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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: 5.00. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: "Lots of fresh ground beef and red kidney beans with a perfect blend of fresh Poblano & Chipotle peppers and plenty of seasoning. Topped with Cheddar cheese, diced red onions and tortilla strips. Not too hot, but enough flavor to know you ate it."

    Ah yes, nothing like a hot bowl of homemade chili on a cool day. Red Robin serves hot, chunky chili topped with cheddar cheese, onions and crunchy tortilla strips that'll warm your soul. The Top Secret Recipes hack here can be served up the same fashion, or you can use this chili as they do in the restaurant to top homemade nachos or an open-faced chili cheeseburger. If you're one of those who prefer a higher-octane, spicier chili, just use more canned chipotles, or add some of the delicious adobo sauce that's in the can with the chilies. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    In 2008 Chef Kerry Simon packed up his knives at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel and moved across the Las Vegas Strip into the Palms Place tower at the Palms. The new restaurant features some of the same comfort food favorites as the old joint, such as truffled & cheese and cotton candy for dessert, but Kerry has now added a sushi bar and a broader menu which includes breakfast, lunch and a must-try Sunday brunch where you may be eating alongside the likes of Avril Lavigne or Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends. When you're noodling over which appetizers to try you must check out this delicious addicting edamame starter: A pile of soybeans are cooked over high heat in a wok until their pods are blackened in spots, then they're tossed in fresh lime juice and a Japanese 7-spice seasoning called shichimi togarashi. Togarashi is a spicy blend of orange peel, sesame seeds, seaweed and chili that you can purchase in most Asian markets or online. The blend usually doesn't include salt, so you'll have to add some of that as well before you dig in. Or, you can use Szechwan seasoning such as one made by Sun-Bird that's found in most grocery stores where the Asian foods are parked. These blends will usually have salt in them, so you probably don't need to add additional salt if you use the Szechwan seasoning. You'll want to cook these in a wok that's been preheated over a flame on a gas stove, or you can use a cast-iron skillet that's been preheated for at least 10 minutes - you should see a lot of smoke when you drop those beans in the pan! Turn on the vent over your stove before you start cooking unless you need to test your smoke detectors.

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    Driving through Louisiana in 1953, Troy Smith discovered a hamburger stand that had installed an intercom system to speed up ordering. Troy thought the idea of ordering food from parked cars would be perfect for his Top Hat Restaurant in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He borrowed a bunch of cars from a friend who owned a used car lot and parked the cars in a row as a guide to form stalls around his restaurant. He wired an intercom system to the stalls and renamed his drive-in "Sonic" with the slogan "Service with the Speed of Sound." The new concept was a smash, and revenues for the redesigned hotdog and hamburger stand doubled during the first week. There are no secret ingredients in this clone of Sonic's signature hamburger, just common hamburger components. The secret is how you stack the ingredients that makes this burger taste like a sonic burger.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Word quickly spread through Oklahoma of Sonic's early success in the 1950s. One day Sonic Drive-In founder Troy Smith noticed a man measuring car stalls that surrounded the restaurant. Troy went to see what was going on, and the man introduced himself as Charles Woodrow Pappe, an entrepreneur. Charles said he was trying to figure out why the stalls were different sizes and if this had something to do with the booming business at the restaurant. Troy explained that he lined up several cars from his friend's used car lot to lay out the stalls and that the varying stall sizes were not part of the business plan—the cars he used were different sizes. The two men hit it off after that, and Charles eventually became the first franchise owner of a Sonic Drive-In, in Woodward, Oklahoma, in 1956. This burger variation is similar to the signature Sonic Burger, but with smoky BBQ sauce instead of mayo, and no pickle or sliced tomato.   

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    By 1978 there were more than 800 Sonic Drive-Ins in 13 states, but throughout the 1960s and 1970s there were no standardized procedures in place for franchisees. Recipes varied from restaurant to restaurant, so loyal customers never knew what their burger would taste like when visiting a new location. This inconsistency caused a sharp decline in business, and by the 1980s Sonic was in trouble. A new management team came on board in the mid-'80s and established standard franchise procedures and a Sonic Management School that turned the company around. Sonic redesigned all stores with a "retro-future" look, and today business is booming. These days a jalapeno burger that you purchase in Seattle, Washington, is guaranteed to look and taste the same as one purchased near Sonic's headquarters in Oklahoma City. How many jalapeno slices can you handle on your burger? Now you can find out.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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