Olive Garden

Written by on June 20, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(olivegarden.com) – Tulalip, Washington

How I heard of this place: Many, many years ago when Olive Garden first opened in Bellingham, my parents enjoyed the restaurant and would take their young family out for special occasions or when someone had a craving for the Olive Garden salad. This particular establishment was introduced to me by my friend Leslie on a shopping excursion.

Type of cuisine: Simple Italian-inspired cuisine with American flavors.

Ambiance: Large setting made to resemble a small Italian home or restaurant. Booth and table/chair seating available throughout the large space, which is broken up into smaller spaces to give a more intimate feeling while dining. Depending on the number of people sitting around you, the family-friendly atmosphere can be loud. On this dinner trip, there were few young’uns around, which meant we could hear each other in coversation from across the table without excessive raising of voices. Friendly staff greet you at the door, holding it open, and at the counter, while seating you and during the course of your meal.

What I ordered: My sister and I joined our two Canadian friends, Vic & Bayan on a drive to the Quil Ceda Outlets and enjoyed Olive Garden’s Soup, Salad & Breadsticks ($6.95 per person). Our choice of four soups, including the Chicken & Gnocchi (a creamy soup made with roasted chicken, traditional Italian dumplings and spinach), Pasta e Fagioli (white and red beans, ground beef, tomatoes and pasta in a savory broth), Minestrone (fresh vegetables, beans and pasta in a light tomato broth — a vegetarian classic) or Zuppa Toscana (spicy sausage, russet potatoes and cavolo greens in a creamy broth), Olive Garden’s signature salad and garlic breadsticks. All with unlimited refills! My sister and I stuck with the Zuppa Toscana, our waiter’s favorite. Vic & Bayan started with the Chicken & Gnocchi and joined our team with the second helping. A small bottle of San Pellegrina, half litre ($3.30) was ordered by my sister to wash it all down.

On a return visit, Wednesday, June 22, 2011: Our friends picked up Olive Garden’s Dine & Dash and carried it over for my family to enjoy right around our dinner table. We shared a large helping of do-it-yourself salad, with croutons, cheese and dressing on the side, spaghetti with red sauce, a traditional tomato sauce seasoned with garlic and herbs, served over spaghetti, and the famous Olive Garden breadsticks. We enjoyed Sirena(sirenagelato.com) gelato for dessert in berry and chocolate flavors, as well as homemade beneigts, made my my mom! Delicious!

What I loved: I do enjoy the salad, pepperoncini and fresh grated cheese every time. The Toscana was also nice, the potatoes adding creamy texture and substance to the creamy Zuppa.

Why I loved it: I loved that we were seated quickly, that we were treated so well and kindly by all of the staff and that the food came out in a timely manner, all to our satisfaction.

Cost: Low ($7 for all-you-can-eat lunch; served until 4:00 p.m.)

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