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View Full Version : Olive Garden versus local fare?



Spitball
04-04-2011, 09:04 PM
My wife and I were in Fort Myers, Florida, the week before last. There were lots of people from the New England area visiting. Despite the fact there are lots of nice restaurants in that town, there were some people that week who ate regularly at the Olive Garden there.

Tonight, my wife is in Hot Springs, Arkansas, at a conference. There are lots of cool restaurants in that town. Yet, the crowd she is with voted to go to Olive Garden.

Now, I like Olive Garden. It is a fine place to eat...but when I'm on the road, I don't choose a national chain if I can help it. I can always eat at Olive Garden when I am at home. When on the road, I want to sample the local fare.

I like to get on the internet and see what is getting good reviews and try it out. I have experienced some great eateries in several different locals.

What do you people do when you are on the road? Olive Garden/other national chains or sample the local flavors?

reds1869
04-04-2011, 09:09 PM
Local flavor guy here, both at home and away. I avoid most national chains unless someone else insists on going.

Redhook
04-04-2011, 09:09 PM
Easy, get out of the box and sample. You never know when you'll have one of the best meals of your life. And I guarantee that you'll never think that after dining at the Olive Garden....as much as I do enjoy the place.

KronoRed
04-04-2011, 10:02 PM
Depends on the look of the local places, but I do avoid Olive Garden.

frenetic wave
04-04-2011, 10:07 PM
It's definitely a personality thing. Some folks really get antsy at the idea of anything new or unfamiliar, going to a new restaurant, going to a different movie theater than they are used to, etc etc. Olive Garden, McDonalds, KFC- they offer a bit of comfort when folks are already reeling at being in a new town/state.

My mother was that way- any unexpected changes to plans or eating out at a place she has never been made her really uncomfortable.

LoganBuck
04-04-2011, 10:12 PM
Olive Garden is ok, not a big fan of microwave "italian". I avoid chain restaurants unless, I see no "safe" options. The only time I ever walk into an Applebees is if all other options are unavailable.

Caveat Emperor
04-04-2011, 10:13 PM
Most of the time, if I'm someplace I don't know, I'll ask around (hotel front desk, friends, even just googling on the iphone) and do whatever I can to avoid eating at a chain. There are usually at least 4-5 places quality places you can find just by poking around.

Sampling local places is one of my favorite parts of traveling.

Spazzrico
04-04-2011, 10:52 PM
Olive Garden is ok, not a big fan of microwave "italian". I avoid chain restaurants unless, I see no "safe" options. The only time I ever walk into an Applebees is if all other options are unavailable.

I call them restaurants of last.

"I looked around for something cool, but I gave up and went to Chili's (Friday's, Applebees, etc...)

*Side note, I worked at both types of restaurants in HS/College. The Friday's in Kenwood (Cincy) was where I worked in particular. I'll never eat at that evil place again. One of the worst jobs I've ever had. I'm still somewhat nostalgic for the other one though.

Johnny Footstool
04-05-2011, 01:01 AM
Nothing worse that being stuck with a group of "acquaintances" for dinner.

remdog
04-05-2011, 01:21 AM
When I'm on the road I almost always eat at local restaurants. Even in places like Modesto or Bakersfield I've found some terrific restaurants. Of course, I've been on the same circuit for so many years that I've become familiar with many of the local places.

I read up on local reviews, if I have time, before I hit the road. I also belong to a program that awards either cash back or airline milage at their member restaurants. That way, if I try a new place and it's terrible (and you can get a terrible meal just about anyplace), I get something out of it. Over the years I've gotten hundreds of thousands of FF miles that have allowed me to upgrade a flight or even do something silly like flying to the Bay Area for a cheeseburger. :) National chains are very rarely part of their program however.

About the only time I eat at a national chain is if it's late and/or I'm pressed for time. The good side of national chains is that you pretty much know what you're going to get when you go in. Usually it's pretty mediocre but at least that's a known.

