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OG…

OG = Olive Garden = Oh God!

Monday night, as a Yelp Elite, I got to sample the new Olive Garden menu with about 30 fellow Eliters at the Olive Garden at Southcenter Mall.  Now I haven’t been to Olive Garden in ages and I have only been a few times (that I can remember) but this was a nice experience.  We were treated like kings and feasted like Greek Italian gods.  I was beyond stuffed upon leaving and left the restaurant with an “I love pasta” t-shirt, Yelp swag, leftovers, and a $25 gift card to come back to the restaurant.

The event was not a +1 event so it was an opportunity to get to know my peers a little better.  We were seated at tables of four and all of the food was served family style.  I really got to know Katie, Danika, and Nguyen a lot better throughout the course of our 2.5 hour dinner and we had a lot of fun.  We were given two drink vouchers for alcohol and I started the meal with a Sangiovese-Syrah and finished the meal with a house coffee and shot of amaretto!

Red wine and the night's menu.
Red wine and the night’s menu.

The meal featured three starters, a salad and lunch entree, five main courses, and a dessert.  Holy food!  Plus, you know, those famous unlimited breadsticks.  The first round were the appetizers and they were all fantastic.  We got to try the fried risotto with marinara, the fried artichoke hearts with a three cheese marinara, and the Grecian shrimp over a creamy polenta.  The fried artichokes were my favorite but all of them were delightful.  We cleaned all of these plates.

Fried risotto with marinara
Fried risotto with marinara
Grecian shrimp with creamy polenta
Grecian shrimp with creamy polenta
Fried artichokes with three cheese marinara
Fried artichokes with three cheese marinara

The salad was brought out and it could have fed 8 people.  Their new caprese salad topper is a blend of romaine and kale, fresh tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, mozzarella balls, peperoncini, croutons, and red onion.  This was delicious and plentiful and I probably filled up too much on this because when the entree course hit I was struggling.  We were also brought the smashed chicken meatball marinara sandwich from their lunch menu that was quite good.

Huge salad bowl with caprese topping
Huge salad bowl with caprese topping
Smashed chicken meatball sliders
Smashed chicken meatball sliders

So on to five entrees to try.  We were first brought the spicy bucatini with Italian sausage meatballs.  This was a spicy dish!  Very spicy!  I really like the meatball and the pasta itself was nice, just too hot.  The next course was my favorite; the rosemary garlic chicken.  I would probably never order this because it sounds like your typical chicken dish with mashed potatoes but it was excellent.  The chicken was moist and perfectly cooked, it came with super creamy potatoes, spinach, roasted garlic cloves, and sauteed spinach in a great light lemony sauce.  And the entire dish falls under their 550 and under calorie dishes.  The next dish was opposite, it was very heavy.  This was the seasonal lasagna and it was filled with cheese and summer vegetables and topped with a creamy shrimp sauce and pesto.  It was good but I didn’t have that much of this dish.  The next dish was another under 550 calorie dish.  The chicken abruzzi was a stew of sorts with that same lemony sauce, kale and cannelini beans.  It was very good as well.  The last entree was the seafood pappardalle.  The seafood flavor was very strong and I liked both the pasta and the sauce.  I did not care for the little overcooked scallops too much.

Italian sausage bucatini...spicy!
Italian sausage bucatini…spicy!
Roasted garlic rosemary chicken
Roasted garlic rosemary chicken
Seasonal lasagna with pesto and creamy shrimp
Seasonal lasagna with pesto and creamy shrimp
Chicken abruzzi with kale and cannelini beans
Chicken abruzzi with kale and cannelini beans
Seafood pappardalle
Seafood pappardalle

Finally we were brought our own serving of their vanilla panna cotta with mint, a strawberry puree and fresh strawberries.  This was a great light, summer dessert to cap off the great night.  We were all slightly drunk and definitely full but all left the restaurant pleased and having made new friends.  Great Yelp event that will actually probably get me back to Olive Garden some day!

Coffee with shot of amaretto
Coffee with shot of amaretto

Chelsea

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