Who Tried It: Maria Yagoda, PEOPLE Features Writer-Reporter
There are a handful of foods, like a sombrero filled with tortilla chips or a log of nut-studded cheese, that instantly signify party.
The new Loaded Onion Bloom, Outback Steakhouse’s limited-time upgrade to their beloved Bloomin’ Onion appetizer, is one of those foods. The golden orb of seasoned fried onion, stuffed with cheesy bacon fries and served with both ranch and “bloom sauce,” is one of the more indulgent items you’ll ever encounter. I had the opportunity to have an exclusive first taste of the new appetizer, which becomes available to the public on June 21st, and the experience was … pretty magical.
I journeyed to the Outback Steakhouse in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood with one DFW (down for whatever) friend, even though the appetizer is meant to be shared with six or more people. But I was hungry, and feeling festive, and excited about putting the combination of fried onion, fried potato, bacon and cheese in my mouth at the same time.
When the server brought out the massive plate, I started sweating. My stomach growled in anticipation of inevitable pain. I have trouble digesting dairy and fried foods, but nothing — not even guaranteed irregularity — was going to stop me from fulfilling my destiny.
The first bite was crunchy, crispy, oozy and salty in all the right ways. My friend and I sipped our Tito’s Lemonade Cocktails — we strategically chose the lowest cal cocktails, because we’re trying to stay fit for summer! — and leaned in hard. After five minutes of picking, oohing, ahhing and proclaiming that our diets “for real” would start tomorrow, I needed to take a brief repose. It became as apparent as ever that two people eating this ginormous deep-fried pile was ill-advised.
“The new Aussie-tizer was inspired by Outback’s upcoming, limited time ‘Big Australia’ menu which features bigger, Aussie-sized portions,” an Outback rep told PEOPLE exclusively. I realized I would probably never make it in Australia.
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Ultimately, my friend and I were only able to eat half, but we lingered around the dish, almost as though it were a campfire, exchanging stories of bad dates, good dates, dreams deferred, money-making schemes, harass-y exes and aspirations for the future. And that’s what a good appetizer is really all about — eating past the point of fullness while over-sharing details of your personal life.