Last week, 12 of us from work went to Olive Garden for lunch. It started off as someone wanting breadsticks and we kidded around about it, saying it would be really funny if we went to Olive Garden for lunch, but our jokes turned into reality when I got a meeting invite from one of the developers. I wasn’t a huge fan of Olive Garden as a kid; one of my best friend’s told me a story about her sister throwing up from eating their salad and it ruined my experience for a good ten years. The last time I visited one was probably in 2005, when a friend insisted we go to the one in Times Square (I didn’t eat, I just sat and sulked while he gorged himself on linguine and breadsticks.)
While perusing the menus (pronto vs. the regular menu) I noticed that everything had calorie counts next to the description. Sad to see that some entrees were over 1000 calories (actually, the majority of options were over 1000 calories). Even the chicken Caesar salad was about 900 calories. Each breadstick is 100 calories, which is funny because it really deterred people from having their usual amounts of bread.
So, lunch at Olive Garden. Since we had so many people, they sat us in a private room in the back of the restaurant, which is surprisingly large. We had four salads spanning the long table – here’s ours:
Iceberg lettuce, red onions, lots of croutons, tomatoes, banana peppers and their famous Italian dressing. I had four bowls of salad (I mean, it’s unlimited) and really paid for it later because I had to drink 4 liters of water to get rid of the thirsty feeling in my mouth. Some people ordered entrees to go along with the breadsticks and salad but I opted for the soup – unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks for $8.95. First soup: minestrone:
It actually ended up being my only soup; the server didn’t return to ask if I wanted a refill until he cleared everyone else’s plate. The soup was watery but had chunks of tomatoes and beans. What happened the Italian wedding soup that used to be popular at Olive Garden? The other soup options were all cream-based so minestrone was the only option I wanted to try, but I probably should have just stuck with the salad and breadsticks.
Kristen, the developer that used to be a hostess at Olive Garden, said that the breadsticks hit the spot and that’s all that mattered. Next, we are talking about visiting Red Lobster because some members of the team haven’t been and one of our interns said it’s his favorite restaurant!