The OG, or as the rest of the World knows it, The Olive Garden

Last weekend, Ian and I went on a date to the Olive Garden. The OG and I have a long history.  Even though I never worked there, almost every roommate I had in college did.  In college, we ended up eating there a lot.  Whether it was a Birthday Celebration or college graduation, it seemed the place to go in Terre Haute that was relatively nice.  After a while, I got sick of going there, and realized that, I make better pasta sauce at home.  It also didn't helped that they discontinued my personal favorite, Chocolate Lasagna.  It was an amazing layered chocolate cake with almond butter cream icing between each layer.  After I found out that dessert was no longer available, there was no reason for me to go there anymore.  But I digress.
We have been seeing the commercials for the two meals and two appetizers for $25.  So, we decided to try it out.
Skinny White Peach Cooler
I started with a Skinny White Peach Cooler. This drink was a mix of Peach, Mint, Tea, and Lemonade. It was really different. The shocking flavor for me in the mix was the mint.  Mixing that was the rest of the flavors was very interesting.  It took me a little getting used to, but I enjoyed it. Ian ordered water.
Ian, My Drink and His Water
At the OG, most of the meals start with bread sticks with soup or salad.  We chose the salad. The good thing or the bad thing is, the salad and bread sticks are endless.  Therefore, you can have as much as you want!  
Endless Salad
The salad that comes with your meal at the OG is pretty good.  It has iceberg lettuce, red onions, Roma tomatoes, peppercinis, black olives, croutons, and a nice Italian dressing, which is the OG's house dressing. The good thing with endless salad is, if you forget to take a picture of it for your blog, you can just order another one!  It will look exactly like the first one!  We did end up eating both salads that were brought to us.  
Olive Garden Bread Stick
The Olive Garden includes an endless amount of bread sticks with your meal.  The OG bread stick is a firmer textures bread stick.  It does have garlic brushed on the out side of it for flavor.  The bad thing about the endless bread sticks is, one bread stick with the garlic butter spread is 140 calories!  The average person eats at least two in a sitting at the OG.  So, they've eaten 380 calories with two bread sticks! I admit, I ate at least two! 
Bruschetta and Fried Ravioli Appetizers
With the $25 dollar meal, you can either order two appetizers or one dessert to share. We decided to get the two appetizers. The appetizers we chose, were the Bruschetta (on the left side of the plate) and the fried ravioli.  The Bruschetta is actually the chunky tomato sauce you put on the bread. I love this stuff!  In fact, I buy Trader Joe's Bruschetta Sauce in a jar all the time!  The fried Ravioli came with a Marinara sauce.  The Bruschetta sauce has really nice, fresh tomatoes with basil to give them an amazing flavor.  The Fried Ravioli was pretty good with the side of Marinara sauce.
Left Over Bruschetta
When it comes to Italian food, I'm really a sauce kind of girl!  That is especially when it comes to a really nicely flavored tomato sauce, whether or not it has meat in it. (This comes into play later!)
Ian with his Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno
Ian ordered the Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno.  He's a ziti kind of guy and orders it whenever we are out at Italian Restaurants. Zit is not one of my favorites, so, I don't often eat it. This dish looks fantastic in this picture. When I asked him what he thought of it, his answer was, "It was good!" 
Ravioli di Portobello
My normal dish to order at the OG is the Capellini Pomodoro.  I also usually order this with extra sauce and a chicken breast added.  I don't think pasta dishes without meat have enough protein in them. I always feel like I need more afterwards, so, I add the chicken.  This time, I ordered the Ravioli di Portabello.  I thought I would try something different, and my favorite dish wasn't listed with the dishes I could get with the $25 special.  So, I got the Ravioli di Portobello. The OG web site describes this dish as, "A Portobello-mushroom filled ravioli in a creamy smoked cheese and sun-dried tomato sauce."  I saw the word "Tomato" in the description and thought I would like the dish.  Well, I started out ok, eating away at my plate of Ravioli. 
*Side note: They must serve lunch portions with this deal, because the portions seemed a little smaller than usual.  That's ok.  Whenever I go to the OG, I order a lunch portion anyway!  If you didn't know, you can order them in the evening too!  The weird thing is, Ian and I both finished every single bite of our meals!  There weren't any leftovers for us to take home.
Added Bruschetta Sauce
Before I finished the plate of Ravioli, I ended up adding the leftover Bruschetta to my dish.  I needed the extra sauce!  I doesn't matter what Italian restaurant I'm at, I always tend to need more sauce.  The only dish that I do seem to love without the extra sauce is the Four Cheese Ravioli at Maggiano's.  That restaurant tends to put more sauce on their pastas.  It's also more expensive. 
I did find some stragglers in my pasta of other pasta.  I was not going to eat them. That sounds weird, but I'm a texture person, and this other pasta amidst my Ravioli was not the same texture.
The Ravioli did taste pretty good.  It had a good texture.  The smoked cheese sauce had a good flavor, but I realize, I really prefer a tomato based sauce.  I do wish that the Olive Garden Pastas came with more sauce on them.  I think the fact that I was eating a filled pasta helped give it  more flavor.  At this point, I average eating at the OG once a year, if that often.  I have eaten there twice this year, but that was a fluke.  I really do prefer to make my own pasta sauce at home!  That way, I control what goes into my sauce. 
The over all dining experience was pretty good.  We were told there would be a 25-30 minutes wait, and it was really only about twenty.  We had two servers that were pretty attentive to us the entire time we were there.  Our actual server was Michelle. She did have a hard time keeping our drinks filled, which really shouldn't happen.  Also, we were ready to go by five til the hour, as in, Ian had his card on the table so the server could see it.  She didn't bring us our bill until almost five after.  Then, she didn't get us checked out until a quarter after.  Why would it take that long to get us done and out the door?  I would think you would want to get people out of your tables, so you can get more people and make more money!  We were heading to play at 7:30pm.  We had gotten to the OG by 5:30.  An hour and a half should be plenty of time to get seated, eat, and be done!  That's when I started wondering if our server was new.  She was just a little slow on some things.  Luckily, the play was not more than a ten minute drive away from the Olive Garden, or we would have been late.  We didn't ever say, "Hey, we are trying to be somewhere!"  But we thought the credit card out on the table, ready to pay the bill was enough of a hint.  She kept talking to the tables around us and not to us, for over twenty minutes. By the time she did get our payment, there was a line at the server kiosk, and she had to wait. This was a bit annoying!
Andes Mint
At the Olive Garden, they always give you an Andes Mint to help with alleviating the garlic breath. This is a nice touch.  My roommies used to bring them home to me by the handfuls.  This is where my Pechin's Famous Andes Mint Brownies came from!  Thank you Olive Garden for the inspiration! 
PS- Bring back the Chocolate Lasagna!


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