Back in September, during our Oreo Trip to New York, Rina and I ventured across the river to New Jersey, all on our own during a free night, just to visit Rina's Aunt Eva and Uncle Tony. Tita Eva is like a second mother to Rina, so she was determined to meet up with her, no matter what. Of course that meant that my mission was to figure out how to get there via the subway.
Thankfully, it was actually quite easy, since all we had to do was get down on the very last stop (I forgot what train though hehe), where Tita Eva and Uncle Tony was waiting to take us shopping at the Jersey Gardens.
All that shopping caused
me us to work up an appetite, so before we headed back to New York, Tita Eva asked us where we wanted to go for Dinner. She rattled off names of restaurants, and something I immediately recognized was "Applebees".
Applebees is a huge restaurant chain, that boasts of over 2000 locations in the United States and 15 other countries around the world. The closest one to the Philippines happens to be in Singapore, which opened a couple of years ago. It had a relaxed, chill atmosphere, with the attendants talking to you like you were more of a friend visiting their house, than a customer at a restaurant.
After a short wait, our hostess, the adorable Nazia was able to find us seats. Which was nothing short of a miracle, because there was a New York Giants game going on, and Applebees had become Giant Central. Every play made by the home team (The New York Giants and New Jersey Jets Football teams play at New Jersey.. go figure) was met with a roar of approval by the fans. Though the place was rocking', it was all in good fun, with no one really getting out of hand or too rowdy. All in all, it was a fun way to experience a casual sports bar in America. Although the new NBA Season hadn't begun yet, I'm lucky I wasn't wearing any Lakers Paraphernalia (The people of New Jersey might be bitter about their team moving to Brooklyn hehe).
We kicked off our meal with the Appetizer Sampler (US$11.69), which included Mozzarella Sticks, Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Cheese Quesadilla Grande and Applebees popular Boneless Wings.
First off, I loved how informal it looks, as the platter was lined with aluminum foil. It made it feel like we were at a picnic or something. Second of all, It was nice to see that in terms of quality of food, restaurants back home in the Philippines are on par with the food served here. You can find similar appetizer samplers in Chili's or T.G.I. Fridays here (which are also international brands), and the high standard of quality is the same. In fact, I can safely say that I enjoyed Chili's Nachos more than Applebees.
What stood out the most in the appetizer platter for me was the Cheese Quesadilla Grande. The wrapper was nicely toasted, and the gooey cheese was rich, and peppered with tiny bits of bacon in it.
Between the fantastic food and screaming football fans, I don't think I could have found a better place to enjoy an All American meal with my family!
Our Hostess, the gorgeous Nazia
Tita Eva and Tito Tony doing their impression of Food blogging hehe