo,” cream sauce, and guacamole— plus 610 calories’ worth of spicy rice and pinto beans.
A coating of grilled-to-a-crisp cheese gives the tortillas their ooh-so-spooky, bat-wing-like look.
And some people can’t leave Yard House without its signature 32 oz. Half Yard of IPA. Now we’re measuring alcohol by the yard? And drinking beer by the quart?
Grand total: 2,040 calories. Time to look into a silhouette-blurring Dracula cape? Good thing black is slimming.
IT’S LIKE EATING: Nine Taco Bell beef tacos plus three cans of Budweiser.
Worst Cinematic Snack
“Experience the legend,” says AMC. “Enjoy a snack that lasts all movie long when you treat yourself to 1.5 lbs. of soft Bavarian-style pretzel, sprinkled with coarse salt and served warm” with nacho “cheese” and mustard.
There’s nothing like eating your way through a 9”-wide Bavarian Legend Soft Pretzel (that’s a pound and a half of mostly white flour—more than a loaf of bread’s worth) as you watch a movie. You’d be better off (shudder) with a large popcorn.
Bonus: you get to take home the brand new fat cells you’ll need to store the calories you don’t burn during the show!
IT’S LIKE EATING: Six Auntie Anne’s Original Soft Pretzels.
Worst Adapted Pizza
“Chopped chicken breast coated with breadcrumbs, covered with marinara sauce and lots of melted cheese,” says The Cheesecake Factory’s menu. “Topped with angel hair pasta in an Alfredo cream sauce.”
Brilliant. Distract diners with the Chicken Parmesan Pizza Style’s chicken, so they don’t think about its size (nearly 10 inches across), breading, Alfredo, cheese, or white flour.
What’s next? Chicken Hot Fudge Sundae Style?
IT’S LIKE EATING: Four pieces of Popeyes fried chicken plus four biscuits.
Least Creative Mashup
Oh to be a fly on the wall when Chili’s execs dreamed up the latest addition to the chain’s Crispers menu.
“We need a new shtick to sell our battered fried chicken. I’m thinking add some white flour to stay on budget.”
“Buns?” “Pasta?” “Pancakes?” “Tacos?” “Quesadillas?”
And voilà! Honey-Chipotle Crispers & Waffles (“Crispers on top of Belgian waffles. Topped with bacon, jalapeños, ancho-chile ranch. Served with fries & honey-chipotle sauce”).
Overheard on the way out: “Next year, Crisper Cupcakes.”
IT’S LIKE EATING: Five Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts smothered in 30 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets and five packets of barbecue sauce.
What on earth is BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse Peanut Butter S’mores Pizookie? “Ghirardelli triple chocolate cookie | peanut butter | marshmallow fluff | marshmallows | rich vanilla bean ice cream,” says the menu.
That’s | all?
Nothing like a pizza-sized cookie for making s’more of you!
IT’S LIKE EATING: An entire (14 oz.) container of Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Ice Cream plus two cups of marshmallow fluff.
Worst Visceral Effects
“Penne with aged cheddar, parmesan and romano topped with buffalo chicken and baked in a deep dish pan,” says the Uno Pizzeria & Grill menu. “How could you say no?”
Indeed. Who doesn’t want their own personal trough of Deep Dish Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese? You can’t beat deep dish for building deep belly fat.
IT’S LIKE EATING: Three orders of Olive Garden's Cheese Ravioli.
“This modern day ‘roadside’ burger stand serves up the most delicious burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, shakes, beer, wine and more,” says Shake Shack’s website. “Fresh, simple, high-quality versions of the classics....”
Just gaze at the quality of our sample order:
Double SmokeShack: “Double cheeseburger topped with all-natural applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper, ShackSauce.”
Fries: “Crispy, crunchy, salty potato-y goodness!”
Peanut Butter Shake: “Make it malted, why don’t you?”
What a meal! You get 930 high-quality calories in the burger, plus 420 in the fries. And you get to wash it all down with another 890 from the shake. (Why add a shake? Well, it’s not called the Shakeless Shack.)
And many of those calories come from red meat, a white-flour bun, white potatoes, and the simple, high-quality sugar in the shake. Awesome!
IT’S LIKE EATING: Three McDonald's Quarter Pounders with Cheese plus three McDonald's Vanilla Cones.
Sign up for our exclusive guide to what to pay attention to on menus.