If you haven’t been to your neighborhood Applebee’s lately, you are missing out on their updated menus and spooky Halloween drinks. I found that out last week when I got the chance to sample creations from their new pasta menu which include Chef Bulgarelli’s Stuffed Rigatoni and Tomato Meat Sauce, Creamy Penne Pasta with Prime Rib, Cajun Pasta with Blackened Shrimp, Classic Broccoli and Chicken Alfredo, and a new Signature Breadstick. I’m going to give you the low-down on what I tasted, let’s start with my favorite.
I’m not sure who Chef Bulgarelli is but he should be proud of his rigatoni. I love the delicious scent of fresh basil, especially when it is speckled on piping hot tomatoes, so this dish hit my senses before the first bite. I could have feasted on the meat and tomato mixture alone, but was delighted to find the stuffed to brim rigatoni, full of creamy cheeses that somehow didn’t escape their noodle home. I ate most of this dish myself, as it was that good.
My husband’s favorite dishes were the Cajun shrimp, and a Cajun chicken variety they brought out. It had the perfect level of heat for him and the strips of chicken were nicely sizzled. They use the same alfredo sauce on both of those dishes, which is mild and cheesy. The penne pasta and prime rib dish was also good, but I would have preferred larger chunks of prime rib in the mix. Isn’t that always the case with prime rib ? Their breadsticks are served with a creamy alfredo dipping sauce which is a fun accompaniment. Though we didn’t indulge in the new Halloween drinks they are featuring, they sure looked festive. The $1 Zombie drink is not only frugal but also scary, garnished with Zombie “brains.”
What I had forgotten about Applebee’s is that it truly is a neighborhood hangout. The location in North Port features wall murals of the local high school, golf course and other notable sites in the area. It makes you feel right at home as you settle in with a new pasta dish and peruse the door for incoming people you might know. For more information about Applebee’s new pasta menu and other exciting dishes, please visit applebees.com
Photos courtesy of Applebee’s Facebook page.