After forty days, there appeared an Olive Garden. All major credit cards were accepted, and it was gooood.
Living inside a time when Crocs outsell leather sandals ten to one and chaste has given way to Charlie (Sheen), I figured that a feast of endless salad and breadsticks made plenty of sense on Easter Sunday.
It was an abbreviated flock I was dealing with. Mom and the girl. Their mandate being that I choose a less obvious locale for our meal. I understood this request to be relative in nature. Left to my own devices, I would have gone with pizza and beer whilst firing up some Netflix in my Sunday best pajamas.
Piety means never allowing your decisions to go bigger than your britches.
So I called ahead for seating, since Olive Garden is all about the Soft Reservation. They’ll acknowledge your presence, but they won’t guarantee it. Sort of like most major airlines. I soft booked with my restaurant alias- Riley. In case you were wondering (and I know you weren’t), I don’t use my real name for anything. Ever.
We show up to Frank Sinatra belting out the Cole Porter classic “Night and Day”, and it’s ironic since I’m fairly certain those guys wouldn’t have set foot in the joint. Porter would’ve detested the faux rustic design and Sinatra only frequented establishments that allowed him to chase his bourbon with a Camel.
“How many in your party?” Asks a kindly college gal.
For a restaurant chain that caters to families, I find the query exceedingly upbeat. I wanted to respond with, “Well, we started out with 87 but we’re down to three . . . the name is Donner.” Eh, she wouldn’t have understood. And by the time I explained it, I would have been in need of a bourbon and a Camel.
Waiting on mom, my daughter and I order drinks. The waitress offers a free sample of the House Chianti, which I politely decline in favor of the peach/mint iced tea. No sooner does she leave the table than the girl hits me with. “Why didn’t you take the wine?”
“I’m still marinating in Nyquil.”
“So, I don’t want to spend the next forty years watching Sponge Bob Squarepants episodes in soggy diapers, thanks.”
“Oh MY God, you’re so dramatic. Dad, it was free. How do you not take it? Free wine!”
“And you’re so transparent. You just wanted to sneak some of it.”
“What would He think of such a thing?”
Quick Olive Garden Review: The service would best be described as Waiting for Godot meets Silence of the Lambs. The peach/mint iced tea was delivered in a vessel which sat so high on my table that I had to ask for a booster seat. My appetizer sampler consisted of three dishes fried beyond recognition, complete with dipping sauce. Very tasty! For desert, I ordered the check.
Next year, I’m planning a trek to the Holy Land. If the Yankees are in town, that is.