Last year, Men's Health anointed the Cheesecake Factory's Bistro Shrimp Pasta, a carb-y tangle of pasta and crispy shrimp awash in cream sauce, America's most gut-bustingly disgusting meal. Now the Center for Science in the Public Interest named it to their list of Xtreme Eating “dis-honorees” — they estimate that the sodium-soaked batter platter is 3,120 calories. That's three Olive Garden lasagnas! Also on CSPI's black list: Johnny Rocket's bacon-cheddar double burger, IHOP's country-fried steak 'n eggs, and Maggiano's veal porterhouse. But if their goal is outrage, they're x-tremely misguided.
Think about it: The people who are actually concerned with silly little things like sodium levels and calorie counts probably aren't sidling up to a plush booth at IHOP to begin with. Really: What dieter worth his or her WW points strolls up to a Cheesecake Factory (it's called Cheesecake Factory) or a Maggiano's — restaurants that build their reputations on gonzo portion sizes and bizarre permutations of carb-n-fat-laden entrees — and hopes to eat skimpily? No. These places are free-for-all fatfests. You know you're going to roll out feeling like an enormous stick of butter. And that's part of the appeal, if you want to call it that.
If anything, these shocking stats (did you know that Uno Chicago Grill’s deep dish macaroni and three cheese has a day’s worth of calories and more than three days’ worth of saturated fat?) will appeal to all the food masochists who find it thrilling to ingest a weekend's worth of food in one sitting.
So, congratulations, CSPI. You've inspired a fresh batch of junk-food fiends to contemplate their next conquest and managed to land the Cheesecake Factory in the headlines. Weigh the pros and cons next time!