Rem

SunDeck
04-05-2011, 06:15 AM
Local fare, always. Olive Garden is particularly terrible, IMO.

Roy Tucker
04-05-2011, 08:03 AM
Depends.

A lot of times when I'm on the road, I'm working from early in the AM till late in the PM. Afterwards, I'm wiped out and just need food and I'll go to the closest place. And usually around office parks are your Olive Garden's, Chilis, Fridays, blah blah. Eat, drink a beer, and go back to the hotel and collapse. Up at it the next day. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But other times, when the work demands aren't quite as severe, I'll check out the local restaurants. Like many others have said, talk to the hotel folk, get online, etc etc and see what's good.

Olive Garden isn't terrible if you get the new things on the menu. When my kids were little, they loved the place so we went there a lot for birthdays, etc. Plus my m-i-l loves the place. It's not the worst but its certainly not the best and it has all the character of a cardboard cutout picture of Italy.

Roy Tucker
04-05-2011, 08:03 AM
dp

cumberlandreds
04-05-2011, 08:20 AM
Depends on the look of the local places, but I do avoid Olive Garden.

I do too. IMO they are overrated and way overpriced. I only go there when my wife insists on going.
I like to try local fare when away. As long as it looks like a decent enough place to go into. You will almost always find the food better at local places than national chains.

919191
04-05-2011, 08:27 AM
I don't like the chains/franchises, but they are about all that there is here. I don't get the constant knock on Applebee's. Yeah, I agree with what is said, but is it really any different than a TGIFridays or Chilis? I mean, why is it the targeted restaurant?

NJReds
04-05-2011, 08:32 AM
Funny that this thread would pop up. More often than not my wife and I avoid the chain restaurants, except on rare occasion where we'll stop at an Outback. We got a gift card to Olive Garden and took my in-laws (who are from Italy and are particular when it comes to eating at Italian restaurants). The food was exceptional ... perhaps because we went in w/low expectations ... but it didn't taste like a chain restaurant meal to us. We were happy with it. Maybe it depends on which one you go to. There are so many choices in my neck of the woods that if a restaurant isn't exceptional, most likely it will fail rather quickly.

bucksfan2
04-05-2011, 08:53 AM
I despise the Olive Garden. The place is always crowded, the food is average, and it is particularly pricey. Local Italian is better but I even think "chain" types like Carabas and Brio's is much better. I have never really understood why that place is always packed.

RichRed
04-05-2011, 09:05 AM
A big "no thanks" to the chains for me.

cumberlandreds
04-05-2011, 09:06 AM
I don't like the chains/franchises, but they are about all that there is here. I don't get the constant knock on Applebee's. Yeah, I agree with what is said, but is it really any different than a TGIFridays or Chilis? I mean, why is it the targeted restaurant?

The Applebees where I live is just plain bad. They have terrible service and we never eat there. Since they have been around a while and are all over I'm guessing the others aren't nearly as bad as the one in Sterling,Va.
You are right,TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesday, Chile's etc.... are all about the same restaurant. They just have different name attached.

medford
04-05-2011, 09:24 AM
I always get a kick out of the "I stay away from chain restaurants at all costs" crowd. I'd had just as many bad meals at "local" places as I have at large national or regional chains. I fully agree w/ the avoid chains and eat local idea when on vacation; why get something in florida that I can have at home any day of the week. However, when it comes to Olive Garden in this particular case, I've never had a bad salad or bowl of soup there. Most, though certainly not all, meals are above average. I'll never call The Olive Garden the greatest restaurant in the world, and if I was really, really hankering for Italian, I'll head up to a local place, Mama DiSalvo's, but I know when I hit The Olive Garden it will be reasonable priced, the food will generally be good, and the service will generally be quick.

