Wednesday, October 12, 2011


What with one thing and another (health concerns, public education, Michelle Obama’s “let’s move” campaign, and fast food joints listing calorie counts on their menus)  you may have been worrying that America is running out of ways to fill its eager, bloated craw with carbs and fats.  Fear not, Applebee’s is on the case.

After some moderately strenuous hiking in Joshua Tree last weekend we slipped into our booth in the Yucca Valley Applebee’s just as happy hour was starting, and for a mere four dollars we got a plate of Potato Twisters (that's it above), described on the menu as “A mountain of spiral cut potatoes served with spicy Queso Blanco and pico de gallo.”  Were they any good?   Well yes, though somehow not quite as good as I thought a plate of fried potatoes and melted cheese ought to be.

The menu told us the Potato Twisters came in at 970 calories.  Will you be surprised when I tell you this was designated as an appetizer and was actually one of the lower calorie choices? Other appetizers included the Cheese Quesadilla Grande containing 1130 calories, the Spinach and Artichoke Dip clocking in at around 1500 calories, and top of the shop were the Cheese Burger Sliders with fries – 1660 calories, though for an extra fifty cents you could add 60 calories worth of bacon.  Whose appetite could fail to be whetted?  And I think we can rest assured that the American heart attack and diabetes industries won’t be going out of business any time soon.

In not entirely unrelated news, if you were to go into the 99c Store on Sunset Boulevard, you could buy a brand of soda that I’ve certainly never seen on sale anywhere else, that rejoices in the name of Chubby.

As you see, it certainly seems to be aimed at children - and it certainly tastes undrinkable to this adult - and you might think it’s sending the dubious message that it’s a good thing to be chubby.  In any case, that’s truth in advertising you’ve got right there, with no suggestion that Chubby is presenting itself as part of some healthy, active lifestyle the way certain sodas do.

And in any case, I’m sure Chubby is a great preparation for adulthood, when the drinker can move on from "orango tango" to Fat Bastard wine.  I’m particularly taken with the Fat Bastard slogan “Live large, live long.”  Yeah right.  You want some Potato Twisters with that?


  1. Years ago, I used to buy Jamaican patties at a shop near my house because they were cheap and delicious. They sold Chubby soda there, so I always assumed it was Jamaican.
    Also, nothing like a calorie count on a menu to horrify you! I used to enjoy a visit to Jack in the Box on our trips to the States, but now they have the calories on the menus and I just can't bring myself to eat anything there.

  2. I thoroughly enjoy your blog! Thanks for sharing

  3. Lydia - a little research (i.e. reading the bottle) reveals that Chubby is produced and bottle in Trinidad by S.M. Jaleel and Co.- so a West Indian connection certainly, and more research reveals that the company was founded by one Sheik Mohammed Jaleel, who evidently lived in the West Indies, though admittedly that's not a name that immediately says Caribbean joi de vivre. The SMJ website reports they employ 2000 people on five continents.

    More info can be had at (I'm not making this up):