In brief: Americans think they like Italian food, but in fact the Italian diet is much too varied and healthy, so we give our customers what they want: all-you-can-eat overcooked pasta with extra cheese.
Don''t forget the breadsticks, r1!
But don''t they have an Olive Garden academy in Italy?\
My mother thinks that is proof that their food is authentic. \
Woe to anyone who likes this shit and visits Italy.
Tried it for the first time a few months ago and could not believe how horrible it was. Not one good thing. Wilted lettuce with supermarket croutons and bottled dressing, mushy pasta, terrible "table" wine. Horrible.
Didn''t Judas betray Jesus in an olive garden?
I''ve been there once too, r4 & the lettuce was crisp. How can that be?
Clearly they save the best lettuce for you R6. \
They admit to overcooking the pasta. I think it has the texture of pudding.
Can''t wait until they have to start posting calories. That will be fun.
I find the salad palatable though I''d add more olives and reduce the amount of dressing by half. %0D\
The last time I was there I ordered the lasagne, thinking they couldn''t possibly screw it up. I was wrong.%0D\
Try the pumpkin cheesecake.
What makes you think I wanted to know any of this?
[quote] Not one good thing. Wilted lettuce with supermarket croutons and bottled dressing, mushy pasta, terrible "table" wine. Horrible.%0D\
Bottled dressing? %0D\
Not on my salad.%0D\
Olive Garden is much better than most foods in Italy that are deemed "authentic" by the insecure DL [childish epithet posted by a bigoted tool] types.
Olive Garden uses only my high-quality dressings.
My sister''s friend was a bartender at an Olive Garden and he said that Olive Garden microwaves the entrees.%0D\
Explains why the plates come out so freaking HOT!
On a lark I got a plate of their mussels there once, and they weren''t that bad. Obviously frozen but, for frozen, were good. \
Trying to get a glass of cabernet sauvignon of ANY kind there is a challenge, though. Both Olive Gardens I''ve been to have brought me a glass of some kind of white when I ordered cabernet sauvignon.
Ate at an Olive Garden with some suburban-living co-workers. Really didn''t know much about it. The worst Italian restaurants I''ve eaten in were 100 times better than this chain-food slop.
I''m not defending Olive Garden, but why do they overcook the pasta? I personally cannot stand sticky al dente pasta, and always order my pasta well done in restaurants. Obviously this is considered declasse, because I get glared at and the restaurants hardly ever cook it to my liking. What is it that I have in common with Olive Garden that makes us both like softer pasta, and what''s so horrible about that?%0D\
As a side note, my other biggest personal dissatisfaction with restaurant food in NYC is undercooked pizza. It is nearly impossible to get pizza that''s crispy instead of doughy. Now I''ll only order for delivery so I can stick in the oven until a slice maintains its erect shape when being held, instead of wilting.
Individual tastes are fine, but pasta traditionally (and many would argue rightly) should be al dente. Olive Garden overcooking it confirms they are not authentic and that their food prep is suspect. I assume they boil the pasta and then fridge or freeze it, then re-boil it before serving. Pizza Hut used to do that for their cavatini, if anyone remembers it from 20 years ago.\
This will probably sound cunty, but if you''re going to ask for overcooked pasta, you''re going to have to expect a lot of dirty looks, R18.
R18, I saw the report. They tailor the recipes to "American tastes."%0D\
They discussed the soft pasta in the report....it seems Americans don''t like pasta al dente (according to the head chef) so OG cooks it an additional minute.%0D\
Another thing they do is add cheese to everything and lots of it...Americans like that.%0D\
As I said in a previous post, it is slop.
Al dente for me
r18, thought I was the only one who hates the average New York pizza. Once the pie is made, even when reheated, it still tastes undercooked.%0D\
Most pies are too thick to begin with. The only chance of getting a well-baked crust is if the pie is thin.
Shame on you R18 and R21. It isn''t authentic pizza (by which I mean NY---the only REAL pizza) unless you can fold it in half, tilt it and let the grease run off. If you prefer it any other way, you really should pack your bags and move to flyover country.%0D\
I bet you like pineapple on your pizza too, dontcha? The very thought has me clutching my pearls.
r11 wins - LOL
R15 I was also pleasantly surprised by the mussels on one of the occasions I got dragged there. I think they took them off the menu, though...
Probably, R24. A friend of mine wanted to go to an OG that just opened in town for a specific dish, but he learned that they have replaced the steak in the dish with cheap sausage. Seems like the few real food items they used to have are being tossed aside for cheaper stuff.
