Olive Garden: Dirty Jokes, Boot, and Tupac

Labor Day weekend, yours truly was extra gimpy, and very car-less. My parents always take the “no car” (it was in the body shop) opportunity to be able to pick me up and do stuff….but then take me home at their free will. I’m 25, pushing 26…and they still want to have ‘sleepovers’ eek. Love em, but hey… I got a pillow and devil monkeys at home to attend to 🙂

This day ended up nothing less than AWESOME. Because of my one-leggedness at the moment, getting around is full of extreme effort…and don’t even get me started on trying to get this thing (boot) to match an ‘outfit’. I’m going to have a “Office Space” printer-bat-crushing Tupac moment with it when I’m ok’d to get out of it and hit some pavement again.  Maybe I’ll revise the scene… keep the Tupac, but add lighter fluid and blowtorch to replace the bat. I don’t need to pull a muscle beating this thing to a pulp, how ironic would that be, ha! Anways, point being, Dad wanted to help me scout out some wedges (how cute is that right?) to make it easier for me to get around. There is a significant height difference because the boot is several inches tall.  After the purchase of an excess number of shoes (hugs m&d) we were  mind-numbingly starving. It was 3:30pm and we hadn’t had lunch, and what happened to be right next door? OLIVE GARDEN.

I love Olive Garden, it’s a huge franchise… but I love it. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything there I didn’t like (oops, forgot to knock on wood). Not to mention we walked in and it was the starter weekend of the never-ending pasta bowl. Winning anyone? After m&d spent 20 minutes analyzing the options and me answering many ‘what’s this noodle look like’ questions, (bless their hearts) our ever so and overly attentive waiter finally was able to take our order. Have you seen the new FedEx commercial? The one that talks to the coffee guy that needs to be switchin’ it up to decaf. That’s this kid. He was intense. We all ended up getting the NeverEnding-Pastabowl(NPB) : Watching Dad order was like a kid watching cartoons on a Saturday morning. Amazingly entertaining. I am more familiar with this concept that Olive Garden does once a year with the NPB…he on the other hand, was not, which made it funny. What I forgot to explain to him was that what makes this special fun…is that you can get as many bowls as you want with any variety of noodles, sauce, and proteins. He went all out and got two different sauces mixed in, two proteins, and linguine. Claimed he only needed one bowl, and then busted out the phrase “it all goes to the same place right”. Pretty funny. Mom got spaghetti and Roasted Mushroom Parmesan with Sundried Tomatoes, and added chicken. I scolded her for getting spaghetti…so boring.

I, after throwing a mini-fit about them not having farfalle (bowtie) anymore (what Italian place doesn’t have bowtie?) resorted to penne and the Roasted Mushroom while adding Italian sausage for my protein.  Well..here is where I should have knocked on wood. As I was bragging to my parents about how even though Olive Garden is a huge chain it’s still awesome. Big chains usually suck. They’re product lacks in flavor, creativity and fresh product. My previous Red Lobster post is a great example of this.

Soup/Salad’s come out….always perfect. Then our food does. Dad’s looked like a pasta-saucy-meaty mess (ha!) and Mom’s looks quite blah, and mine….well let’s just say I *gasped*. Penne=check, Sauce/Sundried Tomatoes:check, Italian Sausage= OMG WHAT HAPPENED. I was expecting diagonally sliced seared pieces of sausage. WRONG. On top of the appetizing pasta/sauce they just threw on two giant sausage links…whole….right on top. It just looked wrong. I looked at my bowl, then at m&d, looked at my bowl, then m&d. Here come the too much sausage jokes…  “I have too much sausage, I have two too much sausage” (I’ll let you use your imagination for the rest of the commentary we had. My parents have a fantastic sense of humor). It just looked totally ridiculous, not to mention non-appetizing.  I could have filled up just eating one of the sausages alone… so I strategically placed them on my breadstick plate, sliced/diced them appropriately and then placed a more proportional amount to my dish. Ahhh, much better.

So now we have a  sausage situation and dirty jokes aflame: but it’s time to refocus on the food. I’m glad we were there at a time it wasn’t real busy, because whenever they have the NPB they seem to overcook the pasta, making it soggy and it just kind of falls apart and desinigrates. It’s weird how something as simple as perfectly good pasta can make your dish that much better. The Roasted Mushroom Parmesan was good,  but far too garlicy for my taste… and I have a pretty high garlic tolerance.The sun-dried tomatoes were a perfect topping, not to mention pretty and made the plates pop.

Even though we were all disgustingly full…Mom and Dad both have an insanely large sweet-tooth. They noticed the dessert shooters (Dolcini’s) and couldn’t say no. I feel like I can’t properly give them a rating because food just doesn’t taste the same when you’re full. Chocolate Mousse with Dark Chocolate Cookie Crust • Strawberry & White Chocolate Cream Cake • Limoncello Mousse with Vanilla Cookie Crust. The chocolate one was my favorite 🙂 The Lemon one was a little too sugary and the strawberry one just wasn’t for me. But a few small bites at the end was fun to have too…I never order dessert at a restaurant.

All in all, the food was…OK. I was kicking myself for bragging up the place in casual conversation before our food arrived because I feel like I jinxed the whole situation. It wasn’t terrible…but mediocre at best. Definitely wishing we had ordered off of the regular menu instead of the tempting and decently priced NPB menu. But to be fair… I had tons of pasta, sauce, and of course, protein to take home. They absolutely have to be losing money if anyone who orders sausage and gets two giant links. I’m thinking it has to be a mistake. The other protein options (meatballs and chicken) are so much more proportionally divvied.  The sausage was good…but in that amount it was definitely too much of a good thing. Glad I removed it and then added in a proper amount for the plate…or I probably wouldn’t have liked my dish at all.

Oh Olive Garden…you can’t chase me away, I’ll be back, I ‘ll be back.

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