Of course then again, when it comes to steak, I'm a food snob myself. I don't even bother to order steak at The Outback, preferring their fish instead. Seems a large national chain with stores on every block rarely does a steak right. So perhaps we just all have our own built in predjudices when it comes to the food we like, or are at least willing to eat.

minus5
04-05-2011, 09:34 AM
On vacations we consider dining at local restaurants as much a part of the vacation experience as everything else. I really enjoy that part of travel

minus5
04-05-2011, 09:35 AM
On vacations we consider dining at local restaurants as much a part of the vacation experience as everything else. I really enjoy that part of travel

westofyou
04-05-2011, 09:39 AM
Olive Garden invented an extra large seat for it's most overweight patrons, it's called "The Larry"

I never eat at chains, mostly because I'm a vegetarian and a picky eater.

But I'd choose the OG over 95% of the other corporate food mausoleums.

Raisor
04-05-2011, 09:44 AM
I like Oliver Garden. Large portions fairly cheep. It's hard to screw up spaghetti.

Spazzrico
04-05-2011, 10:20 AM
I always get a kick out of the "I stay away from chain restaurants at all costs" crowd. I'd had just as many bad meals at "local" places as I have at large national or regional chains. I fully agree w/ the avoid chains and eat local idea when on vacation; why get something in florida that I can have at home any day of the week. However, when it comes to Olive Garden in this particular case, I've never had a bad salad or bowl of soup there. Most, though certainly not all, meals are above average. I'll never call The Olive Garden the greatest restaurant in the world, and if I was really, really hankering for Italian, I'll head up to a local place, Mama DiSalvo's, but I know when I hit The Olive Garden it will be reasonable priced, the food will generally be good, and the service will generally be quick.


I think for me and many other people who are also in the crowd, it isn't necessarily the food that is bad. For example, I love me some Red Robin Banzai Burger. It is really the angst at looking at what has become of America. In many regards we've lost the sense of place that made individual towns so unique. Now unless you live in an area with a certain critical mass of people, that isn't right off of an interstate or near a shopping corridor wherever you live is just like everywhere else, and that is a shame. And when cities announce a new development project, often it is coupled with an announcement that a new famous upscale restaurant (made famous in another place) will be coming to town. As if your town will capture some of that big city magic. So for me it is about placelessness, but then again, I'm a geographer so I think about this crap a lot.

medford
04-05-2011, 10:51 AM
I think for me and many other people who are also in the crowd, it isn't necessarily the food that is bad. For example, I love me some Red Robin Banzai Burger. It is really the angst at looking at what has become of America. In many regards we've lost the sense of place that made individual towns so unique. Now unless you live in an area with a certain critical mass of people, that isn't right off of an interstate or near a shopping corridor wherever you live is just like everywhere else, and that is a shame. And when cities announce a new development project, often it is coupled with an announcement that a new famous upscale restaurant (made famous in another place) will be coming to town. As if your town will capture some of that big city magic. So for me it is about placelessness, but then again, I'm a geographer so I think about this crap a lot.

I understand that, wanting to support the local restaurant.

My guess, is that the restaurant business is so tough to succeed in, that when you get a winning formula, its easy to market it to other areas and raise the capital needed to build that restaurant. However, when it comes to the actual food, I can find something pretty good at just about any chain. As you said, Red Robin has several solid burgers that I like, I'll get the Fiesta Lime Chicken at Applebees, even though I don't I'm not a fan of most of their food, I usually find that pretty good. Max & Erma's has great Tortilla soup, Carrabbas has good steamed muscles, and so and and so forth. Chains may not always give you the best bang for your buck, but there is usually something worthwhile on their menu, something you can get there, but not many other places.

Caveat Emperor
04-05-2011, 11:11 AM
I like Oliver Garden. Large portions fairly cheep. It's hard to screw up spaghetti.

If I'm going chain Italian, I'll choose Brio/Bravo or Maggianos over Olive Garden 100 times out of 100 -- better meals at both those places IMO.

BuckeyeRed27
04-05-2011, 11:32 AM
The only chain I eat at with any sort of regularity is Cheesecake Factory. Outside of that there aren't a lot of chains in the area of LA that I live in. I have to go out of my way usually to eat at one and I'm not going to do that. I do like BW3 and one of those opened about 15 miles from here and I'll go every once in a while, but that's more because it's sort of an "Ohio-thing".

