Each season has a flavor you can associate with it, and fresh fruit and watermelon is definitely one you can associate with Summer. Taking advantage of the fresh flavors of summer, Applebee’s has just introduced their Wood Fired Grilled Salad menu and include grilled watermelon as other fresh and bright flavors. We were invited to try out the new Wood Fired Grilled Salad Menu at our local Applebee’s and were given a gift card to cover our meal.
It’s been a long time since we’ve actually visited an Applebee’s restaurant, or sat in for a meal. Partially because they are a bit limited on their gluten free options. But we were excited to try out the new Wood Fired Grilled Salads, and the thought of grilled watermelon intrigued me. I actually ordered the Southwestern Steak Salad which promised to have a kick of heat. I did ask they left the tortilla strips off since they were not gluten free. Overall the salad was good, and I was thankful that it was romaine and other greens and not a cheap iceberg. But even with chimichurri, pico de gallo, and corn and black bean salsa the salad didn’t deliver the spice and heat I had hoped for. I partially blame this one me loving hot and spicy food. The cilantro in the dressing and sprinkled on top did add a tiny bit of heat but it quickly left as quick as you felt it on your tongue. The rest of the salad had fresh flavors, and the salsa wasn’t overwhelming which concerned me (not being a fan of beans).
My boyfriend took it a step farther and tried the Crispy Chicken ‘N Spicy Cornbread Salad which comes with house made jalapeno corn bread that actually had a bit of a kick to it. The new menu at Applebee’s also includes Grilled Watermelon and Spicy Shrimp Salad and Spicy Blackened Grilled Chicken, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad. With the new menu offerings starting at just $8.99, they’ve got new flavor combinations you may not have thought of doing before.
For me, the biggest flavor combination I wanted to try was grilled watermelon. The thought of a slightly caramelized watermelon with the crisp fresh taste sounded fantastic. Unfortunately, I found that I’m not a huge fan of the side I had ordered. I’m not sure if it’s in the way it is prepared, an injected smoke or the result in general – but it was not a flavor combination I would go back for. Since we were in the mood for something a little sweet, we did try another new flavor combination on the menu at Applebee’s – Banana Cracker Jack Cheesecake. This was definitely not something I would normally try either because of the banana flavor, but combined with the spiced base, caramel drizzle and crunch of the Cracker Jacks it was a definite win!
There are a lot of different flavor combinations to check out at your local Applebee’s and some will probably surprise you. While I wasn’t a fan of the new grilled watermelon option, your mileage may vary of course. I will say that when I mentioned to the manager that I did not like the watermelon they not only removed it from our bill, but brought me fresh watermelon that was grilled for a much shorter time. This was more of the flavor I was expecting and it was that little step that helps make the customer experience.
To celebrate National Watermelon Day Applebee’s has a fun sweepstakes happening right now! They are inviting guests to submit their favorite salad recipes via photo or text on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #WoodFired and #Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $100 Applebee’s gift card. For more information and official rules at www.beesmeetup.com