It's mostly cookie-cutter eating here.
You've got the Red Lobster, the Olive Garden, all the usual suspect fast food chains and more.
And yesterday, for dinner, it was Smokey Bones, also a chain apparently, (its website boasts of over 100 restaurants in the east and midwest) but I'd never heard of it before.
Far better than bland odd-tasting pasta from Olive Garden was Smokey Bones' BBQ platter of St Louis-style smoked ribs and smoked beef brisket, served with garlic bread, and two sides (we chose mashed potatoes with gravy and coleslaw).
The ribs were tender and had a great marinade but I doubt I'll bother with beef brisket again (unless we're talking the Hong Kong-style noodles) as they were really salty and seemed a bit overdone to me - unless that's the way beef brisket's supposed to be cooked - it is, after all, a tough side of beef). The brisket might've worked better with a sauce.
The best part about the meal was the skillet cornbread - the leftovers made a great breakfast when baked in the over for a few minutes, and smothered with more butter.
And then there's Panera Bread, a bakery-cafe chain where we (and many others, judging by the never ending queue) had lunch on Monday.
R had the soup and salad combo for $6.29 - he chose the french onion soup and chicken caesar salad.
I let my sweet tooth take over and succumbed to a french toast bagel with a honey walnut cream cheese spread. And for dessert, a lemon poppyseed mini bundt cake.