Who’s Calling Who X-Treme?

I love the folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Its newsletter cheers and delights me in the way that it kicks butt and names names. I always turn right to the “Right Stuff/Food Porn” section. It’s endearing that the organization has maintained its stringent (strident?) stance through a decade and a half of being labeled as the “food police.”

The Center’s latest crusade is to try to get restaurants to add nutrition information to their menus (the wave of the future, my friend: Point-of-purchase nutrition information was the underreported conjoined twin measure enacted with the New York City trans fat ban). To that end, they’ve lowered the boom on chain restaurants, accusing them of promoting X-Treme Eating.

The center’s strategy of using information like the actual calorie count of foods like Ruby Tuesday’s Fresh Chicken and Broccoli Pasta to draw media attention to its issues is a canny one. But in some ways it may be backfiring. Surely, I can’t be the only one who, upon reading that the Cheesecake Factory’s Chris’ Outrageous Chocolate Cake has layers of cheesecake, brownie, and pie, has a (luckily controllable) desire to run right out and get a slice, calories be damned.

On the other hand, the pizza skins, from Uno Chicago Grill’s appetizer menu, is just overkill.

We start with our famous deep dish crust, add mozzarella and red bliss mashed potatoes, and top it off with crispy bacon, cheddar, and sour cream.