Sometimes the greatest act of self-love is ordering your own appetizer platter for dinner.
Appetizer platters always make me think of this girl I knew from college named Tina. I hated Tina for really only reason, mostly involving an appetizer platter. To celebrate the end of a big project, a group of us dressed-up and met at Olive Garden. We attended a small college in rural Iowa and an evening at Olive Garden was an event. I decided to let loose and do something I’d always wanted to do: Order an appetizer platter as an entree.
The main reason I ordered the appetizer platter was because it contained a portion of calamari. Tina, my seat mate, was also excited I ordered the appetizer platter and suggested we share meals. Back then, I wasn’t confident saying “no,” so I reluctantly agreed. Trina ordered something completely unremarkable that I can’t remember and then she ate most of my calamari. I watched in horror as her hand kept reaching over, grabbing ring after ring. “I just love calamari!” she gleefully exclaimed.
Within minutes I was left with nothing but soggy stuffed mushrooms and a resentment that’s lasted for thirteen years. To this day I feel the same giddiness ordering appetizer samplers. Now, I feel confident enough to shut down bad plate sharing agreements. i.e. “I see you ordered a buffalo chicken wing basket. I’m ordering a big, boring grilled chicken sandwich. Wanna share meals?
This all brings me to this past week when I ordered the appetizer platter at Chevys. There’s nothing really earth shattering about Chevys. It’s a chain restaurant serving Mexanish food with a peppy vibe. Nothing’s very spicy. Margaritas come in goblets. Portions are huge.
Chevys is actually 32 years old. The chain, headquartered in California, has experienced multiple corporate ownerships and two bankruptcies. Over the years many Chevys have closed. 37 remain and 48% are located in California. There is only one in Minnesota. The Bloomington, MN Chevys has been located across from the Mall of America for as long as I can remember.
Jake and I used to occasionally stop by Chevys when we lived in the condos near the mall. And Chevy’s is a place I meet friends when they’re staying in the hotels near the mall on a busy weeknight. There’s no mall parking ramp to deal with and the food is predictably pleasant.
Meals begin with thin, crisp chips and salsa. The homemade salsa is not spicy, but it’s also not bland or jarred or watery. First-time visitors may wonder what the little glob of yellow stuff is clinging to the edge of their platters. Chevys calls this sweet, cornbread pudding Tamalito. The portion size is comically tiny. Chips and salsa are free here and portion sizes are generous; however, the tamalito is always served in one, perfect tablespoon-sized scoop.
And Chevys has the to-go order down to an art. On my recent visit, I ordered an enchilada meal to take home for Jake. I was very surprised when our server arrived carrying a giant, Nordstrom’s-sized shopping bag. The enchilada meal was carefully plated in a foil party tray along with a bag of chips and an entire container of salsa. We happily munched on the chips and salsa and remainder of my appetizer platter the next day.
The best thing on my appetizer platter was actually the BBQ chicken wings. You’d think it would be the taquitos or perhaps the nachos, but no. The chicken wings stole the show with their rendered crispy skin and actually spicy sauce. Who knew!
In closing, I leave you with a few thoughts:
- Order your own personal appetizer platter for dinner from time to time.
- Be careful about sharing appetizer platters with people you don’t know.
- If you decide to treat yourself to a decadent treat meal littered with delightful fried doodads for dinner, don’t feel obligated to trade half of it away with someone who orders a grilled chicken salad.
Chevys Fresh Mex
2251 Killebrew Drive
Bloomington Minnesota 55425