Hoosier Red
04-05-2011, 12:00 PM
I do like BW3 and one of those opened about 15 miles from here and I'll go every once in a while, but that's more because it's sort of an "Ohio-thing".

Really? Huh, didn't know that.

I'm not much of a corporate traveler, but if I were, that's where I'd see a use for eating at a sit down chain restaurant. Where I'm in a situation where I want some consistency, but also fairly cheap, and fairly easy.

As others have said, if I'm going for a vacation, I specifically want something I can only eat at that location.
If I'm home, then I want to actively search out and find the restaurants that make my hometown unique.

That said, I do like Red Robin, but I'm not a fan of Olive Garden or Chilis or Uno or Applebees.

remdog
04-05-2011, 12:02 PM
There has been a trend for a number of years now for corporate restaurant chains to specialize in huge amounts of mediocre food. Big plate of 'average food' sells big in America. It's one of the reasons why so many Americans are overweight. Personally, I'd rather have a smaller meal that tastes better than average.

The one 'chain restaurant' that I do go to sometimes is Outback---but not for their steaks. They have a nice ahi tuna as an appetizer that makes a fine 'light lunch'. If you don't have to cook it and you buy good fish, it's tough to screw it up.

Rem

SunDeck
04-05-2011, 12:06 PM
I like Oliver Garden. Large portions fairly cheep. It's hard to screw up spaghetti.

About 5,000,000 Italian mothers just bent over in pain at that remark.

What's more, I don't generally go to restaurants to eat things I can do at home. If I'm going to an Italian restaurant I want something interesting, with a fresh canoli and espresso dessert. I tried the espresso at Olive Garden- it tasted like Sanka.

BuckeyeRed27
04-05-2011, 12:09 PM
Really? Huh, didn't know that.

I'm not much of a corporate traveler, but if I were, that's where I'd see a use for eating at a sit down chain restaurant. Where I'm in a situation where I want some consistency, but also fairly cheap, and fairly easy.

As others have said, if I'm going for a vacation, I specifically want something I can only eat at that location.
If I'm home, then I want to actively search out and find the restaurants that make my hometown unique.

That said, I do like Red Robin, but I'm not a fan of Olive Garden or Chilis or Uno or Applebees.

BW3 has expanded quite a bit in the past 3-5 years, but the first one was in Columbus, Ohio and it used to be pretty hard to find them outside of the Midwest.

Kingspoint
04-05-2011, 12:32 PM
Depends on the look of the local places, but I do avoid Olive Garden.

Hear! Hear!

Kingspoint
04-05-2011, 12:40 PM
I always get a kick out of the "I stay away from chain restaurants at all costs" crowd. I'd had just as many bad meals at "local" places as I have at large national or regional chains.

And, you're more likely to find a filthy restaurant at a "local" place than at a chain restuarant. Your chances of getting food poisoning are much greater at a "local" restaurant, especially anything where "hip" people work at it.

If the way you dress is disgusting, your clothes and hair are constantly unkempt, it's more likely that your cleanliness habits at home and at work follow the same pattern.

So, for me, it's all about finding a "local" restaurant, but the staff and place must be exceptionally clean.

During my College Days' experiences of working in restaurants, it was pretty much the norm that, "the fancier the restaurant, the filthier the kitchen was". Not always the case, of course, but it was the norm.

Kingspoint
04-05-2011, 12:46 PM
If you go into a restaurant and you see a lot of elderly people in it, turn around and leave quickly. Elderly people have no taste buds, and quality of food is the last thing that's important to them. They couldn't tell you if they wanted to tell you how good something was when it came to taste.

Kingspoint
04-05-2011, 12:50 PM
There has been a trend for a number of years now for corporate restaurant chains to specialize in huge amounts of mediocre food.

That "trend" ended more than 10 years ago....really more than 20 years ago.

