Day Twenty-Nine: Kelly

Comments

Demeanor -- Prosciutto-like: thin, raw
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I like it. The waiters look like they actually want to be here."
Has half a dozen stories about -- Bizarre ways the fish in her aquarium have died
Snapshot --

"So, you work at ((redacted: a non-Olive Garden Italian-American style chain restaurant)). You probably already know what I'm going to ask."

I blurt this out within 5 minutes of meeting Kelly. I can't bear maintaining a pretense of apathy towards this vital topic. Fortunately, she is understanding.

"Yeah. I think the food here is a little better."

"Wow. When I put that on the blog, do you want me to blur your face out and change your name?"

--

Kelly wears many hats - hostess, aquarium-tender, student, Tinder Queen - and yet manages to balance them all while maintaining her humble personality. It's this affable nature that made it easy to overlook her taking a full hour to eat three bites of fettucine alfredo.

Also, she has the world's cutest cats! I appreciate any date who shows me pictures of their cats. This is not sarcasm. Future dates, take note.

20 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Half-Moon

Half-Moon

Half-Moon
Mezzaluna Ravioli mixed with Chicken Pomodoro
Comments

Mezzaluna Ravioli is the Premium Pasta of this year's Never Ending Pasta Bowl. Clocking in at a $2.99 upcharge, it is, proportional to the $9.99 base cost of the NEPB, a significant investment. Is it worth it?

Day Twenty-Eight: Ashley

Comments

Demeanor -- Sapphorific; pleasant as a three-dollar bill
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I'm shocked that I like this so much."
High Roller -- Sat down and immediately ordered herself a coke zero and an eight-dollar "Sangarita".
Snapshot --

"When you write the blog entry for me," says Ashley, putting down her Sangarita™, "you have to make it clear that I'm gay."

I nod slowly. "I think I can do that."

She seems unconvinced. "I'm serious. I don't want anyone thinking I'm one of your...pasta floozies."

--

Ashley is a computer programmer who lives deep within the dense forests of NorCal. Her biting wit can make her a little intimidating, but beneath that is an intelligent, extremely funny woman.

As the second of her two requirements for being on the blog, please enjoy this photograph of Ashley's treasured corgi, Scout.

21 more dates to go.

Today's pastas were
Brotini
Palfredo

Palfredo

Palfredo
Chicken Fritta hybridized with Rigatoni, coated in Pesto Alfredo
Comments

Close up images of this sauce always make me a little nauseous, but it's so tasty that I can forgive it that, as long as it's not paired with italian sausage.

Day Twenty-Seven - Andrew

Comments

Demeanor -- Garden salad-like: responsible, mature, but not without its own charm
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- ((lowers voice conspiratorially as waiters walk by)) "I don't want to, y'know, offend the staff here. I mean, it's mediocre. But there's comfort in that. You don't have to wear a jacket."
Most bourgeois moment -- Paid more for a single shot of whiskey than I've spent on any meal in my entire life.
Snapshot --

As always happens when two grown-ass adult men get to talking, the subject of cute dog tricks comes up. I ask Andrew if his dogs know any good ones.

"The little one can stand on her hind legs and kind of flap her paws in the air. She's a little Rory Calhoun!"

--

Andrew, an audio engineer living and working in Bakersfield, came all the way down to my Olive Garden (roughly a two hour drive!) for his shot at internet fame and free pasta. He was alerted to my existence by his friends and longtime All of Garden fans, Tamerlane and Dogs of War, which I think might be pseudonyms.

Anyway, this was a pretty new experience for me, date-wise. What with us both being straight, cis, heterosexual, white men, we didn't have a lot of romantic chat about our future together or what shade of chartreuse would look best for the remodeled foyer's new dustcovers. Instead, we spent our dinner luxuriating over our privilege. It was a welcome change of pace, but I'm ready to get back to more traditional dates tomorrow!

22 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Nope, That's How It's Supposed To Taste, I Guess

Day Twenty-Six: Kelsey

Comments

Demeanor -- Taco salad-like: aggressively saucy
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I like it a lot. I'll qualify that by saying that I have, like, no standards. But I like it."
Reaction to being offered a refill after her first bowl of pasta -- In order: Bewilderment, disbelief, excitement, beatific serenity with the universe.
Snapshot --

"So," I say, as we walk outside the restaurant, "are you ready for the selfie?"

"Yes!! I know exactly what I'm going to do."

--

Right from the start, I knew there was something different about Kelsey. Maybe it was her laugh, which was not a chuckle or giggle, but a straight-up cackle -- frequently directed at something she had just said. Maybe it was her Tinder profile, which said nothing but "if you don't swipe right i'll kill myself" and made me feel like I was, in my own way, a life-saving hero. Or maybe it was the number of stories she told that started with some variant of "okay, this is going to sound horrible, but..."

I like her a lot.

23 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Audible Moo

Audible Moo

Audible Moo
Meatballs smothered in Chicken Pomodoro, placed upon a hill of Tri Colored Vegetable Penne
Comments

I'm not sure if the cows here in California are just more chill or fed on organic grass or something, but this meatball tasted notably different from the 60+ ones I ate last year.

Day Twenty-Five: Heaven

Comments

Demeanor -- Caesar salad-like: always prepared
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I always come here for my birthday, but they don't give out free food. :( "
Favorite indie film directors you've probably never heard of -- Neville Rothsberg, Emygdia H. Finn, "The Radish", Miss Quince
Snapshot --

The dinner is over, and as we're preparing to leave, I make a casual, though admittedly snarky, remark about Heaven's inability to finish her first bowl of pasta. She glares.

"You suck. You can put that in your blog."

--

An aspiring filmmaker/silicone manufacturer, Heaven has chosen a challenging career. She has informed me that the most frequently asked question about her line of work is as follows:

"Oh...silicone....Is it for....y'know...*makes jiggling motions at chest-height* boobs?"

If you were curious, the answer is "only sometimes".

24 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Betwixt

Betwixt

Betwixt
Rigatoni impressively swimming in Pesto Alfredo
Comments

In honor of my 25th day, I looked up synonyms for "halfway" in the thesaurus, and found this word, which is a lot of fun.

Day Twenty-Four: Annette

Comments

Demeanor -- Fruit salad-like: sweet, enjoyable to all ages
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "Pasta is totally the moon to my werewolf."
Percentage of date spent on Snapchat, Kik, Instagram, and Millienialz™ - The Web App For Today's Youth -- 48%
Snapshot --

Took this literal snapshot of me while I was preparing today's photo.

--

Annette, a biology student from NorCal, is a frisky and excitable young woman who has perfected the art of getting adorably flustered. I asked her to take the selfie for us, since she seemed pretty capable of modern phone technology. She took one while I was fixing my hair and refused to allow any others on the blog, so enjoy my self-absorbed preening.

25 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Cordon Bleu

Pasta Combination Selector