Everyone has a favorite chain restaurant, usually because their resto of choice has that one sauce, dressing, or menu item that keeps them coming back again and again. Every once in a while, a product is so beloved that it winds up on grocery store shelves so we can enjoy it anytime, not just when we happen to be hungry and near a mall. These puppies continue to save us from having to pay for inflation at restaurants and instead let us pay for inflation at the grocery store, where we at least feel like we are getting a bargain sometimes. The point is, these restaurant re-creations are quite often really good and really accurate. These are five of our favorites.
- Momofuku A-Sha Tingly Chili Wavy Instant Noodles
Momofuku the restaurant? Iconic. The texture of these instant noodles? Iconic. Honestly, you can’t get much more iconic than these noodles without being Beyoncé. In fact, these were the best tingly chili noodles we tasted during our instant noodle taste test. Senior writer Jordan Myrick described the sauce as “oily and numbing and bursting with flavor.” I’d call this product A-Sha-ckingly good.
- Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing
Olive Garden’s motto is “When you’re here you’re family.” But you don’t have to be “here” to be family, because you can bring their fan-favorite salad dressing home to eat with your actual family. We gotta say, Olive Garden does salad dressing right. Jordan described the “tangy yet creamy taste” as being ”so distinct that it almost feels illegal to be able to eat it outside of an Olive Garden.” Almost illegal, but not quite. Try this stuff out; it is both legal and good.
- Buffalo Wild Wings Spicy Garlic Sauce
If Buffalo Wild Wings was doing a take on the Olive Garden slogan, it might be: “When you’re here, you’re probably coming to eat wings.” And what do wings call for above all else? The Sauce (yes, capital s). Wings need sauce so good a man could get lost in it, and this sauce—previously only available at B Dubs restaurant locations—can now be bought in a store so your home wings can live up to the hype of the Buffalo Wild ones. Jordan used to go to Buffalo Wild Wings just for this sauce, but then they discovered it on the shelves at Costco and their life changed forever. They described the sauce as being “so tangy. The garlic flavor is prominent. And, last but not least, it is so luxuriously creamy.” Grab this iconic restaurant sauce at your grocery store and make your boring wings a little (buffalo) wilder.
- TGI Friday’s Popper Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños with Raspberry Habanero Dip
Say what you will about TGI Friday’s (although I kind of don’t know what you’d say), they do fried apps right. And from their mozz sticks to these Jalapeño Poppers, they really are on top of the deep-fried frozen food item game in the grocery aisles, too. While their grocery store apps are generally good, these poppers are truly the cream (cheese) of the crop. When Jordan tried these poppers during a TGI Friday’s taste test, they wrote, “The filling is creamy, the pepper is perfectly spicy, and the batter is the ideal thickness.” Plus, the raspberry habanero dip goes perfectly with the peppers and is arguably the best part.
- Panera Bread Mac & Cheese Microwave Meal
Oh, Panera mac and cheese. This stuff was my go-to as a kid. No matter the occasion or the location of the Panera Bread, I was getting me some luscious macaroni and cheese. You may not have a Panera nearby, but you can probably find the microwavable version of their mac and cheese at your local grocery store. This stuff is super convenient. So convenient, in fact, that you don’t even have to add water—you just microwave it in the container it comes in and then revel in the fact that it tastes like Velveeta shells and cheese—“cheesy and super thick.” This is warm, creamy comfort. Thanks, Panera.