Day Forty: Yujin

Comments

Demeanor -- Oregano-like: Slightly bitter
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "People are snobby about it, but it's fine."
Helpful/unsolicited tip, brought up apropos of nothing -- "I will say, though, you are much better looking when you look straight ahead."
Snapshot --

"You're an asshole!" Yujin informs me.

I've just finished telling a story in which I, to be fair, come across as kind of an asshole. Before I can respond to this astute observation, the waiter asks us if we need anything. Yujin glares at me and says "Yeah, a better date!"

--

Before I continue, I must legally inform you that this blog post is not legal advice, and Yujin is *not* a lawyer. Granted, this is true of every single one of my dates, but she is the only one that made it a point to stress that I cannot imply her having any sort of lawyer-powers. Bearing that in mind, All Love Garden Dot Com is a fully licensed and bonded law firm, and you should consider all other posts as such.

Wow! What a date. If confidence is a single piece of cavatappi (or a cavatappo, as it would be called in my native Italy), Yujin is an Olive-Garden sized bowl of it. She went to several fancy schools, got several fancy degrees, probably makes more money than I ever will, and is a good three inches taller than me. That said, she dropped a crouton on her lap while eating the salad, which kept her from being all that intimidating. Olive Garden proves yet again that bread is the great equalizer.

9 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Home Stretch

Home Stretch

Home Stretch
Tri Colored Vegetable Penne united at last with Meatballs, kissed with Pesto Alfredo
Comments

Looking through these penne is like looking through prison bars, and the meatballs are the wardens of my cell.

Day Thirty-Nine: Angelica

Comments

Demeanor -- Rosemary-like: astringent and striking
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "It's alright! I always get the same thing - the Five Cheese Ziti al Forno™."
Advice to young women who want to get ahead in the world of competitive Speech -- "Wear a skirt and pantyhose. And bring extra pantyhose for when it inevitably tears. Judges outside of California will expect a skirt, and getting to wear pants is not more important than the speech you worked on all year."
Snapshot --

"My boss was shocked that I knew what a bong looked like. He said at other schools, I could be fired for that."

--

This date was a fun challenge! A debate and speech coach for a private Christian college, Angelica knows a thing or two about dealing with entitled, white men like myself. Though I'm sure she could have easily destroyed me with her mastery of verbal fencing, she spared my life and pride, for which I am eternally grateful.

10 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Crouching Penne, Hidden Spaghetti

Day Thirty-Eight - Krystle

Comments

Demeanor -- Thyme-like: subtle and reserved
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "My friend and I always came here when we used to follow pop-punk bands around."
With friends like these -- Made her friend drive all the way to the date with her, and then wait outside the Olive Garden for the duration
Snapshot --

"So, you work with kids. What can I do when there's a screaming child at the next table?"

She ponders a moment, and then gives me the exact answer I was hoping not to hear. "Eventually, you just tune it out."

--

Krystle is a preschool teacher who dreams of one day becoming a travel writer. She's a shy-until-you-get-to-know-her type, which is unfortunate because I only really got to the "get-to-know-her" part near the end of dinner! She's very nice, though, and was almost as amused as I was when I found out that the waitress had accidentally (??!) dropped an Andes mint in my Coke Zero. See a picture here - be forewarned it's not very good because I was shaking with excitement at winning this magical prize.

11 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
A Tasty Snack!

A Tasty Snack!

A Tasty Snack!
Tri Colored Vegetable Penne incorporated with Pesto Alfredo, impressively bursting with Chicken Fritta
Comments

This Plain White Sauce keeps your body running smoothly and prevents your teeth from turning all grey.

Day Thirty-Seven: Mandy

Comments

Demeanor -- Basil-like: strong, sweet
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "Okay, so, about that. My dad hates this restaurant. Absolutely hates it. And he won't tell any of us why. So I've only been here once before."
Mildly threatening tip for my 'really bad' selfies -- "Try to stop breathing when you're taking them"
Snapshot --

((reading her star sign's features off her phone)) "Aquariuses are cheerful. They like to have fun."

I interrupt. "I hate to have fun."

"Well, you're not an Aquarius."

She's got me there.

--

Mandy is an artist who works in the mediums of metal sculpture and photography. She taught me a lot about both of these things, including some genuinely helpful advice to really get the most out of my burgeoning pasta photography business. Granted, I only have one customer, and they haven't paid me or acknowledged my existence yet, but since I've taken over 300 different photos for them by now I think I'm due for one heck of a paycheck!!

Thanks much to Mandy for that and coming all the way from Los Angeles to dine with me!

12 more dates to go.

BONUS: Waiter Spotlight --

Our waiter brings me yet another refill of my soda (diabetes ain't easy).

"Here you are, sir. Diet Coke."

He places it on the table, and before I can say anything, he bursts out, "Just kidding!! It's Coke Zero."

I congratulate him on this classic bit of misdirection, the ol' aspartame-switcheroo.

Today's pasta was
White Balance

White Balance

White Balance
Meatballs drowning in Chicken Pomodoro, united at last with Gluten Free Rotini
Comments

Apparently an important trick when you work exclusively in the medium of yellow-lit yellow pasta is the art of the White Balance.

Day Thirty-Six: Andie

Comments

Demeanor -- Cilantro-like: warm, nutty
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "Honestly? I don't understand all the shit Olive Garden gets. Nobody says it's real Italian, so why do people complain about that?"
Most recent proposition received on OkCupid -- An offer for $200 to receive a massage, which she assumed was "probably to test whether or not my skin was soft enough to make a suit out of"
Snapshot --

During the dinner, Andie mentions something clever, but also pretty rude about my previous dates. I ask if she can rephrase it in a more palatable, blog-friendly way.

"No. I can't be funny without being mean."

--

Andie, a grant writer who works five minutes away from Olive Garden (talk about a dream job!!), and I have a lot in common. We both love pasta, are snarky, and have issues with emotional intimacy that we gloss over with sarcasm. Like Freda from yesterday, she said some pretty hurtful things about Coke Zero, though this time I won't make the mistake of offering these opinions legitimacy by reposting them here.

13 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Shuffle Play

Shuffle Play

Shuffle Play
Chicken Fritta glazed with Pesto Alfredo, settled on a heap of Mezzaluna Ravioli
Comments

What happens when you pick three pasta ingredients totally at random that have no flavor profile compatibility at all?

Day Thirty-Five: Freda

Comments

Demeanor -- Salsiccia-secca-like: fresh, dry
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "If...if I was picking a restaurant for a first date, it would not make the short list."
Chooses to advertise herself on online dating sites with the phrase -- "Not horrible-looking or fat"
Snapshot --

Freda: Coke Zero, huh? I've never had it.
Vino: Oh? You should try some!
Freda: Okay. *takes a drink*
Vino: Well?!
Freda: That's vile. I can't believe you drink that.
Vino: ...I feel like we're getting off on the wrong foot.

--

My last date of week five was Freda, a confident woman working as an administrator. She is not a fan of the Olive Garden, and was not shy about telling me so.

Part of the reason for her OG aversion is that Freda is very into healthy eating - apparently, she doesn't even allow sugar or flour into her house because she doesn't like the idea of anything "white and refined". That said, she seemed to tolerate me well enough.

14 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
A Gaze Into The Abyss

A Gaze Into The Abyss

A Gaze Into The Abyss
Asiago Garlic Alfredo festooned with Chicken Meatballs, combined with Rigatoni
Comments

This photo is of the dish as it was served to me, with the meatball cracked open like a terrified and terrifying eyeball.

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