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G'Day! 10 Facts About Outback Steakhouse

Don’t let the accent fool you: With its generously seasoned steaks, deep-fried shrimp platters, and sauce-drenched desserts, Outback Steakhouse’s cuisine is way more American than Australian. And most people seem to be okay with that. In 30 years time, Outback has gone from an underwhelming opening to become one of the most popular restaurant chains in America—a place where the Fosters is always flowing, and where you’ll likely find more than one boomerang stuck to the wall.

1. IT IS NOT, IN FACT, A TASTE OF THE OUTBACK.

You may be shocked to learn that a Bloomin' Onion is not a traditional dish of the Australian Outback. Nor are Aussie Fries or Alice Springs Chicken Quesadillas. But considering that real Outback cuisine includes bush tomatoes and wattleseed biscuits, you’re probably okay with that.

2. YOU CAN THANK CROCODILE DUNDEE.

Back in 1986, Paul Hogan introduced Americans to the image of Australians as rugged, carefree, and always carrying a big knife. Crocodile Dundee was the second most popular film in America that year, and created a cultural wave that Outback Steakhouse’s founders hoped to ride. In March 1988, they opened the first location in Tampa, Florida.

3. NONE OF THE FOUNDERS HAD EVER BEEN TO AUSTRALIA.

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All three were veterans of the restaurant industry and wanted to invest in a novel concept. After developing the idea for Outback Steakhouse, a research trip was proposed and then quickly shot down. According to co-founder Chris Sullivan, they didn’t want to be influenced by the cuisine or otherwise put off their mission to deliver “American food and Australian fun.” 

4. IT DID NOT HAVE A PROMISING START.

Opening day was as desolate as a sun-baked highway stretching to the horizon. Employees at the Tampa, Florida location had to park in the lot to make it look busy and call their friends and family and invite them to come in. To drum up business, the founders invested in ads and promotions, and eventually word got around.

5. NEW ORLEANS WAS A BIG INFLUENCE.

Co-founder Tim Gannon developed the Bloomin' Onion while working as a chef in New Orleans, using different spice combinations to season his deep-fried onion concoction. The 18 different seasonings used to marinate Outback’s steaks are also inspired by The Big Easy.  

6. THERE'S ONLY ONE BLOOMIN' ONION.

Well, actually there are many—they just go by different names. There’s LongHorn Steakhouse’s Texas Rose, Chili’s Awesome Blossom (which was discontinued a few years back), and the thousands upon thousands of concoctions people create in their own kitchens using an at-home onion fryer. But only Outback's onions are crafted by "dedicated bloomologists."

7. THERE ACTUALLY ARE LOCATIONS IN AUSTRALIA.

Seven, to be exact, which means Australians must not find Outback Steakhouse completely offensive. There are subtle changes, like a menu that lists “prawns” instead of “shrimp,” and a grammatically incorrect tagline that exhorts diners to “Live Adventurous.”  

8. THEY JUST STARTED SERVING LUNCH.

Lunch has traditionally been viewed as a money-loser in the restaurant industry, but that’s starting to change as fast-casual companies like Chipotle rake in the dough. So Outback decided to give it a go with $6.99 combo meals and more 100% not-Australian dishes like Aussie Tacos.

9. THEY ONCE SOLD STEAK FLIGHTS.

For a fleeting few weeks back in 2013, Outback offered diners three 3-oz. steaks with a choice of four sauces. It sounds pretty fancy, until you learn that one of the sauces was called Creamy Diablo.

10. FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS' JEMAINE CLEMENT STARRED IN A SERIES OF ADS.

Never mind that Clement’s from New Zealand, not Australia—the ads are still pretty funny.

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Everything You Need to Know About Record Store Day
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The unlikely resurgence of vinyl as an alternative to digital music formats is made up of more than just a small subculture of purists. Today, more than 1400 independent record stores deal in both vintage and current releases. Those store owners and community supporters created Record Store Day in 2007 as a way of celebrating the grassroots movement that’s allowed a once-dying medium to thrive.

To commemorate this year’s Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21, a number of stores (a searchable list can be found here) will be offering promotional items, live music, signings, and more. While events vary widely by store, a number of artists will be issuing exclusive LPs that will be distributed around the country.

For Grateful Dead fans, a live recording of a February 27, 1969 show at Fillmore West in San Francisco will be released and limited to 6700 copies; Arcade Fire’s 2003 EP album will see a vinyl release for the first time, limited to 3000 copies; "Roxanne," the Police single celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, will see a 7-inch single release with the original jacket art.

The day also promises to be a big one for David Bowie fans. A special white vinyl version of 1977’s Bowie Now will be on shelves, along with Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78), a previously-unreleased, three-record set. Jimmy Page, Frank Zappa, Neil Young, and dozens of other artists will also be contributing releases.

No store is likely to carry everything you might want, so before making the stop, it might be best to call ahead and then plan on getting there early. If you’re one of the unlucky vinyl supporters without a brick and mortar store nearby, you can check out Discogs.com, which will be selling the special releases online.

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The Little Known Airport Bookstore Program That Can Get You Half of What You Spend on Books Back
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Inflight entertainment is a necessary evil, but the price can quickly add up without the proper planning. Between Wi-Fi access and TV/movie packages, you can run into all kinds of annoying additional charges that will only increase the longer your flight is. Thankfully, there is one way to minimize the cost of your inflight entertainment that’s a dream for any reader.

Paradies Lagardère, which runs more than 850 stores in 98 airports across the U.S. and Canada, has an attractive Read and Return program for all the books they sell. All you have to do is purchase a title, read it, and return it to a Paradies Lagardère-owned shop within six months and you'll get half your money back. This turns a $28 hardcover into a $14 one. Books in good condition are re-sold for half the price by the company, while books with more wear and tear are donated to charity.

If you haven’t heard of Paradies Lagardère, don’t worry—you’ve probably been in one of their stores. They’re the company behind a range of retail spots in airports, including licensed ventures like The New York Times Bookstore and CNBC News, and more local shops exclusive to the city you're flying out of. They also run restaurants, travel essentials stores, and specialty shops. 

Not every Paradies Lagardère store sells books, though, and the company doesn’t operate out of every airport, so you’ll need to do a little research before just buying a book the next time you fly. Luckily, the company does have an online map that shows every airport it operates out of and which stores are there.

There is one real catch to remember: You must keep the original receipt of the book if you want to return it and get your money back. If you're the forgetful type, just follow PureWow’s advice and use the receipt as a bookmark and you’ll be golden.

For frequent flyers who plan ahead, this program can ensure that your inflight entertainment will never break the bank.

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