Health competes with indulgence and whimsy in recent LTOs
As January draws to a close, some menu makers are still aiming to appeal to consumers’ diet resolutions, while others are serving up platters piled high with Super Bowl-themed snacks. See how health, indulgence and fun are competing for share of stomach this week.
1. Red Lobster
To make it easier for fans to snag snacks without giving up their comfy seats, Red Lobster is offering a limited-edition “Snack Tackle Claw” for Super Bowl watch parties. Starting Feb. 1, the claw will be available for $10 as an add-on to any carryout or delivery order placed online or in-store. In addition, customers can score a 15% discount on orders placed Jan. 31-Feb. 2 using the code LOBSTER14. The claw is especially handy for grabbing Red Lobster’s famous Cheddar Bay Biscuits, but nimble partygoers may try to grab breaded calamari, coconut shrimp or french fries.
For those who would rather eat with a fork and knife, Red Lobster is bringing back its Lobsterfest for a limited time. Lobster entrees start at $19.99 and include three new selections: lobster surf and turf, lobster and seafood bake and lobster and chips. New on the drinks side are a prickly pear margarita and a riff on a strawberry daiquiri.
2. Panda Express
Panda Express is focusing on the Lunar New Year along with the big game, launching the new Firecracker Shrimp for a limited time during the holiday period. The shrimp dish, with its bold spicing, is inspired by the Asian custom of setting off firecrackers in the streets during the new year festivities. To add to the celebration, Panda Express is offering a themed interactive AR experience through Facebook and Instagram from Jan. 15-Feb. 8. “The Celebration of Good Fortune” AR gives guests a chance to take a deeper dive into the cultural traditions and enter for a chance to win a three-day trip to Universal Studios Hollywood.
On the Super Bowl front, those ordering a Panda Express Family Feast online through Feb. 2 can use the code SCOREBIG to receive $10 off the total. There’s no limit to purchase, ensuring football fans can order the deal all week leading up to the big game. The Family Feast includes three large entrees and two large sides.
Donato’s is going the low-carb route with the debut of its three cauliflower crust pizzas. The new crusts boast 30% fewer carbs and feature plant-forward toppings. Cauliflower Bruschetta is topped with red sauce, smoked provolone, green peppers, onions, tomato bruschetta, spinach and plant-based sausage, while Cauliflower Garden swaps out the bruschetta and spinach for mushrooms. Last in the trio is Cauliflower Heat—a combo of red sauce, smoked provolone, pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, crushed red pepper and plant-based sausage.
4. Abuelo's Mexican Restaurant
Also jumping on the cauliflower trend is Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant,which is introducing cauliflower tortillas in the launch of several new dishes. Included are two enchilada items: Caulipower Roasted Chicken and Veggie Enchiladas and Caulipower Roasted Veggie Enchiladas. Each features two enchiladas, one topped with ranchera sauce and the other with salsa de crema. Both are served with a superfood vegetable medley, fresh avocado slices and a choice of cilantro lime rice or black beans.
5. Mooyah Burgers, Fries and Shakes
A new vegan burger is launching on Mooyah’s menu, and it isn’t made of plant-based meat. This burger patty is made with black beans and is topped with avocado, grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, lettuce, tomato and barbecue sauce on a potato bun. The Vegan Burger is part of Mooyah’s Lifestyle Burger line, which conforms to paleo, keto, low-calorie and gluten-free guidelines. It replaces the vegetarian burger that was previously offered.
6. Slater's 50/50
Slater’s 50/50 is pivoting from its meat-centric menu with healthier and/or lower-carb options, available through March. On the roster are three new bowls: A Power Bowl (quinoa veggie patty combined with edamame, blueberries, mixed greens, carrots, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, quinoa avocado and honey); a Turkey Harvest Bowl (turkey patty with blue cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, quinoa, green apple, mixed greens, candied pecans and balsamic vinaigrette); and a Cheeseburger Bowl (beef patty topped with caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and bacon jam over mixed greens with roasted red peppers, charred corn, scallions, crispy fried onions and horseradish aioli). On the side, guests can order up Sweet & Spicy Cauliflowertossed with Asian barbecue sauce, ginger cilantro slaw, scallions and toasted sesame seeds.
7. Corner Bakery
Corner Bakery is menuing several fresh new items with healthy twists. For morning customers, there’s a Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with ancient grains, chickpeas, oven-roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pesto and a power greens blend. Also on hand are a Bacon Breakfast Wrap, Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap and Avocado Breakfast Wrap. The lunch crowd can opt for a flavor-forward Spicy Shrimp Club Wrap, with shrimp, bacon, avocado, tomato, arugula and Calabrian aioli on a tomato basil tortilla.
8. Pressed Juicery
Pressed Juicery is debuting a seasonal blood orange juice and freeze, two plant-based refreshers for winter. The Blood Orange Freeze, a creamy vegan soft-serve, is available in two sizes with toppings. It’s the first freeze with a base of coconut milk instead of the standard almond milk.
8. Quaker Steak & Lube
Quaker Steak & Lube launched an all-day menu featuring new salad, sandwich, entree, sauce and dessert options. A pan-seared salmon leads the lineup, an item than can be ordered on its own or in a surf-and-turf combo paired with grilled chicken or a top sirloin steak. Several other steaks and burgers are also available, and a new Buffalo Chicken Sandwich has been added to round out the menu. The chicken can be ordered grilled or hand-breaded and fried, then tossed in Quaker Steak’s signature hot sauce.