Pasta Perfection

Day Eleven - Sara Cate

Comments

Demeanor -- Ravioli-like: Costs a little more, but worth it for all the cheese you get
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "This is the Olive Garden we came to, growing up. My dad always wanted to go ironically, but I think he actually enjoyed it."
Loves to hate, hates to love: Minions (of the Despicable Me variety)
Snapshot:

"So, your dad appreciates irony?" I ask incredulously.

"Oh, yeah. He's pretty cool. He even sends me memes. I mean, they're primitive...proto-memes, really. But he gets it."

--

Sara Cate is one of the funniest women I've ever met, and I've met, according to the url of this page, at least ten. In addition to being a budding internet youtube starlet, she enjoys mocking Men's Rights Activists in an effort to "deplete the brozone layer".

Also, she insisted on taking the selfie herself. "I've seen your selfies," she said dismissively, grabbing my phone.

38 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Not What I Ordered

Day Ten - Alanna

Comments

Demeanor -- Macaroni-like: whimsical, but also grounded and pragmatic
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "Growing up, my family went here twice a month."
Favorite video games: World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Blizzard Soulless Cash-Grab '97, etc
Snapshot:

"I hope you won't think this is weird, but I kind of wish I could hook your brain up to a computer and just watch what happens." [For those of you wondering, I did think this was weird, but in a fun way]

--

Alanna spent almost an hour in traffic just to endure a date that, from her perspective, was largely spent watching me eat. I don't know if she has some sort of moral objection to salad, or just was saving room for pasta, but clearly there is some deep trauma there.

In addition to being a PC gamer, Alanna has a dog named after a 4chan board. The previous statement is one of those sentences that is baffling to 90% of people, indifferent to 9%, and makes the remaining 1% fall instantly and irrevocably in love.

39 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Ganges

Day Nine - Christine

Comments

Demeanor -- Fusilli-like: extroverted, a combination of both "fun" and "silly"
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "The last time I was here was in high school. 'Cause, Olive Garden is, like, the fanciest place you can think of when you're 18."
Inexplicably chose to double major in: Chemistry/Music
Snapshot:

"So I quit my job and went to travel around Asia for a while, then came back, then took three or four weeks just for myself. Y'know. Jet lag."

--

Christine immediately earned a special place in my heart by being the first of any of my dates to actually finish her first bowl of pasta. Granted, she did this while groaning pitifully and rubbing her distended belly in a way that was somehow both disturbing and sensual, but it's still a fine accomplishment. I admire anyone with that level of commitment to getting their money's worth, even when it's their date's money, and also their date didn't spend any actual money.

40 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Diffuse Natural Light

Day Eight - Kristal

Comments

Demeanor -- Spaghetti-like: traditional, yet capable of surprising even the most jaded audience
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "Haha, I enjoy it. I used to have a friend who'd go with me to Olive Garden, like, twice a month."
Names of flag football teams she has been on -- Responsible Adults, Areolas
Snapshot:

((As the date was ending))
Vino: "Well, thanks for dining with me. I had a great time."
Kristal: "Yeah, this wasn't, like, torture or anything."
Vino: "Wow. Can I use that quote in the blog?"
Kristal: "Haha, sure."
Vino: "How about your answer to this question?"
Kristal: ((cannot legally reproduce response here))

--

It took a while for Kristal to let down her wary, snarky, sarcastic exterior, but once she did, I was treated to a personality that was truly wary, snarky, and sarcastic, but in a fun way. She's very much like a jawbreaker, in that there's lots of layers but they're all basically the same. Also, as a professional recruiter for automotive engineers, she's always looking for new contacts with which to network. If you or someone you know would like to make an exciting career change, give her a call!

I didn't get her number, though, so you're on your own there. Sorry.

41 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
A Really Bad Thing To Order If You're On A Date

Day Seven - Sandra

Comments

Demeanor -- Pesto-like: pleasantly nutty, slightly cheesy
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I like it! I put *makes air quotes* air quotes *stops making air quotes here for some reason* around the word Italian, but I like it."
Has a chip on her shoulder about the cancellation of: Mixology
Snapshot:

"So, yeah, we'd inject the mice with the substance and then wait for the microscopic hemorrhages to appear and then euthanize them and dissect their brains for further study." *chomps breadstick casually*

--

Sandra is a counselor-in-training who, I assume, regularly goes through empathy-building rituals not unlike Jedi mind exercises in pursuit of perfecting her craft. If that's true - and I really want it to be, so I didn't ask - that's pretty cool! She's also colorblind, though she assured me this doesn't cause nearly as many apple-related woes as I had always assumed such a malady would.

I mean, just imagine! You could never be sure what you were biting into. Every apple would be Russian roulette. Tart, sweet, tangy, it's anarchy!!!