I love their salads.
I learned never to order anything seafood related at Olive Garden the hard way. Ugh.
Me likey breadsticks, me likey breadsticks!
As bad as Olive Garden is, Carrabba's is 100 times worse.
I thank God I had an Italian born and raised grandmother who taught me how to cook genuine Italian food.
She must have known I was gay. Other boys wanted to play sports. I wanted to stay at home and learn every recipe she knew, every dessert, every way to prepare pasta, every single thing not found in any cookbooks. I'm very, very, very glad that I did. Hey, I may not be the butchest guy, but I sure have eaten well in my life.
Which is why you could go back once a week and never see the same waitress or waiter twice.
Why the assumption that patrons to olive garden think it is "authentic" Italian food. And why does it matter that it isn't?? The problem with Olive Garden is that food isn't good-- not that it isn't authentic.
What I find interesting is that Olive Garden is still going strong when TV shows such as Lydia's Italy are educating consumers about real Italian food. I wonder how many consumers, know the Olive Garden is bad Italian food, and just don't care.
Just my personal experience, but I have never had bad Italian food in Italy, whether it is eating at a restaurant, a cafe, or a market square. Some was just OK, but never bad.
The one unifying factor of food in Italy is that it is freshly cooked. Italians simply wouldn't eat somewhere that served reheated or microwaved food. If it's not fresh, it's not Italian, and that's that.
Incidentally, you're very brave to contemplate eating mussels that are not fresh.
r34, yes, Gram always stressed the link between the garden and the table. Veggies had to be FRESH and ripe.
Don't eat there if you have high blood pressure. The sodium content in each dish is more than 1000mg.
Italian food in the US is absolutely awful. Don't know why that is since you can find a decent restaurant of just about every other ethnic food.
R30 R35 I love your story about your Gram. I'm not Italian myself, but my father grew up next door to someone like your gram and both he and I learned to cook from her. I was making my own pasta at 10. She liked letting me work the dough because her kitchen table was just my height.
They had a garden in their mutual back yards during the Depression and WWII. I always had fresh tomatoes and basil.
I've been to OG twice. Ick. Just ick.
In my area, all of the Italian restaurants are owned by eastern Europeans. I know that Lydia is actually Croatian, but it is really weird that there are very few Italian Italian restaurants.
R37, your standards must be very high if you don't consider a place like Marea to be even decent.
But as far as the widespread more everyday restaurants, cuisines that are dominated by a hyphenated American spinoffs will largely have disappointing restaurants: Italian-American (called "Italian"), Chinese-American (called "Chinese"), TexMex (called "Mexican"), etc.
Perhaps Americans prefer "overcooked" pasta because some have trouble chewing? Also many are used to mac&cheese, which is usually cooked thoroughly.
Olive Garden is "Italian" like Panda Express is "Chinese." Both are hybrids of American cooking, and use less, if any, fresh garlic and herbs. As most Americans become more sophisticated in their tastes and more multicultural, perhaps they'll realize the health benefits of fresh, spicy food.
Shitty awful food for people who have no taste buds whatsoever.
Our local Olive Garden went bust -- boo hoo!
Now it's a Chinese buffet.
Panera has introduced pasta, which is just awful. Overcooked and way too much sauce. With out exaggerating, I think there was at least a 1/4 cup of pesto at the bottom of my bowl.
Are you single R30?
People, listen to yourselves! It is chain store slave slop. What is to debate?
Of course there are wonderful Italian restaurants in the US run by immigrants and there's always the best alternative of just making your own. Hook up with an Italian and learn the secrets. The men are usually hung, too.
[quote]Shitty awful food for people who have no taste buds whatsoever.
Well that is the point of view of the femmy, into fashion "ooh I'm not like THOSE people" types.
You're "femmy" if you don't like Olive Garden-level food? Well, then you call me Mary Martha, douchebag R48.
Their tomato sauce tastes like warm ketchup.
r41 Or god forbid some countries have different taste??
