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Real Italians go to Olive Garden

Basil

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"If you served this in an Italian restaurant, at a minimum they would burn the place down." :oops:

 
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DrEntropy

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That was hilarious! I've been to two O.G. restaurants, first with my Italian mum when the place first opened here ( mid or late '80's) and that was enough to learn it was FAR from Italian. Mother was disgusted.The folks in the video were reacting the way we did then. Second visit was out of courtesy to my bro-in-law, he was buying dinner as celebration for a group of folks after a daughter's graduation from college. This was in Orlando, decades after the first time. Thought I'd try and get the least obnoxious item on the menu and told the young man attending I'd like thin spaghetti in red sauce, al dente. When served, I was presented with a plateful of overcooked pasta, cut into pieces about the length of rice grains. Rather than send it back, I choked it down, eating it with a spoon. Never again would I set foot in one of those "restaurants."

Those Italians have the right idea. Burn the place down and send the "chefs" to purgatory!
 
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pdplot

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My mother LOVED OG! Dragged me there several times. The salad wasn't bad and Mom always asked for extra tomato. But the overcooked spaghetti and gooky sauces...inedible. This was in Florida. Our last experience with OG was in Florence, SC on the way back from Florida. The place was chaotic. The bartender was cursing the place out, the service was terrible and we said "Never Again". Unfortunately, most Americans don't know any better and OG thrives.
 

DrEntropy

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The "chain restaurant" coming closest to what I consider Italian cuisine is Carrabbas. Specifically their lasagna. But the disappearing Ma & Pa places still beat 'em, hands-down. One of the best places I'd ever found was back in the early '70's, in Hampton, VA. Papa D'Angelo's by name. Long gone but not forgotten. Family run, genuinely home made fare. Haven't found the likes of it since.
 

GregW

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I kid you not, when I was a kid, I went clamming in Assawoman bay. Not far from Hampton.
 

DrEntropy

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I kid you not, when I was a kid, I went clamming in Assawoman bay. Not far from Hampton.
The Tidewater region was a great place to live, I had a small rented house three blocks from the Bay on Buckroe Avenue. The beach was a short walk away, I would do a short run on the beach before going to work. Always enjoyed the sunrise from there.
 

NutmegCT

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The backstory of that BBC "spaghetti harvest" is hysterical. Back in the day, spaghetti wasn't a common item in UK kitchens, except in cans of spaghetti with sauce (think Chef Boyardee). Ancient ones like me may remember being served canned spaghetti as a delicacy when I first visited the UK in the 1960s.

April Fool day 1957: BBC broadcast the bogus spaghetti harvest film on TV, and Ticino (southern Swiss canton) has never been the same!

:smile:
 

DrEntropy

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cans of spaghetti with sauce (think Chef Boyardee).
I recall my first (and last) experience with that stuff. "Spaghetti-O's" at a grade-school pal's home. Had to choke it down and try to act appreciative.

A role reversal experience was while I was an Airman, invited a co-worker to the house for a Friday evening spaghetti dinner. Wife spent the day cooking the sauce as my mother had taught her, she'd crafted pork and veal meatballs to accompany. Co-worker shows up, plates served, he began CUTTING the pasta up into short lengths. We'd never seen that behavior, thought it aberrant. Thought about: "When in Rome..." No second invite there.
 

YakkoWarner

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I liked Olive Garden 20 years ago - it really WAS better (at least the one I went to) in terms of quality then. Like most corporate places, corners have ben cut in the name of profit margin. I will begrudgingly go there if I am either A): On a road trip and don't have time to hunt down (or can't find) a decent local place or B): Needing something later at night when the local places have already closed (OG is usually open until 11 on Fri/Sat and 10 on Sunday, the local places I really like close 2-3 hours earlier than that). I still like their salad, and minestrone isn't bad.

I am fortunate that I know where there are 3 local, family run Italian places - all of them conveniently placed along my 30 mile trip between work and home. Each has something that they do better than the other 2 so where I go depends on what I am in the mood for. They cost a little more than the OG (but only by a few dollars), and the quality is well worth the extra cost not to mention I prefer supporting the family run places.
 

Bayless

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We had a small family owned Italian place within a mile of home for a few years and it was great. Unfortunately for us, the owner finally closed it and went back to Florida. There is still another pretty good one almost as close but we haven't been there in a while. May have to do that soon.
 
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Basil

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We had a small family owned Italian place within a mile of home for a few years and it was great.
Growing up in West Virginia, there was a very good Italian restaurant in Clarksburg. Dad was good friends with the original owners/ founders. Besides amazing Italian food, they had the best meatball sub on the planet! Don't know how it stacks up these days, but back then it was amazing!

Screen Shot 2021-06-23 at 8.35.17 PM.jpg
 

PAUL161

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When growing up we didn't have any so-called," Foreign" foods, meat and potatoes were the staple on our table. Pop wanted meat at every meal plus all kinds of vegetables. Home-made bread was also a requirement of dads. I didn't know what spaghetti or Italian food was until I went into the Navy. It took a little getting used to as I never had it. :rolleyes2: PJ
 

DrEntropy

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Argh. I'm "batchin' it" just now, da Mits is down Miami-way visiting her 91 Y.O. mum. No reason to cook and the rainy season is here so no outdoor BBQ. Threw together the leftovers found inna fridge for dinner; one grilled chicken thigh, some baked beans and white rice. diced the chicken, mixed it all together and zapped it with radiation to heat. Actually it wasn't too bad.
 

DrEntropy

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When growing up we didn't have any so-called," Foreign" foods, meat and potatoes were the staple on our table. Pop wanted meat at every meal plus all kinds of vegetables. Home-made bread was also a requirement of dads. I didn't know what spaghetti or Italian food was until I went into the Navy. It took a little getting used to as I never had it. :rolleyes2: PJ
That's interesting, Paul. My dad was the same way, supper was always meat 'n potatoes. But mom was a first gen American-Italian. Lunches were pure Italian "peasant food." Brother and I had the best of both worlds!
 

DrEntropy

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Or mine. Now and again I even make my own pasta. No time now to grow, puree and preserve our own tomato sauce though.
 
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