If You Think Our Bloomin’ Onion is Bad, Try This

I ordered a burger at the Outback Steakhouse in Orlando. A meal voucher had spat out of the Delta self check-in when my flight was delayed, and I took it to this temple of gastronomy to see what I could get. In tiny print down at the bottom, my server showed me that I’d only be getting $7 worth of refreshment. “No medium rare” said the cheerful server, “only well-done burgers here. It’s an airport thing.” I guess the TSA prohibits consumption of burgers that aren’t overcooked.

He asked me if I’d like a shot with that beer, no thanks I said. Then I had to persuade him that I was perfectly fine with a mere 12 oz beer and I could live without the giant 22 ouncer that’s “just three dollars more.”

I glanced down at the menu that included a photo of the notoriously fattening ‘blooming onion.’ It is spikey and breaks apart so you can dip the crispy fried onion pieces into more fat, a white sauce. “Oh, that’s nothing, hey that one below it, the Aussie cheese fries, are 2800 calories. ” Wow I’m glad I missed both. Just to keep me thirsty, my chicken sandie came with fries that were pre-salted, it was hard to enjoy them.

I’d hate to think that people might assume that food in Australia is anything like this. I spent a week in Melbourne last year and never ran across anything as fattening as Outback. I do remember that everything on the menu was pricey, and that if you ordered a glass of wine they’d always ask you if you’d like to taste it first. But no bloomin’ onion, and especially no ‘oil cans’ of Fosters. People love salads and in the stadiums the beers are low alcohol, so you can buy as many as four at a time.

Nobody likes Fosters that I met, they treat it a little like we’d look at an old Miller Lite or a Schlitz. No thanks.