Chili's Review: A Great Spokesperson I Am Not

Friday, September 3, 2010

Update 2/9/11 Welcome Googlers! I get so many people searching for a recipe that I've linked to a printable corn soup recipe at the bottom of the post. It's from one of the chef's at Disneyland. The soup isn't the same as Chili's but it's sooo good!

Writing reviews is not easy for me. At least, writing the type of reviews I want to write isn't. There's a balance that I need to have to write a review in 'my own way' but still please the client. I wish I was one of the people who write so well and subtly about something that the reader almost misses that they've just been "sold" on something. 

So, I try to make a personal connection for you. I figure that has to be better than me posting an upchucked press release. This review, for Chili's, has taken me FOR-ever! (see, no subtleties here!) I love to eat, I love to eat out and love good food. It should not be so hard to talk about food! But, apparently, for me it is. I've written and deleted at least three of these review posts so far.

I should probably start at the beginning. I got an email from Chili's asking if I wanted to participate in their new campaign and try the new freshly prepared items on their menu. We love the restaurant so it was a no brainer. I told the PR person he "had me at hamburger." Phil and I mange to go out twice; first for lunch and again a few weeks later for dinner. At lunch I ordered sweet corn soup and a skinny margarita. The soup was so good I ordered it again when we went to dinner. I figured I'd make the post about our date nights and how the sweet corn soup is now in my list of Best Soups I've Had This Year.

*Aside: I love soup. I have a thing for soup.

So, I start to write about how I've had five soups this year that have rocked my socks so much I think about them often, including the sweet corn. But the post started veering more toward where I was when I ate the soups and less and less about Chili's and their new menu items. I scrapped it and moved on to a new post about how much I love soup (see aside above).
Chili's Sweet Corn Soup

I wrote about fall and how it's my favorite season because of boots and sweaters and how awesome soup is on a cool night. I found a recipe for sweet corn soup that I was going to include along with photos of me making it at home but that didn't work out either.
Chili's Skinny Patron Margarita
Then, looking for a sweet corn recipe made me realize how most soups are so similar, but different at the same time. At it's most basic, soup is heavily seasoned water. You start out with one soup, and by changing one or two ingredients you can have an entirely different soup. It was interesting until I started to write about it. The post got really long and nerdy. I was going to make a soup flow chart graphic, but really, how would that help you? 

Chili's Shiner Bock Rib Combo
If I'm supposed to be sharing that the new salads are hand tossed, the hamburger meat isn't frozen and the margarita has fresh squeezed lime juice in an effort to entice you to eat at Chili's, rambling on and on about how good the sweet corn soup is probably wouldn't be very convincing. Plus, I hadn't even worked into the scrapped posts the ways you can connect with Chili's on Facebook, You Tube or Twitter or how you can get a free order of their Skillet Queso and Chips. 

So, back to the review drawing board I go. I guess I could apply the KISS method and straight up say, "we really enjoy the food at Chili's, especially their new freshly prepared items, and think you will too," but that doesn't seem nearly as personal as trying to come up with a great post about soup.

*This is an unpaid sponsored post. Chili's provided me with a gift card to sample their menu items. The opinions, as well as the complete inability to write reviews, are 100% my own.

*For those looking for a good corn chowder recipe, I posted one from the chef at Disneyland's Storytellers Cafe and included a link to a printable Google Doc.

Happy 90210 Day!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I was a college freshman when Beverly Hills 90210 was in it's heyday. I lived in a dorm on the SDSU campus. There was always a fight over the common room TV on the nights 90210 and Melrose Place were on. It ended up becoming a Girls vs. Boys TV War. Someone would stake out the common room earlier and earlier to claim the TV. Sometimes we won, sometime they did.

It got so ugly that our RA finally stepped in and created a weekly TV schedule. He printed it on poster sized paper and hung it between the pool and foosbal tables. Oh the cheers when the girls were victorious! Thursday night was ours!

But the boys did not go down without a fight. Thursday nights became the perfect night for foosball tournaments, never ending games of pool and other forms of loud, frat boy behavior. They developed a knack for being their most obnoxious right before someone on the show was about to be kissed, killed or make some kind of monumental confession. We were pissed! No amount of shushing, cajoling, offers to bake cookies and, if I remember correctly, do laundry could get them to respect the TV Schedule. They were ruining our night and enjoying every minute of it.

Luckily, my parents came to my rescue. I asked for a TV and VCR for Christmas and I got both! I came back from Christmas break and surprised my friends.We were back in business. But, we didn't want everyone to know. Thursday night was strictly for me, my roommate, our friends and a chosen few. We'd pass each other in the hallways or meet in the bathroom and whisper, "are you watching tonight?" like we were planning something illegal. There would usually be about 10 of us crowded onto the beds and on the floor to watch the happenings at The Peach Pit and the Beverly Hills Beach Club. The scent of popcorn would usually bring a few strays.

Having something to look forward to and people to share it with made my freshman year a lot less awkward. Thursday nights were for pajamas, friends and laughter. 

Where were you during Beverly Hills 90210's glory years?

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