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    Score: 4.44. Votes: 9

    When Matt and Ivan Perkins tasted the food at Smitty's Pancake House in Seattle, they were smitten. Soon they had purchased the rights to William Smith's recipes, which had been perfected at his renowned restaurant that opened just after the end of World War II. In 1958, the brothers opened their own Smitty's restaurants in Cincinnati, Ohio, and eventually changed the name from Smitty's to Perkins. 

    If you've never tried potato pancakes from Perkins, or any restaurant, now's the time. I've given you the option to make the potatoes with frozen hash brown potatoes or with fresh potatoes you shred by hand. It's up to you. Use maple syrup on these hotcakes, or go for a little butter and powdered sugar on top.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Update 1/9/17: I suggest increasing the baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon, upping the salt to 1 teaspoon, and only using frozen hash brown potatoes. Thaw the potatoes and squeeze out the water before adding them to the batter or your batter may wind up too thin. If it does seem too thin, add a little more flour (1 tablespoon at a time).

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    Score: 4.29. Votes: 7

    A thick slice of moist pumpkin bread Starbucks-style is the perfect companion for your morning cup of Joe. Many other pumpkin bread recipes produce sad, squatty loaves—but not this clone. Here's a custom formula that makes enough batter to fill up a medium loaf pan. And when the bread is done, you'll slice the moist loaf into eight thick slices of goodness that perfectly mimic the look and flavor of the real thing right down to the chopped pumpkin seeds on top.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.73. Votes: 11

    Menu Description: "Tender, crispy shrimp with a sweet and spicy chili sauce that's got just the right kick."

    This was another job for the micro-screen sieve. Rinsing away the mayo from a spoonful of this delicious chili sauce reveals just what I expected: sambal chunks. The minced chili peppers that sat there, now naked, in the bottom of the sieve, looked just like the type of red pepper used in sambal chili sauce. And since there were bits of garlic in there too, it was clear that the bright red chili garlic sauce you find near the Asian foods in your market is the perfect secret ingredient for the fiery mixture that's used on this popular dish from Ruby Tuesday's appetizer menu. Once you make the sauce, whip up some of the secret breading for the shrimp and get on with the frying. You can use shortening or oil here, but I think shortening works best, and it doesn't stink up the house. The no trans-fat stuff is da bomb. Once all of your shrimps are fried to a nice golden brown, carefully coat the little suckers with about half of the sauce, and then serve the rest of the sauce on the side for dipping, just like they do at the restaurant.
     
    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.56. Votes: 9

    Menu Description: "Citrus cake soaked in a sweet cream, topped with lemon mousse and finished off with our fresh Italian whipped cream and caramel."

    When creating this delicious dessert, chefs at Romano's must have been thinking about Tres Leches Cake that is popular throughout Latin America. The traditional Mexican recipe describes a dense vanilla cake soaked with three types of milk: whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. This creates a very moist and rich dessert that is an excellent finish to pretty much any meal. Romano's twist on the traditional favorite is the addition of citrus juices to the cake, a creamier soaking liquid, and a tangy lemon topping. I first tried re-creating the cake with boxed mixes, but they all produce cakes that are much too light and moist, and inevitably turn to mush when soaked in the sweet liquid. The final solution is a scratch cake recipe yielding denser, yet still moist citrus cake, that holds up to the eventual drenching. You will want to eat this dessert within a day or two of the soaking or it may start to fall apart. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    If you love the flavor of fresh lime juice in your cocktails, here are clones for two fantastic signature drinks from America's most famous Chinese bistro chain. The first clone, for the Asian Pear Mojito, doesn't include pear juice at all. Instead, the flavors of lime juice, sour apple schnapps, citrus rum, and pineapple juice combine to create what bartenders claim is a refreshing pear-like flavor. Does it taste like pear to you? The second clone, for Chang's Key Lime Martini, uses a vanilla-flavored Spanish liqueur called Licor 43, combined with key lime juice and whipped cream to create an amazing liquid version of key lime pie. This one is more of a dessert drink. The restaurant uses bottled key lime juice which can be found at specialty stores such as Trader Joe's, or you can just squeeze your own limes. And if you can't track down Licor 43, I found that Tuaca liqueur substitutes nicely. Cheers.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 4

    Menu Description: "A Pacific Northwest-inspired combination of fresh salmon and skewered jumbo shrimp, fire-grilled and topped with a maple and cherry glaze. Served over wild rice pilaf with fresh asparagus."