For a whole generation now, the "trend" has been to put a proper amount of "quality" food on a small plate. The goal is to make you feel satisfied at the end of the meal, not stuffed. Restaurants that still give you gobs of food at cheap prices cater to people who either can't taste their food (the elderly), don't care what it tastes like (fat people), or are looking to feed their kids off of the adult plates (cheap people) and want to have a "people" bag. There are plenty of Americans who fall under these categories, so some chains might still survive (buffets).

redsmetz
04-05-2011, 12:54 PM
I like to try local places. I will often check out reviews on a few websites, usually Yelp.com or Urbanspoon.com, although I just glanced now at Zagat.com too.

BuckeyeRed27
04-05-2011, 01:19 PM
I like to try local places. I will often check out reviews on a few websites, usually Yelp.com or Urbanspoon.com, although I just glanced now at Zagat.com too.

Yelp is amazing.

Red in Chicago
04-05-2011, 01:31 PM
I like Oliver Garden. Large portions fairly cheep. It's hard to screw up spaghetti.

Actually it's quite easy to mess up spaghetti, and most restaurants do by overcooking it. I loathe the Olive Garden.

remdog
04-05-2011, 01:44 PM
That "trend" ended more than 10 years ago....really more than 20 years ago.

For a whole generation now, the "trend" has been to put a proper amount of "quality" food on a small plate. The goal is to make you feel satisfied at the end of the meal, not stuffed. Restaurants that still give you gobs of food at cheap prices cater to people who either can't taste their food (the elderly), don't care what it tastes like (fat people), or are looking to feed their kids off of the adult plates (cheap people) and want to have a "people" bag. There are plenty of Americans who fall under these categories, so some chains might still survive (buffets).

Frankly, I think you are blatantly wrong. Chains like Olive Garden, Cheesecake Factory, Daily Grill, etc. have made corporate fortunes with the big plate/poor food concept---and they continue today. There's no reason for them to stop since the concept performs so well.

And what's 'elderly'? You appear to have an age bias. 'Elderly' people have fine taste buds and they are more likely experienced diners---usually having actually experienced fine dining whether in their 'home town' or around the world. They actually know what an excellent meal tastes like and can distinguish between the mundane from the magnificant.

Here in Newport Beach, the local newspaper publishes a weekly list of restaurant violations. I check it from time to time---there are always more violations at 'chain restaurants' than at stand alone sites.

Rem

LoganBuck
04-05-2011, 02:04 PM
ALL of the old people in my family and my wife's family like terribly bland food. The only spice they know how to use is salt. Then they get that taken away by high blood pressure, and they just eat the blandest, mildest, crap. They like places like Bob Evans, Country Buffet, the waffle house, and the local restaurant that goes out of business every two years. They like their meat WELL DONE!!!! I saw my wife's grandfather order prime rib well done once.

I see no refinement in that.

remdog
04-05-2011, 02:55 PM
ALL of the old people in my family and my wife's family like terribly bland food. The only spice they know how to use is salt. Then they get that taken away by high blood pressure, and they just eat the blandest, mildest, crap. They like places like Bob Evans, Country Buffet, the waffle house, and the local restaurant that goes out of business every two years. They like their meat WELL DONE!!!! I saw my wife's grandfather order prime rib well done once.

I see no refinement in that.

So what defines old people for you? Over 20? Over 40? Over 60? Frankly, most Americans are disturbingly devoid of taste when it comes to food. Age has nothing to do with that flaw. The one thing that 'older' diners have going for them over the 'younger' diners is that they have often experienced a wider variety of food and have, generally, a more knowledgable definition of what makes an outstanding meal.

