Tag Archives: olive garden

OLIVE GARDEN – Grilled Chicken Piadina

2 May

UntitledI hate the name but I LOVE the dish.

It’s essentially an Italian Quesadilla and I thought it was going to be pretty lame but I was totally surprised by how well the ingredients came together.   Chicken, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and an Italian cheese sauce….with a side of marinara for dipping.   Loved it!!!!   Olive Garden is back on my good side for a little while.


25 Sep

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Friday brings us another episode of our mobile series hosted by the ever-cool Olivia.   Today Olivia samples some of the breadstick sammiches from Olive Garden.   Chicken Parm and Meatball.  Which will be her favorite?

Then it’s a quick jaunt to the local Sprouts to load up on the most amazing gummie bears ever developed for mankind.    Join her on her adventure, won’t you?  Click the pic or check it out below


20 Jan

Olive Garden has seen a drastic drop in sales and loyalty in their customers.   To combat this they have really stepped-up their marketing and menu with new items like the CHICKEN MEATBALLS appetizer.  I have had these at local Italian eateries in the past …and they were always a fun and flavorful twist on the classic beef version of meatballs.

Chicken as a meatball really has to have some complimentary flavors mixed in.   Chicken by itself can be rather bland so the addition of cheese, herbs, and a nice marinara make these pretty tasty.   A side bonus is when you are one with the meatballs, you have some great sauce left over to dip those breadsticks in!

I personally would have loved them Chicken Meatballs more had they been a little more heavy on the seasoning…but hey…that’s me.   I don’t usually order appetizers at Olive Garden… but after having these, that just might change going forward.

The Tide Has Turned!!!

5 Sep

Around the DFW area, there is no shortage of places to get Italian food.   But when you think in terms of visibility and marketing it seems we have just two:   Olive Garden and Spaghetti Warehouse.

Both are usually packed during the weekends so I guess they do well.    Most people I know consider them great places.

The thing I hear most often is “I love O.G.’s breadsticks and salad”.

Olive Garden has always struck me as trying to be a classy place.  It’s not, but it tries, so I give them credit for that.   Back in the day their breadsticks DID indeed kick ass.  But today they don’t taste fresh.  They have a slight freezer burn taste to them more often than not.  The salad is still good though.  I will say that.  But most of their entrees just don’t drive me wild.   It’s rather bland.   Not bad.  Just generic.

Spaghetti Warehouse has always had the reputation of being the more casual, hang out kinda joint.   It’s decorated with crazy signs and junk and it’s just laid back.   I have always found their table bread and garlic butter to be MAGNIFICENT.   The rest of the menu I could take or leave.   It seemed just as generic as Olive Garden.  Only cheaper.

So the group think was (in my circles) was that OG was the nicer and better place.   I hadn’t been to either in several months.   I tend to make my own italian food at home now, but in a funny twist of fate, I ended up eating at OG and SW in the same weekend.   So they were both fresh on my mind:

OLIVE GARDEN – Still has some good salad.   The breadsticks are just as I remember them.  Not as good.  Their calamari appetizer was SURPRISINGLY good.  Tender and with a light crunch.  The decor in this new location is romantically lit and everything looks very nice and pretty.  I notice the prices seem higher than I remember.   Food is just generic and disappointing.

SPAGHETTI WAREHOUSE – Was still the crazy decorated place with the laid back atmosphere.   What I discovered in terms of food was noticeable.   The table bread/garlic butter was perfect as always.  I did notice a difference in the salad.  It seemed bigger, fresher, and with a zestier dressing.   The spaghetti, meatballs, chicken parm, and other things we were all eating tasted better in terms of quality.    Nice portions and rich sauces.

After years of Olive Garden holding the crown (such as it is) I think Spaghetti Warehouse has really stepped up its game and improved the ingredients they use for their recipes.   It’s no longer generic.  It’s rich and hearty southern italian food.

Spaghetti Warehouse leaps off the top rope and lands the 1-2-3, and takes the championship belt from Olive Garden!







23 Jan
OG by Junk Food Critic
OG, a photo by Junk Food Critic on Flickr.

As I was online, catching up on CELEBRITY APPRENTICE

(I will give you a minute to make jokes)

online at NBC.com. I love catching up on previous episodes on my time, online.

That being said, something kept popping up during the show. Commercials for OLIVE GARDEN. Ten of them. In fact, OG was the only commercial they played. I am guessing OG gets exclusivity or something to these online episodes.

Hearing the same commercial ten times in an hour, you pick up things.

Apparently, Olive Garden has a “culinary school” in Tuscany.

This seemed sort of odd, that they would send their people to Tuscany to learn how to open giant salad bags, butter pre-made breadsticks, or create any of their simple and ordinary dishes.

(sorry, but I have talked to a few people that have worked at OG, and they say alot of their stuff is premade. Not “freshly” prepared dishes)

Now, a quick spin around the internet tells me that is “kinda” true. OG DOES have a culinary program, entitled The Olive Garden Culinary Institute of Tuscany.


In reality, it’s an 11 week course that OG chefs/managers attend. The rest of the year, the place is used for other purposes.

I give OG for trying to improve their much maligned rep, but is an 11 week vacation for the managers really gonna improve the taste, and in return, bring the customers back??

And this is coming from someone who had their fair share of nights at Olive Garden. It’s the type of place that I try every so often, hoping it will get better. Unfortunately the last three visits there weren’t great; food or service wise. It is very tough to find GOOD italian food when you move somewhere new.

More often than not, if I am in a new town traveling, and I ask where is good Italian food, I will almost always hear, WELL, THERE IS AN OLIVE GARDEN up on….blah blah..

Now, truth be told, I like Olive Garden’s salad. But I don’t find their “signature” dishes to be anything I couldn’t find in my local grocer’s freezer.

Maybe my tastes are changing as I get older, but most of their stuff just tastes so bland and corporate. Processed and generic.

And now that I write this, I am having a craving for their salad.