    Whenever a recipe calls for maple syrup, make sure you use the real deal and not the maple-flavored corn syrups that come in plastic squirt bottles, like Aunt Jemima and Log Cabin. Sure, authentic maple syrup is more expensive than the imitation stuff, and it must be refrigerated after opening, but true maple taste is worth the extra ka-ching. Real maple flavor dominates this sweet glaze, but you'll also notice a nice citrusy note and perfect soy saltiness—it all works really well with salmon and shrimp, and even chicken if you feel like it. Since Red Lobster's executive chef Michael LaDuke added this dish to the menu in July 2007, it's been a big winner for the seafood chain. Now you can add this winning taste to your own repertoire. The clone here is a super simple one, with only 6 ingredients for the glaze, including dried cherries which you should find near the raisins and dried cranberries in your market. You can make the sauce several days ahead of time if you like, and store it, covered, in the fridge until you bring home the perfect salmon fillets.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Gingerbread crispy crust, cranberry compote, spiced anglaise."

    Every year it's the same dessert at the thanksgiving table: a triangular portion of pumpkin pie with a giant dollop of Cool Whip piled up on top. Sure, it's tasty and traditional, but maybe you want to step it up this year? I've got just the thing. Spago makes a semi-deconstructed pumpkin cheesecake in the fall that is the perfect upscale clone for your homemade holiday dessert. All four components are made separately, then when it's dessert time, you pipe the filing onto the crispy gingerbread crusts with a pastry bag (or you can just spoon it on), pile on the garnish, and serve it up with a smile. You make everything the day before, or on the morning of your celebration, and then you build each plate just before serving. If you want an extra garnish for your plates as in the restaurant, grab some vanilla sauce at the store, or follow the quickie recipe found below in "Tidbits."

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Stir-fried with Sichuan preserves, fiery chili sauce and garlic."

    Here's an easy side dish that you can start a day or two before you plan to serve it. Planning ahead like this will allow the spicy Sichuan mixture some time to pickle in the salt and acids. When you're ready to cook, a high-heat saute is put on the beans, and in less than five minutes you've got yourself an impressive, flavorful side that goes great with a slew of entrees—Asian-style or not.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.77. Votes: 13

    Mosey on over to the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday and you'll find this sweet, creamy apple salad somewhere down at the end. It's a simple recipe to clone with just nine ingredients, and it makes a great side for any casual cookout, picnic, reunion, or mandatory boring office party. Dried cranberries rehydrate to add notes of concentrated sweetness, and the celery and chopped pecans contribute extra crunch. You'll need two kinds of apples—one green and one red. Plan ahead on this one so that you can let the salad sit for several hours before you serve it. It tastes much better after a good fridge nap. This recipe yields enough for 6 servings, but it can easily be doubled or quadrupled to fill more mouths.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.60. Votes: 10

    Red Robin is known for great gourmet hamburgers and tasty cocktail concoctions, but the 400-plus-unit chain also serves a huge tower of onion rings that comes with a side of this creamy, sweet-and-smoky dipping sauce. An Internet search revealed a few clues about what might be mixed into this mystery sauce, but the complete culinary conundrum was yet to be solved. A mixture of mayonnaise and barbecue sauce was a good starting point, but with so many varieties of barbecue sauce on the market I had to figure out which came closest to the flavor of the original Campfire Sauce. So, I went back to Red Robin, obtained a sample of the barbecue sauce they use, and conducted a side-by-side taste test of all the major brands on the market. After more spoonfuls of straight barbecue sauce than any human should consume at one sitting, I finally concluded that Bull's Eye Brown Sugar and Hickory comes the closest to the sauce used at the restaurant. A little more experimentation with this sauce, some mayonnaise and a couple of other ingredients, and I eventually had an awesome re-creation of the delicious dipping sauce that can be served with home-baked onion rings, poppers, French fries, or as a really great hamburger spread. Mission accomplished.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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