My B-I-L, who is younger than me, used to order his steaks well done. One day I was grilling steaks and I informed him that I refused to cook a steak past medium-rare and if that didn't work for him then there was a MacDonalds not too far away. He said 'OK, I'll try it'. He hasn't ordered any beef more than medium-rare since, sometimes ordering rare. Even 'old dogs' learn 'new tricks' so age, to me, doesn't really make a good argument. Maybe you can educate the 'older' folks in your family. Take a shot. (shrug)

I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a burger joint and tried to order a cheeseburger, rare, only to be told that they only do burgers medium or above. At that point, I walk out. If ya' can't fill my order the way I want it then ya' ain't gettin' my money. Pretty simple. One of the reasons I like Fat Burger is because, while they are in the business of selling burgers, they are also in the business of giving the customer what they want. As the 'most interesting man in the world' might say, I don't eat fast food often but, when I do, I eat at Fat Burger'. LOL

Rem

Kingspoint
04-05-2011, 03:15 PM
Frankly, I think you are blatantly wrong. Chains like Olive Garden, Cheesecake Factory, Daily Grill, etc. have made corporate fortunes with the big plate/poor food concept---and they continue today. There's no reason for them to stop since the concept performs so well.

And what's 'elderly'? You appear to have an age bias. 'Elderly' people have fine taste buds and they are more likely experienced diners---usually having actually experienced fine dining whether in their 'home town' or around the world. They actually know what an excellent meal tastes like and can distinguish between the mundane from the magnificant.

Here in Newport Beach, the local newspaper publishes a weekly list of restaurant violations. I check it from time to time---there are always more violations at 'chain restaurants' than at stand alone sites.

Rem

It's not an opinion, it's a fact. The older you get, the less your taste buds are able to differentiate between various tastes. It's just like all the other senses. Your eye sight gets worse, your hearing gets worse, your ability to smell gets worse (which ties a lot into how something tastes), and your taste buds get worse.

The "elderly" is anyone 60 or over. (according to most restaurants, it's about 55 or over as that's when you get the "senior" discount)

That poor eating establishments like The Olive Garden are able to make money has nothing to do with whether or not they offer quality food. As I said, there's those who can't taste anything (the elderly), those who don't care because it's about volume for them (fat people), and those who want to feed their kids off of their adult plates and want a "people" bag for the leftovers (cheap people).

And, yes. The days of serving customers on "platters", and loading up the volume ended a generation ago. Ask any chef or restaurant owner that's started up their business in the last 10-15 years, and he/she will tell you this.

Sweetstop
04-05-2011, 03:15 PM
circling ageism here. whoa. :)

who knew olive garden chatter might belong in the politics/religion subset..


btw, my 62 year oldlady taste buds bloom just fine, thank you very much.

RFS62
04-05-2011, 03:16 PM
Fat Burger is indeed awesome. And I love the name. Not "garden burger"... not "healty burger".... we're freakin' fatburger, and don't you forget it!

Sea Ray
04-05-2011, 03:16 PM
My B-I-L, who is younger than me, used to order his steaks well done. One day I was grilling steaks and I informed him that I refused to cook a steak past medium-rare and if that didn't work for him then there was a MacDonalds not too far away. He said 'OK, I'll try it'. He hasn't ordered any beef more than medium-rare since, sometimes ordering rare. Even 'old dogs' learn 'new tricks' so age, to me, doesn't really make a good argument. Maybe you can educate the 'older' folks in your family. Take a shot. (shrug)

Rem

Hilarious! :lol:

Just hearing that story makes me long to be invited to your next barbeque...

Kingspoint
04-05-2011, 03:21 PM
circling ageism here. whoa. :)

who knew olive garden chatter might belong in the politics/religion subset..


btw, my 62 year oldlady taste buds bloom just fine, thank you very much.

It has been reported that the elderly require a 2- to 3-fold higher concentration of salt in order to detect it in tomato soup (Stevens et al., 1991).

http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/3/331.full

oneupper
04-05-2011, 03:23 PM
As far as portions go: at american restaurants one appetizer and two entrees feeds four. Very well. Dessert is optional.
The portions are still WAY to big, especially at dinner.

