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
Fettuccine blended with Roasted Mushroom Alfredo, festooned with Shrimp Fritta
2 Comments

Some relationships are doomed from the start, much like the relationship between Shrimp and Roasted Mushrooms.

Ophelia

Ophelia
Roasted Mushroom Alfredo studded with Chicken Fritta, richly put upon a pile of Fettuccine
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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.

Imogen

Imogen
Spicy Three Meat Sauce garnished lavishly with Italian Sausage, swathed in a bundle of Fettuccine
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Like most people, I've never actually read Cymbeline.

Katherina

Katherina
Fettuccine drowning in Five Cheese Marinara, united at last with Meatballs
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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.

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.

Despair

Despair
Shrimp Fritta combined with Whole Wheat Linguine, coated in Spicy Three Meat Sauce
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A good bowl of pasta is like a good book - you often will learn as much about yourself as you will the author.

Solitaire

Solitaire
Whole Wheat Linguine refreshingly topped with Shrimp Fritta, saturated in Alfredo
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Shrimp, like all ocean bottom-feeders, are communal in nature, yet they all fall prey to the mighty shark.

Regret

Regret
Roasted Mushroom Alfredo combined with Chicken Fritta, thought-provokingly swathed in a agglutination of Cavatappi
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Roasted mushroom sauce and breaded chicken is not a very good combo. I regret it.

Mortality

Mortality
Spicy Three Meat Sauce sprinkled with Chicken Fritta, mixed with Angel Hair
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In theory, all meat-based dishes in the bowl should be a constant reminder of the fragility of life.

Day 3

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There are certain things man was not meant to eat. Today, my body made it quite clear to me that "Nothing but pasta, forever," is near the top of that list. I will spare you the details, but suffice to say it will take some time for equillibrium to be re-established and for me to restore order among the bacterial fauna of my gut.

Lunch was "Man Vs. Pasta".

Dinner was comprised of four plates of pasta:

"Cheezilla"
"End Of The Week"
"A Day At The Fair"
"Red Sky At Night"

I remain confident that this was a minor setback, and thanks to my companion, I got to try a bonus dish without dedicating an entire platter to it!

A special thanks to my dining companion, Vinegar!

Man Vs. Pasta

Man Vs. Pasta
Italian Sausage coated in Meat Sauce, dropped on a bottomless bowl of Cavatappi
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In our culture, manliness is primarily defined by two traits:

Pasta Combination Selector