New waiter today. Fortunately, I have the speech I give to the new ones pretty much down pat, now. I'm ready to go with it by the time he walks up to me and tells me his name.
"Hey, I'm Vino, and I'm doing a -"
"Yeah, I know."
Apparently, news travels fast in the tightly-knit community of Olive Garden employees. My waiter regards me with a friendly, yet hard, stare. It's as if he's daring me to order my first pasta. His hand rests with a practiced ease on his notepad, like a sheriff ready to draw his gun. I begin to sweat.
"I'll have, the, um...spaghetti with roasted mushroom sauce and --"
I scramble to check my notes. How could he have known that I hadn't tried that one yet? I try to regain my composure, but my nerves are shot.
"Y...yeah. Chicken fritta."
"I'll be back with that, and your Coke Zero."
"That...that sounds good. Thanks."
But he's already gone. I'm up against a professional, and it looks like I've already lost round one.
NOTE: A lot of people have asked me about the "arbitrarity" of my 5-star scale. I hope these pastas will help decode how I look at a dish and where the rating comes from. There are four main elements, so today I've picked four dishes that exemplify one of each.
Lunch was Presentation.
Dinner was composed of three plates of pasta:
I'm sure I'll see that waiter again. Hopefully I'll be ready next time.
A special thanks to my dining companion, this person who wants everyone to be aware of the existence of breast cancer!