Sea Ray
04-05-2011, 04:05 PM
It has been reported that the elderly require a 2- to 3-fold higher concentration of salt in order to detect it in tomato soup (Stevens et al., 1991).

http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/3/331.full

We could start a thread on the definition of elderly. That article defines it as being 59 or older...:D

Sea Ray
04-05-2011, 04:09 PM
As far as portions go: at american restaurants one appetizer and two entrees feeds four. Very well. Dessert is optional.
The portions are still WAY to big, especially at dinner.

I for one hate to leave a restaurant hungry so I like big portions. Let me decide how much I'm going to eat. And that goes for the food Nazis too. How do they know how much food I need? I'm going out for wings with buddies of mine tonight. All I've had all day is a bowl of All Bran cereal with fruit on it. I'm going to need more at dinner than the person who had a full breakfast and lunch

LoganBuck
04-05-2011, 04:15 PM
So what defines old people for you? Over 20? Over 40? Over 60? Frankly, most Americans are disturbingly devoid of taste when it comes to food. Age has nothing to do with that flaw. The one thing that 'older' diners have going for them over the 'younger' diners is that they have often experienced a wider variety of food and have, generally, a more knowledgable definition of what makes an outstanding meal.

My B-I-L, who is younger than me, used to order his steaks well done. One day I was grilling steaks and I informed him that I refused to cook a steak past medium-rare and if that didn't work for him then there was a MacDonalds not too far away. He said 'OK, I'll try it'. He hasn't ordered any beef more than medium-rare since, sometimes ordering rare. Even 'old dogs' learn 'new tricks' so age, to me, doesn't really make a good argument. Maybe you can educate the 'older' folks in your family. Take a shot. (shrug)

I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a burger joint and tried to order a cheeseburger, rare, only to be told that they only do burgers medium or above. At that point, I walk out. If ya' can't fill my order the way I want it then ya' ain't gettin' my money. Pretty simple. One of the reasons I like Fat Burger is because, while they are in the business of selling burgers, they are also in the business of giving the customer what they want. As the 'most interesting man in the world' might say, I don't eat fast food often but, when I do, I eat at Fat Burger'. LOL

Rem

70+ has been my definition of old for my entire life. I do realize now that I am a geezer. A girl that I went to high school with (age 33) is now a grandparent.

On a side note, anybody, or any restaurant, that considers any form of corn as a vegetable needs to be beaten within an inch of their life.

Another pet peeve about my wife's family, I will predict Easter dinner: Ham (not honey baked, or with any exotic cures, plain unimaginative ham), mashed potatoes with bottled gravy, corn, deviled eggs(yuck), some horrendous seven layer salad soaked in mayonnaise with sugar added for taste, several desserts. Apart from the insulin shock, not one stinking green vegetable. If we bring a green vegetable no one outside of my family eats it. These same people love the Olive Garden, Applebees, etc etc. Maybe I am a food snob, but I don't care. Step out of your shell. We don't own a fryer at home, I don't order fried food when I dine out.

As a dairy farmer, I have a supply of premium quality hamburger. I grind my own. Several years ago, the sale of hurt cattle was ceased in the USA. Therefore if I have a cow that falls and breaks a leg, I have two options: 1.Butcher her for my own consumption 2. Compost her. This happens rarely, but given the quality and the ability to produce fresh lean hand crafted hamburger, my choice is #1. Secret fact, a thin dairy cow makes the best hamburger. I never order one dining out any more. I know I have far better meat at home.

Roy Tucker
04-05-2011, 04:18 PM
It has been reported that the elderly require a 2- to 3-fold higher concentration of salt in order to detect it in tomato soup (Stevens et al., 1991).

http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/3/331.full

My 58 1/2 yr. old taste buds discern things more finely than my unrefined 18 yr. old ones ever did.

get off my lawn!!!

Sea Ray
04-05-2011, 04:23 PM
My 58 1/2 yr. old taste buds discern things more finely than my unrefined 18 yr. old ones ever did.

get off my lawn!!!

