Welcome to my food blog! I am your average home cook and I want to share my love of food with the world. I'll divulge my recipes as often as possible. Feel free to comment or to email me at nodessertpodcast@gmail.com! Don' forget to come by often for new posts... I love having you visit me!

December 27, 2013

Restaurant Review 17 - Olive Garden

Oh the chain restaurants!  Some people love 'em and some people hate 'em.  For me, it depends on the restaurant.  But I will tell you, I LOVE Olive Garden!  I don't care if it's "fake" Italian food, it tastes pretty good.  Some of my favorite items include fettuccine alfredo, the portabello ravioli, the eggplant parmigiana, and of course, their salad.  *As a side note, they now sell their salad dressing in grocery stores.  I found it recently at Walmart for around $3.  A good dressing, not exactly like the restaurant version, but pretty close.*
On a recent visit to the Olive Garden, I tried one of their new dishes off their Tastes and Toasts of Italy menu, the Crispy Risotto Bites. Delish! For $5 we got 6 rice balls.  Risotto and cheese are rolled in bread crumbs, fried til crisp, and served on a bed of marinara (with more cheese on top if you choose - and we did!).  They had good flavor, were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside as promised.  Also off that menu I chose a cocktail, the Moscato Aperol Cocktail - light and refreshing, this is a must try.  
Normally I get the fettuccine or the ravioli, but for lunch today I got the eggplant parmigiana.  It was a great size portion for lunch, but I was a little surprised the price was comparable to their dinner prices.  Disappointing.  My companion got their new Italiano Burger.  I forgot to take a picture but let me tell you, I had a bite and it was one of the best burgers I've had in a long time.  Covered in prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula, and marinated tomatoes, and a creamy parmesan garlic aioli...  Mmmm mmmm mmm.  Get there for lunch, you WANT to have this burger.  
They have a multitude of dessert options, my favorite being the Black Tie Mousse Cake.  But on this visit I had one of their Dolcinis, little tastes of dessert.  I went with the chocolate mousse dolcini.  It was good, the perfect size for a small sweet bite.  It satisfied my dessert craving without pushing me over the edge.  I am a little upset about how high some of their dessert prices have become, I remember when the mousse cake was only $4 and now it's over $7... Just seems a little excessive.
Olive Garden is still one of my favorite chains.  I eat their a few times a year, usually when they are running some kind of special, like the Buy One, Take One deal.  For $12.99 you got a full size meal there (mine was the asiago fettuccine alfredo - yum) complete with salad or soup and bread sticks, and then an entree to take home (I chose the Five Cheese Ziti al Forno - a new favorite!).  That promotion is over, but it was such a great deal, and I hope they bring it back soon.
To learn more about Olive Garden, and to check out their menu and current specials visit Olive Garden

Bread Sticks

Berry Sangira

Zuppa Toscana

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