Day 6

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Had a slight misunderstanding with a new manager today over the legality of using my Pasta Pass in a to-go order. "You can't order an unlimited amount of food to go," he said, as if talking to some idiot who didn't understand the basic premise of the Pass.

"It says right here on your site that I can use the Pass on To Go purchases. I've done it every day for almost a week now."

"You can't do that. I mean, if we let you just...take as much as you want, you could eat until you died."

I thought of the 1700mg of sodium in just my lunch and smiled humorlessly. "Yeah, I suppose I could."

Lunch was Night On The Town.

Dinner was comprised of three plates of pasta:

Gas Station Special
Tasticles
Asian Buffet

We eventually did get things sorted out, and thankfully my quest continues unabated.

A special thanks to my dining companion, this mysterious man who would only answer to "'Jungle' Jim"!

Night On The Town

Night On The Town
Spaghetti drowning in Five Cheese Marinara, bursting with Shrimp Fritta
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Some foods seem to be designed exclusively for consumption during an inebriated state: frozen pizza, poutine, the entirety of the Taco Bell menu. I would like to suggest that society adds "anything with 5 Cheese Marinara" to that list.

Pictured here is Night On The Town, though I don't know how many people typically get wasted and say "let's hit up that OG, SON! WOOOOOO!"

Gas Station Special

Gas Station Special
Chicken Fritta superbly dropped on a blanket of Angel Hair, balanced with Five Cheese Marinara
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Something about fried chicken mixed with orange cheese goo brings to mind the ubiquitious roller grill stationed in every mid-size gas station. Most usually feature a nacho "cheese" dispenser that is used to cover any product that isn't palatable alone (all of them).

Pictured here is Gas Station Special, 2 for $2, or 1 for $1.69.

Tasticles

Tasticles
Shrimp Fritta drenched in Spicy Three Meat Sauce, tossed on a lump of Spaghetti
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Shrimp Fritta always remind me of the Futurama episode where the crew discovers a planet full of delicious, crunchy snacks that turn out to be the larval form of a hideous alien race. This dish is tasty, right? I call it Tasticles.

Pictured here is Tasticles, and it is indeed genocidally tasty.

Asian Buffet

Asian Buffet
Marinara pleasantly enhanced with a veritable bevy of Meatballs, fused with Fettuccine
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God knows why, but sometimes, if you're very lucky, an asian buffet will contain some non-asian food. The asian take on international food is usually strange and always improperly seasoned. I guess I can't blame them - I wouldn't have the slightest clue as to how much Shaoxing wine one should add to General Tso's Chicken - but Olive Garden really has no excuse for what they served me today.

Pictured here is Asian Buffet, and seriously, tell me that's not plain tomato sauce.

Day 5

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"So you come here a lot?" asks 'Jessica', a hint of skepticism in her voice.

"You could say that," I reply disinterestedly, focusing my camera on a particularly crunchy-looking fritta.

"I mean, I don't hate Olive Garden or anything, but I don't see why you were so insistent about it. There's a really cool new taphouse downtown." As she's talking, I nod at Sharon, the hostess, who waves back happily.

'Jessica' doesn't really get it, I can already tell, and this dinner would be a complete waste if it weren't for the real beauty in front of me - "Ophelia". Still, I want to make her understand, if only to avoid sitting in complete silence.

I want to tell her that Olive Garden is the perfect restaurant. That it blends together the Platonic ideals of Italian culture: family, hospitality, and breadsticks - with those of American culture: consumption, self-determination, and thrift. That it perfectly balances its menu so that people of all walks of life can spend as much or as little as they want to eat more food than can possibly be healthy. Most of all, that while love can bloom anywhere, it flourishes most easily where people share food together.

I want to tell her these things, but Bridget, ever the perfect waitress, has just arrived with another basket of breadsticks, and the moment is gone. I sigh.

"I guess I just really like pasta."

Lunch was "Juliet".

Dinner was comprised of three plates of pasta:

"Ophelia"
"Imogen"
"Katherina"

As Bridget boxes up our leftovers, I avoid eye contact with 'Jessica' so that it's easier for her to lie to me about how she has to help her friend with something, and that she's very sorry that she doesn't have time for the movie we planned.

A special thanks to my dining companion, 'Jessica', who declined to have her name or photo appear on the blog.

Juliet

Juliet
Shrimp Fritta crossbred with Fettuccine, drowning in Roasted Mushroom Alfredo
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Some relationships are doomed from the start, much like the relationship between Shrimp and Roasted Mushrooms. Perhaps these star-crossed ingredients were never meant to marry, but the tragedy of never having tried is greater than that of failure. For a brave, ill-fated tryst that could never have worked but dared anyway, I have no choice but to award five stars.

Pictured here is Juliet - what light through yonder fritta breaks?

Ophelia

Ophelia
Fettuccine garishly smothered in Roasted Mushroom Alfredo, topped with Chicken Fritta
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Madness is the greatest terror of the civilized mind, and the rotting away of our sensibility is assured if we live long enough to see it happen. Yet only madness can explain the existence of this dish; breaded chicken simply cannot be well-paired with a non-tomato-based sauce.

Pictured here is Ophelia - and you can see on the right that there is a chicken fritta grows aslant the bowl.

Imogen

Imogen
Fettuccine saturated in Spicy Three Meat Sauce, crossbred with Italian Sausage
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Like most people, I've never actually read Cymbeline. I just picked this name because I wanted to make a pun about how Imogen really "Heap"-ed on the italian sausage in this bowl. Get it? Like the band? With that one song?

Pictured here is Imogen - come on, you know that song! It was, like, super popular in 2009 or so.

Katherina

Katherina
Fettuccine blended with Meatballs, blended with Five Cheese Marinara
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Those of you who recall The Taming of the Shrew will remember that the titular "shrew" was a woman who was transformed from an unlikable harpy to a simpering child thanks to the manipulation of a clever man. This dish is the "before" half of Katherina.

Pictured here is Katherina - vail your stomachs.

Day 4

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None of my friends were able to dine with me tonight, so I ventured into the Olive Garden solo for the first time. It's not that I don't have many friends - I actually have quite a lot. Like, I originally figured I'd go with a new friend to the Olive Garden pretty much every night, and I'd even have friends left over after that. But I guess tonight most people were busy. It's not a big deal. Like I said, I've got a ton of friends, so it wasn't even sad or anything. Sometimes I even prefer to eat alone.

Lunch was "Despair".

Dinner was comprised of three plates of pasta:

"Solitaire"
"Regret"
"Mortality"

Looking forward to tomorrow.

A special thanks to my dining companion, myself! I couldn't find anyone to take my picture but you can just imagine me in the corner there where my friends normally are.

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