Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Vegetarians in: Ruby Tuesday's

Good day on Saturday--Penn State won a football game! What better way to celebrate than with dinner out at Ruby Tuesday’s?

Just kidding. We had a coupon for Ruby Tuesday’s that was about to expire, and Saturday night was the best time for eating out. Which is how three vegetarians (well, two vegetarians and a fish-eater) ended up at a place known for its chicken, steak, and dead ocean creatures.

That said, it’s definitely not hard being a vegetarian at Ruby Tuesday’s. Their choices of sides are really diverse, with a lot of fresh veggies. I think they were all vegetarian, too. The menu also has zucchini cakes, but none of us were brave enough to try those.

My dad got the Creole Catch (traitor, although we did have to order at least one entree for the coupon to be valid so--thank you!). My mom and I both ended up with the Veggie Trio: three fresh sides plus the garden bar. The salad bar was decent, a little boring but come on--it’s salad, how exciting can you get? There were four different kinds of lettuce, your standard veggies and toppings, and some dressing (I didn’t pay attention to those since I don’t like salad dressing). They also had some sort of weird apple/fruit thing coated in white gook that was really good.

Anyway, the garden bar obviously wasn’t meant to be the star...that’s for the sides! I had some fresh grilled zucchini...


...fresh grilled green beans...


...and baked mac & cheese:


OK, first let’s focus on the veggies: they were great. Normally I’m not a cooked-vegetable person, but there is something about grilling pretty much any food that brings out the flavor. The zucchini was soft and tender, the green beans slick and buttery. And definitely fresh, they weren’t lying about that part.

But they were totally bested by the kick-ass mac & cheese. This was some of the best mac & cheese I’ve ever had; the only time I’ve had better is my mom’s recipe. This isn’t the Kraft crap some restaurants put on their kid’s menu, nor is it generic cheese melted over some noodles. It was flavorful, stringy with white and orange cheese, and baked to perfection. I especially enjoyed the browned parts on top and around the edges of the bowl...is it weird that I like slightly burnt cheese? My only problem with it was (can you guess?) I wish it were bigger! But it is a side, after all, so I should have been prepared.

We also got complimentary garlic cheese biscuits, but they hardly even deserve to be mentioned except to say they were really small, and tasted more like cornbread than either garlic or cheese. The only good thing about them was they were warm and crumbly. (Not a huge cornbread fan.)

Since the last time I was at Ruby Tuesday’s, I was young enough to order off the kid’s menu, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not hard to get a healthy meal here, and it’s definitely easy being “green.” :)
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