On a Tuesday Night?
One of my twins is a picky eater. For a while, I thought his food aversions were from lack of courage, being unwilling to try things. I thought this because I know most of mine were from lack of effort. I don’t like fish, but every few years I try something, just to see if I am only pretending not to like it. Shellfish is the worst. I gag at the taste of shrimp. Funny enough, I love items cooked with fish sauce.
Tomatoes were something I didn’t like until well into my twenties. I tried them on my mission on several occasions, liking them enough to eat them and not appear ungrateful when someone would serve them. Not until much later did I choose to buy them and eat them on my own. Oddly enough, I didn’t think I liked any kind of fruit preserves until around that time. The first night I was in New Hampshire, fresh faced out of Utah and sitting at the spacious dining table in the home of the mission president, we were served pastry turnovers with raspberry preserves inside. I felt sick at the thought if having to eat them and was trying to devise a plan to pass mine off to someone else. The opportunity did not present itself and I had to choose between leaving it untouched, or sampling it. I gave in and took a forkful. Oh my! So fantastic! I recall being quite angry at myself for nearly two decades of ignoring something as wonderful as fruit preserves.
My son is a different matter. He has thrown up after eating a tomato. He has nearly thrown up after eating a french fry that had sat next to a pickle. He has physical reactions to the smell of certain dips and sauces. He hates onions. As he has aged, he has expanded his food circles, now eating and loving barbecue (chicken and ribs as well as brisket), most pasta sauces, including tomato ones. His new achievement, chicken Alfredo. I made him some of my homemade sauce a week or so ago and after some angry sighs from me, he gave in and tried it. His face was priceless.
The other night, we ventured to the Olive Garden for dinner where Dylan once again had fettuccine Alfredo. There are better Italian places in Salt Lake and we frequent those often, but I have a soft spot for the breadsticks and soup the Olive Garden serves (plus I have great memories of eating there with people who mean a great deal to me). I am not snobbish enough (really) to get uptight about the whole chain restaurant thing. If the food is decent and I am in the mood for it, I will eat at most places, chains or local.
The real problem with the Olive Garden, at least the one near my home, is the crowd. No matter what night, if you go after 5:30, there is a wait. The later you go, the longer the wait. I have waited on a Thursday night for over an hour for a table. I can’t explain it. This time we went on a Tuesday at 5:45. We were able to get right in, but every table in our section was full and every table we passed on the way in was taken as well. On the way out, there lobby was full of people waiting. I know what you might be thinking. Older people, the 4:30 dinner crowd, those over 65 love their pasta and love their Olive Garden. And it is true, there were a few people in that age group, but the vast majority of the people were younger, 20 somethings or 30 somethings, most without kids, seeming to be out for the evening.
I cannot figure it out. No other chain in SLC has this type of crowd with the exception of Texas Roadhouse. But there are only two in the valley and that makes some sense. Is it just my Olive Garden? I need to have answers to this. Are they pulling a Cafe Rio and putting caffeine in the sauces? If anyone has an answer for this, I would love to hear it. I am puzzled and need some help here.
Anyway, the food was good for us, fresh and hot. I had the spaghetti with meatballs, which never disappoints. Though, it did make me crave the Gnocchi at Michelangelo’s.
I am sensing a restaurant review coming up!