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As in the past years, most of us vowed to eat healthy and keep fit this year. Resolutions such as doing intermittent fasting, being on a ketogenic diet and going to the gym religiously usually last a few weeks into the new year, or until we find proper excuses to cheat. On those occasions we find ourselves rather susceptible to temptation, we are grateful for restaurants that seem to know exactly what we crave for.

Chili’s has been serving comfort food in the Philippines for nearly two decades now that it’s no surprise they can satisfy most of our savory cravings. Having been conscientious with our diets and workouts for the most part of January, we deemed it high time to treat ourselves. We couldn’t have responded quickly to The Kain Tulog Gang’s invite to try Chili’s newest limited time offer items, Tender Bites and Texas Two Step!

We threw keto out the door upon seeing the bowl of Tostada Chips and Salsa. We had to remind ourselves to save room for the new dishes we were meant to try, but still munched on the classic chips with gusto.

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Our palates were teased with Loaded Boneless Wings before having a taste of the limited time offer items. This new addition to Chili’s appetizers is a flavor-packed plate of boneless chicken with white cheese, 3-cheese blend, bacon, chopped green onions, roasted jalapenos and ranch dip.

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After having good-as-mains appetizers, we were introduced to the Tender Bites items that included Crunchy Pork Tenderloin Fingers, Sweet Orange & Chili Glazed Chicken Bites, and Pork Belly Sliders. Crunchy Pork Tenderloin Fingers (Php395) are thinly sliced tenderloin strips fried to a crisp and served with red chili-mango sauce. It was an instant hit with the younger members of the gang.

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Crunchy Pork Tenderloin Fingers (Php395)

Sweet Orange & Chili Glazed Chicken Bites (Php375) – the name speaks for itself. Perhaps the most Asian of all Chili’s dishes, fans of the Chinese restaurant staple lemon chicken will enjoy these glazed thigh meat bites. Note to self: do not order rice!

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Sweet Orange & Chili Glazed Chicken Bites (Php375)

Pork Belly Sliders (Php450) are slices of sugar-roasted pork belly, sweet and spicy slaw, and jalapeno aioli sandwiched in butter-toasted buns. The perfectly seasoned pork belly slices were thick yet tender with the slightest crunch. With utmost control, or should we say pretentiousness, we tried sharing just one slider.

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Pork Belly Sliders (Php450)

With good pacing we were able to leave enough space for Texas Two Step. Step one: choose from Chili Rubbed Sirloin, Coriander Crusted Pork Tenderloin, and Crispy Shrimp. Step two: combine any two items.

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Out of the three combinations, Chili Rubbed Sirloin & Crispy Shrimp (Php1,450) proved to be a standout. The sirloin’s barbecue sauce had that signature southern American kick, which complimented the rice flour crusted shrimp and its citrus sauce.

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Chili Rubbed Sirloin & Crispy Shrimp (Php1,450)

Meat lovers might opt for Chili Rubbed Sirloin & Coriander Crusted Pork Tenderloin (Php995) to get their protein fix. The combination is also semi-keto friendly, if you can skip the barbecue sauce.

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Chili Rubbed Sirloin & Coriander Crusted Pork Tenderloin (Php995)

Coriander Crusted Pork Tenderloin & Crispy Shrimp (P975) was a rather familiar taste to our Asian palates. The coriander crusted pork tenderloin rounds were drizzled with honey-chipotle sauce, staying true to the restaurant’s southern comfort theme but hinting of Northeast Chinese cooking.

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Coriander Crusted Pork Tenderloin & Crispy Shrimp (P975)

Having the Tender Bites and Texas Two Step Limited Time Offer items was not a weight loss setback, rather, a most welcome treat. We couldn’t have thought of a better way, and place, to indulge! The delectable items are available until April 22, 2018 in all Chili’s Philippines branches. Here’s hoping to bumping into other (diet) cheaters next time!

-Mia Aguila (The Foodie Station Correspondent)