That popular Animal Planet show was in the back of my mind as I contemplated our New Year’s Eve dinner. If you watch just a few episodes, you’ll easily grasp that there are two principal paths to appearing on the show.
The typical way is to engage in a mundane activity alone so there’ll not be anyone to help you when something goes wrong. The other way is to engage in risky endeavors. Even if you’re in a group, climbing Mt. McKinley is a good way to invite trouble, as three experienced climbers learned in a recent episode. (One of them lost all his fingers on both hands, a lower leg, and half the foot on his other leg.)
I classified dinner at the Outback as “risky.” Not that there’s anything risky with steak, which I don’t eat very much. Besides, we’d be splitting a 14-ounce New York Strip. The “risky” aspect came from the appetizer: a Bloomin’ Onion. And no, we could not pass that up because…it would be free. We had dinner at an Outback while out of town earlier in December and the receipt offered a free Bloomin’ Onion for completing an online survey.
Now I don’t know if you’re aware just how nutritionally noxious a Bloomin’ Onion is. It’s a good example of why “don’t ask, don’t tell” may be the appropriate attitude if you like them. But for enquiring minds….
If you believe the Outback’s website (and I don’t), the Bloomin’ Onion has 1,552 calories and 82 grams of fat. Another website (Answers.com) puts it at 2,300 calories and 134 grams of fat. No matter how you slice it, the Bloomin Onion is a food category contender for being a poster icon of the Grim Reaper.
To aggravate the situation, we had eaten a Bloomin’ Onion during the earlier Outback meal. (The hotel gave us a free coupon for it.)
As a poker player, I’m attuned to “risk mitigation” strategies. So we entered the Outback with a plan: we would eat no more than half that Bloomin’ Onion. That would put the calories at about 600 and the fat at about 32 (each). Before the steak…. which would add about another 400 calories and 30 more grams of fat.
So the preliminary math comes to: 1,000 calories and 62 grams of fat. For comparison, a Whopper has 670 calories and 40 grams of fat. We also each had a loaded baked potato for another 520 calories and 25 fat grams. I had a Blue Cheese wedge salad… only 350 calories but 24 fat grams. So my total was about 1,900 calories and over 100 fat grams
And did I hear someone asking about sodium content? Over 4,000 mg. The loaded baked potato accounted for about half of that and the “healthy” salad accounted for about another 1,000 mg.
The bottom line is: I survived! And it will be many months before I enter an Outback again and even longer before a Bloomin’ Onion crosses my lips.
Manigong Bagong Taon! (Happy New Year!)