If you're a foodie, you probably look forward to the winter holidays with much anticipation. There’s Labor Day, which my family celebrates with a huge barbeque and pie cook-off, and of course Halloween, the kids' favorite holiday. It’s the one day that no matter how hard I try, I can’t resist sending myself into a sugar coma. November isn’t much better. Last year, at Thanksgiving, I counted over 30 different food items on our table, and yes, I tried every one of them. As soon as my stomach starts to settle, there’s Christmas and New Year’s Eve; just another excuse to shovel copious amounts of food into my belly. All those holidays usually lead to the annual New Year’s resolution of going on a diet and eating healthier, but I can only tolerate leafy greens and water for so long. Thankfully, today is International No Diet Day. This means I get a free pass from my restricted menu for 24 hours...and believe me, I plan to use it! If you are a foodie like me, here are just a few of the places you can visit to celebrate this gastric occasion.
1. Cici’s Pizza
If your budget is tight, but your belly is empty, head to the nearest Cici’s Pizza. For under $10 you can get all-you-can-eat pizza, pasta, wings and dessert. It may not be the best food in town, but it’s hot, cheap and there’s plenty of it!
2. Golden Corral
For those times when I can’t decide what I want to eat, Golden Corral fits the bill. They offer a wide variety of items, including steak, shrimp pizza, wings, and pretty much any side item you can imagine. They also have a salad bar (so you can say you had something healthy) and a dessert bar. I am fond of their bread pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Prices usually run between $10 and $15 per person, including a drink.
3. Ponderosa Steakhouse
Another restaurant that offers plenty of food at a good price is Ponderosa. Just pick a main course (they are known for their steak) and get endless soup and salad added on for a small fee. Whenever I am in Orlando, Florida, I always stop for the breakfast buffet, which is a bargain at around $7 per person. On the West Coast, be sure to check out Sizzler, which offers similar fare.
Maggiano’s is my favorite restaurant. The food tastes amazing and they give you plenty of it; I have never left without a to-go bag. Right now, they are offering the Marco’s Meal for Two, which is $39.95. You'll get an appetizer, two classic pastas (one to eat and one to take home) and a dessert to share. If you are dining alone, consider trying their Buy One & Take One promotion (only $12.95). I guarantee you'll leave satisfied!
5. Olive Garden
If you don't have a Maggiano’s in your area, head over to Olive Garden. They now offer the same Buy One, Get One deal at the same price ($12.95). Although you have fewer options, you'll still get to enjoy their famous unlimited salad and garlic sticks, too.
Did you know that Olive Garden not only serves up good food, but also scholarships? That’s right, and it's not the only restaurant to offer financial assistance to students; both Wendy’s and McDonald’s also sponsor scholarships in the fall for high school students. So, next time someone gives you grief about going off your diet, just tell him or her you are supporting college students everywhere. Enjoy!
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