42 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Day Six - Vanja (Vahn-ya)

Comments

Demeanor -- Hollandaise-like: smooth, yet somewhat acerbic
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I like it."
Kindred spirit?? -- As a troubled youth, ate nothing but McDonald's food for an entire year.
Snapshot:

Vino: "So, how did you get into the librarian business?"
Vanja: "Well, when I was 16, I started working in my local library as a page."
Vino: "And look, now you're a whole book!"
Vanja:
Vino:
Vanja: "Oh. That was a joke."

--

Vanja is a self-described introverted librarian with a cat named Oliver - after the book, not the movie cat named after the book - and a dry sense of humor. One of her favorite pastimes is informing people on the internet that their beliefs are wrong; in this sense, she and I have a lot in common.

43 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Alice Cooper's 'Rooster'

Day Five - Hilda

Comments

Demeanor -- Béchamel-like: Sassy nature makes men roux their existence
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- Completely stone-faced: "I fucking love Olive Garden"
Main problem with women's representation in modern gaming: poor anti-aliasing causes unmeetable standard of jaggy-ness
Snapshot:

"(uninterrupted three minute stream-of-consciousness rant about video game class design, guild mates, coworkers, the italian sausage she ordered, etc)"

--

Hilda works for a major video game company and was very good at answering my questions with nonanswers like "I can't talk about that project", "my company doesn't make Boggle, it is not a video game", and "no, we don't have any plans right now to make an olive garden-themed MMO". That last one particularly stung - she wouldn't even look at my concept art.

44 more dates to go - hopefully I'll learn how to take a selfie in that time.

Today's pasta was
The Colonel's Delight

Day Four - Michael

Comments

Demeanor -- Jerk sauce-like: "Very familiar with the dry rub", he continually reminds me
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "It's an extremely romantic place for a date~"
Gender identity/sexual orientation -- Decidedly male, decidedly straight
Snapshot:

"Are you looking at your phone again? That's no way to treat your daaaate~" Michael says. I can hear the tilde in his voice.

"It's not a date!" I snap back.

"Then explain all these candles~!"

"I still can't believe they let you bring those in."

--

Michael is my stupid jerk roommate who was my last option for a date after I had two consecutive cancellations for tonight. Remember, people: every time you cancel a date, someone has to go out with their roommate.

45 more actual dates to go.

Todays pastas were
Tri-athlon
Bi-athlon

Day Three - Rebecca

Comments

Demeanor -- Ragù-like: subtle characteristics that are easy to miss; possibly underappreciated
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I...hmm. I guess I have no strong feelings about it."
Favorite assassin -- Charles J. Guiteau
Snapshot:

"You know, fettucine alfredo was originally sold as a bland, flavorless dietary aid," she says, moving hers around her plate disinterestedly.

--

One of the best parts of this project is meeting people I would normally never come into contact with, like Rebecca. She's a 6th-grade teacher who effortlessly switches from insightful commentary on our education system to analyses of musical stage productions.

46 more dates to go.

.

Today's pasta was
Layoffs At The Mine

Day Two - Neslie

Comments

Demeanor -- Alfredo-like: mild, yet rife with hidden nuances
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "It reminds me of my friend. He likes it a lot because it's a chain."
Named after the world's largest evil food conglomerate? -- Undetermined
Snapshot:

"I couldn't pick a favorite dog. That'd be like picking a favorite child."

--

Neslie is a warm, affable woman who is clearly capable of a great amount of care and love. Hearing her talk about her family and the people who are most important to her reminds one that there's more to life than serial dating and pasta. On that note...

47 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Wario's Revenge

Day One - Katrina

Comments

Demeanor -- Marinara-like: spicy, saucy
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "It's, uh...it's okay!"
Belief as to whether the United States should get further involved in the Israel-Palestine Conflict -- Did not come up
Snapshot:

She straightens out her dress, then smiles wryly. "You really ate that fast."

I nod and say nothing for a while, because my mouth is entirely full of chicken. "Mm. S'been a while."

--

From the start of the evening, the waitress likes her more than me, which is understandable. Katrina is the type of person who is immediately likeable. I had some reservations about this year's blog; what kind of people would I meet? Could I really share any values with people from a state so different than where I was raised? How awful is that gluten-free rotini going to be, anyway?

Katrina allayed all my fears in one perfectly enjoyable evening. I look forward to seeing her again one day.

Until then, though, there are 48 more dates.

Today's pasta was
Sequel

Day Zero

Comments

Tomorrow begins my quest for pasta! I'm very excited. To celebrate, here's the new site, which lays out the new angle I'm going for with this year's blog.

http://alllovegarden.com

If you or someone you know would be interested in going to Olive Garden with me, just fill out the form!

Pasta Combination Selector