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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Slimy Cuttings From the Olive Garden

“When you’re here, you’re family” is the slogan of the Olive Garden. Hogwash. In my many travels, I actually (please, my fellow Italians, forgive me) stepped into such a place a few years ago to dine with my family. I was 14, still getting my feet wet with the pleasures of dining.

My father, being the cheapskate that he is, decided to go to this place while on vacation down on Cape Cod. We drove up to the restaurant and noticed that the parking lot was full, usually a very good sign, but not that day. My brother convinced my father to go, having been fooled by the commercials on television. He was only nine, how was he to know?

We were seated quickly. Considering the amount of cars in the lot, it was a surprisingly short wait. We decided to get the salad and breadsticks. After all, you get all of the latter and the former that you can eat. The waiter came with a salad that was wilted and slimy and breadsticks that were cold and soggy.

Our entrées weren’t any better. The chicken fettuccini alfredo was sweet and had no substance to it while the chicken itself was dry and cold. The sausage pizza had excellent sausage, some of the best I’ve ever tasted on pizza, but came with dough that was still a little raw and sauce that ran closer to barbecue than tomato. The cheese ravioli was another disaster. The ravioli came stuffed full of white gunk that barely resembled ricotta cheese, smothered in the same barbecue sauce as the pizza, only it was cold.

My advice is to go to the North End and wander into any restaurant there. You’ll have a 99.9% chance that it will be better than the Olive Garden.