Olive Garden

Written by on July 6, 2013 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(olivegarden.com) – Bellingham, 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.

After my father’s funeral, the cousins who were present decided to honor his memory – and his favorite salad in town – with a trip to the local Olive Garden.

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. Staff continuously greet patrons: at the door and at the counter, while seating you and during the course of your meal.

What I ordered: The twenty of us dining together were eager to dig right in after an emotional and beautiful week. We began with a handful of beverages around the table.

The endless salad and breadsticks, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese also graced our table, and satiated our stomachs, prior to receiving our main entrees.

Olive Garden salad

Without getting into a full account of the entire Olive Garden menu, knowing that the family is diverse, with a plethora of preferred tastes, I will stick to the orders at our end of the table.

My husband had the Stuffed Chicken Marsala ($18.29): oven-roasted chicken breast stuffed with Italian cheeses and sun-dried tomatoes, topped with mushrooms and a creamy marsala sauce. His favorite part: it was served with garlic parmesan mashed potatoes.

Olive Garden Marsala

At the suggestion of our server, after narrowing my options down to three, I selected the Chicken Scampi ($16.79) – enough to feed a family of four! Chicken breast tenderloins sautéed with bell peppers, roasted garlic and onions in a garlic cream sauce over angel hair pasta.

Olive Garden Scampi

Two others at our end of the table selected the Venetian Apricot Chicken ($15.99) off of the Lighter Italian Fare menu. This dish of grilled chicken breasts in an apricot citrus sauce, served with broccoli, asparagus and diced tomatoes had the most reasonable portions, and still maintained the punch of flavor.

Olive Garden Apricot Chicken

On our fist visit to the Olive Garden in Kirkland, Washington, Monday, 27 October 2014 My husband and I ventured across the bridge and were unwilling to sit in traffic on the return. So instead, we headed to Olive Garden for a little meal of endless salad (for me) and pasta (for him)!

We started with the Stuffed Mushrooms ($8.95), my husband’s favorite dish of Parmesan, romano and mozzarella cheese, clams and herb breadcrumbs baked in mushroom caps.

Olive Garden Kirkland Stuffed Mushrooms

And then the glorious salad!

Olive Garden Kirkland Salad

For our main entrees, I could hardly finish even one plate of the Cavatappi pasta topped with the Five Cheese Marinara sauce ($9.99),

Olive Garden Kirkland Corkscrew with Five Cheese Marinara

while my husband enjoyed three helpings of Fettuccine, Angel Hair, and Penne pasta topped with Alfredo and endless Chicken Fritta ($3.49 additional).

Olive Garden Kirkland Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken Fritta

For dessert, I selected a tall glass of Orange-Cranberry Limonata ($3.50) to share.

Olive Garden Kirkland Cranberry-Orange Limonata

What I loved: I loved the chicken marsala; my husband always knows how to place the perfect order. But my favorite, always, is the salad. After three…maybe four bowlfuls, my main entree went home in a box.

Why I loved it: Simply: you know what you are going to get at the Olive Garden. No surprises. Always large portions with an abundance of flavor.

Cost: Average to high ($10-$19 per lunch entree; $7 for all-you-can-eat lunch, served until 4:00 p.m.)

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