The point is, Olive Garden claims to provide "a genuine Italan dining experience" which is clearly not true. Words like "genuine" should still have a meaning. In a country like the USA where most people have never travelled, certainly never been to Italy, and where the food economy is based on the ubiquity of over-processed fake foods, this may not matter. There's a huge market for the fake, the easy, that which panders to the lowest common denominator (think Fox, think American processed cheese). And some people will always choose that, will think that OG food is "better" than food in Italy, and that anyone saying otherwise is being a snob. It's sad, but it's trye; I just wish they didn't claim it was in any way authentic.
trrye = true
That persistent "but she's Croatian" rumor is a cheap shot and it's bullshit. She was born in Italy. For R39:
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born on February 21, 1947, in Pula, now a city in Croatia, [bold]then part of Italy[/bold], but made a part of Yugoslavia after September 15, 1947 according to Paris Peace Treaties. Living nine years under Marshal Tito's Communist regime in Yugoslavia, her father, Vittorio, in 1956 sent his wife and their two children to visit relatives in Trieste, Italy, while he remained in Istria to comply with the government's mandate that one member of a family remain in Yugoslavia to ensure that the rest would return. Hours later, Vittorio himself left Yugoslavia under cover of darkness and crossed the border into Italy. Their departure was part of the larger Istrian exodus.
The Matticchio family reunited in Trieste, Italy, joining other families who had claimed political asylum from Communist Yugoslavia starting in 1947, many of whom remained in refugee camps throughout Italy for years. For the Bastianich family, the camp was one that had been an abandoned rice factory in Trieste that had been converted to a Nazi concentration camp during World War II and partially destroyed towards the end of the war, the Risiera di San Sabba. According to Lidia in a PBS documentary, although a wealthy Triestine family hired Lidia's mother as a cook–housekeeper and her father as a limousine driver, they remained residents of the refugee camp. Two years later, their displaced persons application was granted to emigrate to the U.S. In 1958, unlike the earlier groups of World War II refugees whose journeyed to their adoptive homelands by "liberty ships" that took at least seven days to arrive at their destinations in North and South America, the Bastianich family had the good fortune to reach New York City by airplane.
Bastianich gives credit to the family's new roots in America to their sponsor, Catholic Charities:
"The Catholic Charities brought us here to New York...we had no one. They found a home for us. They found a job for my father. And ultimately we settled. And I am the perfect example that if you give somebody a chance, especially here in the United States, one can find the way."
After a few weeks, the family moved to North Bergen, New Jersey, near the Chevrolet factory where Lidia's father began working as a mechanic. Later, they moved to Astoria, Queens, where they had family, friends, and relatives living in a large enclave of fellow Istrian immigrants. Lidia started working part-time when she was 14 (the legal age for a work permit), during which time she briefly worked at the Astoria bakery owned by Christopher Walken's father. After graduating from high school, she began to work full-time in local Italian restaurants.
At her sweet sixteen birthday party, she was introduced to her future husband, Felice "Felix" Bastianich, a fellow Istrian Italian immigrant and restaurant worker from Labin (Albona), Istria. The couple married in 1966 and gave birth to their son, Joseph, in 1968. Their second child, Tanya, was born in 1971.
Like most popular restaurants, you can find duplicate recipes online and can then make your own improvements.
R54, Blah, Blah, Blah, The majority of Italian restaurants in my area are STILL owned by eastern Europeans.
On "The View" Joy asked comedian Mike Berbiglia why is doesn't pronounce his name correctly (ber-BEEL-yuh), he said because his family is Olive Garden Italians.
The majority of pizza places in NYC are owned by Albanians.
Hello r45. No, I am taken. My man is very, very, very well fed. When he complains about now being overweight, I tell him now there is more of him for me to love.
I love their salads.
I love their cak
[quote]The majority of pizza places in NYC are owned by Albanians.
I went there once. The tomato sauce tasted like warm ketchup. I'd rather have Chef Boyardee in the can.
At what point in its history did The Olive Garden become associated with gays?
Our local Olive Garden failed; it's now a Chinese buffet.
I never go there by myself or with my adult friends.
But I have to tell you I've been with my family - a group of 12 ages 6 to 75, and it was a good fit.
Yeah the food was ordinary. But there was something on the menu for everyone.
It came quickly.
My brother-in-law was paying - and it was within his budget.
There were other families there - so no problem if the kids got a little loud.
Last time I went, I enjoyed their pasta fagoli soup, and the salad and breadsticks. I wish we had one in my city actually.
Ginny ate at Olive Garden once. And then she died. Right in her cube!
It's my absolute favorite restaurant!
Their buy one/take one for $12.99 special is back.
What is this Olive Garden place with which you flyovers are so infatuated??
Life is so much better when you no longer feel the need to be pretentious and can post what you really think.