Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Olive Garden

Was amazing!

We went to a rather late dinner tonight. Usually I choose, but tonight, Den chose. He picked Olive Garden. In the past, this has been my least favorite restaurant. I found the pasta bland, the sauces watery, the bread sticks doughy. Just a substandard place to eat for me. In fact, last time we went, I had sangria. No food, just sangria.

Tonight was the polar opposite. OMG everything was perfection. I started with a glass of Riesling. I was going for the Chateau Ste. Michelle, but the server suggested a different one. Good choice. It was a treat to my tongue.

I perused the menu with a very jaded attitude. I thought everything was more expensive than it should be. I mean really, pasta is cheap. I thought some pasta with some type of creamy sauce would be OK. I was looking and not finding anything. There was a small menu on the table and I picked that up and it sparked my interest. They had a never ending pasta bowl for $8.95. Still a lot of money for a noodle, but better than anything I'd seen so far. They had 7 different pastas to choose from and 6 sauces. You could start with one and then move on to the next. You could add endless meatballs or Italian sausage for $1.95 which I thought a good deal. They had a new creamy garlic asiago alfredo that had my taste buds on pointe. I ordered that with angel hair pasta. Den got penne with tomato basil something or other.

Server then asked if we wanted salad. Den said yes, I said no thank you. She asked if I wanted soup instead. Minestrone....gag me. Pasta e Fagioli. Equally gaggy. We made that at Buccilli's and it's just not my bowl of soup for sure. I said I'd pass. She then said they had a potato sausage soup, Zuppa Toscana. I said I'd give that a try. Holy shit was it fantastic! The broth had flavor up the ying yang. The taters were done and there was some green stuff floating in it. Dark, green, and leafy. You know, the stuff that is actually good for you. It didn't have any flavor as far as I could tell, but I thought I could put it in my healthy soups and get the benefit of a dark green thing and not have to taste it. Turned out it was kale. I shall be adding that to my next pot of soup for sure. I wanted to keep eating that soup and nothing else it was so good. Went fantastic with the warm, garlic bread stick for sure!

Two bowls of pasta were brought to our table with a flourish. Mine looked wonderful. Den's not so much. I'm not a chunky tomato kind of girl and that's what he had. Fresh grated Romano cheese was applied and the first taste went to my lips. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was the quintessence of how pasta should be for me. It was creamy and silky with subtle flavors. I could taste the garlic, I could taste the asiago. The angle hair was cooked exactly as I like it. Oh yes, I was in love.

My second bowl I chose linguine with alfredo sauce and Den chose angel hair with meat sauce. He'd got the endless Italian sausage with his and they were 2 HUGE hunks of meat. You could, of course, have as many as you wanted. They were, after all, endless. I dipped my fork into his meat sauce and then wound an alfredo covered linguine onto the fork. I raised it to my lips and I swear my eyes rolled back into my head. Talk about taste explosion! Good Lord if I was in heaven before, where was I now? THIS was the eating experience I've been waiting for! I am pretty sure I was moaning at the table. I didn't care. It was so damned good! I couldn't stop eating it. Server came back and I told her how wonderful it was. She said 'oh let's make your third bowl a combination then!'. I said oh no, no third bowl for me. I think I might have been thrusting my bowl out at her at the same time, however, much like Oliver Twist. I couldn't help myself. I might have even said 'please sir, may I have some more?'!

So, the third bowl came and eureka, we had a winner! Angel hair pasta with the creamy garlic asiago alfredo with meat sauce on top. Fresh grated Romano on top of that. Bells were ringing, I may have lost consciousness and definite ooohing and ahhhing ensued. I was over the moon.

So, they have this pumpkin cheesecake with a caramel sauce, whipped cream, and ginger cookie crumbles. I'm thinking lunch tomorrow!

I'm also thinking the scale is going to be a brutal shock on October 3 when i go back to WW!

It will have been well worth it.


Silverback said...

Excellent and almost professional restaurant review there, Deb, although with all that moaning and eye rolling it sounds like you were having a "When Harry Met Sally" moment.

If we go there I guess I'll not have to look at a menu. I can finally get to say "I'll have what she's having........."

Daphne said...

A great review of the meal - I felt slightly cheated because I just don't think I've ever enjoyed a meal as much as that!