Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lunch at The Olive Garden

Once a month my good friend Rhonda (Rhonder to those of you in Rhode Island or Montville!) and I get together to meet for lunch and catch up on each other's lives. We've been doing it for several years now and we both enjoy it immensely. This month's get-together saw us celebrating Rhonda's recent birthday and she chose The Olive Garden for their unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks lunch. An excellent choice no matter what the occasion may be!

Being that none of you could join us, I was kind enough to bring along my camera so that you could "share" lunch with us. Rhonda isn't a blogger so this whole "take pictures of your food" stuff is new to her and she was quite bemused by the whole thing. As long as I promised not to include her in any of the pictures she was good with it and even helped "pose" some of the food for me.

Thomas our waiter

This is Thomas, he was our waiter and quite willing to pose for a picture when I asked him. And yes, he did have rosy cheeks!"

A complimentary sample of blush wine

Thomas asked if we'd care for a complimentary sample of wine before our meal and even though Rhonda passed, I opted to try their house blush. It was actually molto saporito effettivamente! I was almost tempted to order an entire glass but Rhonda doesn't drink at all and it's no fun having a glass of wine when your lunch partner doesn't so I just enjoyed my sample and then had ice water.

Unlimited Olive Garden Salad

We started out with salad first and of course I opted for the grated cheese on top! Olive Garden has some of the il la cosa migliore mai salad ever!

Olive Garden Breadsticks

And of course there are the breadsticks ... who doesn't love Olive Garden's breadsticks made even better by the fact that they're unlimited?? Magnifico!!

My favorite Zuppa Toscana soup

This is the Zuppa Toscana which is my favorito assoluto when I go to the Olive Garden. If I could learn how to make this soup, I would be in Italian-hog heaven. It's made with spicy sausage, russet potatoes and cavolo greens in a creamy broth and - of course - I had Thomas load it up with shredded cheese, too!

Chicken & Gnocchi soup

Recently, Olive Garden added a new item to their menu - Chicken & Gnocchi soup which is a creamy soup made with roasted chicken, traditional Italian dumplings and spinach. I thought I'd give it a try (with shredded cheese on top, of course) and found it be abbastanza buon effettivamente! Now I'll have a tough time choosing between my beloved Zuppa Toscano and the Chicken & Gnocchi soups the next time we go for lunch. Guess I'll just have to have both!

Though we had thought about it, unfortunately (molto deludente!)we had no room for dessert while we were there as it's just too darned hard not to overload on the really good soup, salad, and breadsticks. Instead we opted to hit the Godiva store after walking around a bit at the mall next door. Rhonda's favorite there is the dark chocolate with marzipan filling while I chose a piece of dark chocolate almond bark ... after all, aren't dark chocolate and almonds both supposed to be good for you?!?

As always, it was a delightful lunch and time well spent in the company of a special friend. I look forward to it every month and hope you enjoyed your virtual visit, too!

What wasn't delightful was coming home to this ...

Huge flakes of snow!

Those big white spots you see in that picture of the lamp outside my house are snowflakes - big, enormous snowflakes which had the nerve to show up here after our 60-degree temperatures this past weekend! Oh well, at least they didn't accumulate and stick around - that really would have put the wrong ending on an otherwise great day! With any luck, I won't be seeing anymore of them this year but with March in New England, you just never know!
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  1. Great, now I am hungry for Olive Garden.

    Damn, lunch budget!!!

  2. Unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks? Now I know a Restaurant who have unlimited breadsticks but soup and salad? No, uh-uh, just this Olive Garden you went to lol, hahaha!

    Those breadsticks look heavenly!

  3. Oh MAN.
    I love Olive Garden SO much.
    And now I'm craving some salad from there. I'll have to see if I can drag the fam out there again some time soon. It's been a month since I was there, gosh darn it!

    I wonder if they still have the mezzaluna... OM NOM NOM.

  4. that is our favorite lunch when traveling by car. i love olive garden! ours closed last year when a new sweet tomatoes went in next door. too bad. i love both!

    smiles, bee

  5. Oh the soup, salad and bread sticks look very yummy. I've not been to Olive Garden in years. I wonder why?

    Thanks for the look at you day with a special friend. Only bloggers really understand the camera thing. Big hug. :)

  6. you made everything look so delicious

    ya know in Brooklyn we'd say Rhonder also - we only pronounce 'R' when it isn't there ;)

  7. Wonderful Post. I love Olive Garden. I am so glad you tried the new soup. I was curious how it was. What a wonderful lunch thing you do with your friend. I am glad you do that. I love your new view from the front yard... No HILLS.. Yeah!!!! The waiter looked good for eating also.. LOL.. hee hee hee

  8. Anonymous1:44 PM EDT

    YUM. That looked like the perfect lunch! Especially when serve by that handsome waiter...


  9. Anonymous2:07 PM EDT

    Oh, I'm sorry... was I drooling? I just had my Lean Cuisine and was feeling quite pleased with myself. Now I read about Italian food (my favorite!) at my 2nd favorite Italian chain. My favorite is Macaroni Grill!

    And I beg to differ... I can thoroughly enjoy my glass of wine even when my dining parnter chooses to have an iced tea. ;-)

  10. It all sounds yummy! I would have had to have had more wine though! ;)

  11. What super meals you tried. I love Italian, and would be keen to try what you had.

  12. soup and salad at olive garden, that is good

  13. If Bee wants to drive all the way out to Plantation I work right next to Olive garden....but, I never get to eat there.
    I'm a brown bagger

  14. Olive Garden is my absolute favorite resteraunt to go to!! I love to order the Alfredo dipping sauce for the breadsticks and could live off them for eternity!!

    Great, now I'm drooling all over my dispatch console! And I had just saw the commercial the other day, that they brought back their pan-seared, flattened chicken breast! MMMMMmmmmmmmm.......

    OMG! Towel, napkin, tissue paper, anything to mop up this drool please... LOL

  15. Olive Garden should hire you to advertise. Yum.

  16. Anonymous9:20 PM EDT

    I thought of you just yesterday as I went out to lunch and gasp! forgot my camera. I almost couldn't enjoy the food due to being unable to take photos to share with on my blog. Well, I did enjoy my food, but just a bit less.

  17. I haven't been to Olive Garden in forever. There's one around here somewhere...I'll have to find it.


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