I don't know. My daughter in elementary school has much more sensitive taste buds than mine. I don't think I'd use the term discerning but that's why kids generally don't do spicy food. It's way too much for them and that's why they're such picky eaters. They can taste stuff I can't

Raisor
04-05-2011, 04:39 PM
Fat Burger is indeed awesome. And I love the name. Not "garden burger"... not "healty burger".... we're freakin' fatburger, and don't you forget it!

how are your elderly taste buds?

Raisor
04-05-2011, 04:42 PM
My B-I-L, who is younger than me, used to order his steaks well done. One day I was grilling steaks and I informed him that I refused to cook a steak past medium-rare and if that didn't work for him then there was a MacDonalds not too far away. He said 'OK, I'll try it'. He hasn't ordered any beef more than medium-rare since, sometimes ordering rare.

My wife only orders "well done". Can't talk her out of it.

Puffy
04-05-2011, 05:07 PM
As an Italian I am appalled at the words Olive Garden and quality food in the same sentence. Unless the word "ain't" is in there.

Mangia!!!

Puffy
04-05-2011, 05:07 PM
My wife only orders "well done". Can't talk her out of it.

This explains a lot.........

Raisor
04-05-2011, 05:13 PM
This explains a lot.........

shouldn't you be on a plane to pick up your mail order bride?

SunDeck
04-05-2011, 05:14 PM
I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a burger joint and tried to order a cheeseburger, rare, only to be told that they only do burgers medium or above. At that point, I walk out. If ya' can't fill my order the way I want it then ya' ain't gettin' my money. Pretty simple. One of the reasons I like Fat Burger is because, while they are in the business of selling burgers, they are also in the business of giving the customer what they want. As the 'most interesting man in the world' might say, I don't eat fast food often but, when I do, I eat at Fat Burger'. LOL

Rem

Most places will not allow their cooks to sell a burger that's not cooked through. The CDC says hamburger must be cooked to an internal temp of 160 in order to kill E. Coli bacteria. Why hamburger and not steak? Because e. Coli lives on the outside of beef, but once you grind it up then it's throughout the meat. So, at many burger joints they only cook them through and through. Like little slabs of asphalt shingles- it's killed the hamburger, unfortunately.

Caveat Emperor
04-05-2011, 05:18 PM
I for one hate to leave a restaurant hungry so I like big portions. Let me decide how much I'm going to eat. And that goes for the food Nazis too. How do they know how much food I need? I'm going out for wings with buddies of mine tonight. All I've had all day is a bowl of All Bran cereal with fruit on it. I'm going to need more at dinner than the person who had a full breakfast and lunch

This. Additionally, since there is only one portion size on the menu of most places, it's important that it cater to anyone who might order -- be it my best female friend (5'2") or me (6'10").

On the subject of meat -- many restaurants only cook above medium to avoid liability for someone getting sick from undercooked food. This is fine by me, because I prefer my steaks done medium. I like the entire dish to be at least warm in the middle.

Sea Ray
04-05-2011, 05:23 PM
As a patron I expect the restaurant not to give me meat infected with E Coli to begin with. My guess is Loganbuck is confident in his meat

SunDeck
04-05-2011, 05:32 PM
As a patron I expect the restaurant not to give me meat infected with E Coli to begin with. My guess is Loganbuck is confident in his meat

Then you need to stop eating ground beef in restaurants.

757690
04-05-2011, 05:42 PM
Actually it's quite easy to mess up spaghetti, and most restaurants do by overcooking it. I loathe the Olive Garden.

Actually, most people only know ruined, overcooked pasta with way too much sauce, so Raisor is kinda right. It's hard to ruin it, since it now is ruined by definition.

Kingspoint
04-05-2011, 06:35 PM
70+ has been my definition of old for my entire life. I do realize now that I am a geezer. A girl that I went to high school with (age 33) is now a grandparent.

On a side note, anybody, or any restaurant, that considers any form of corn as a vegetable needs to be beaten within an inch of their life.

Another pet peeve about my wife's family, I will predict Easter dinner: Ham (not honey baked, or with any exotic cures, plain unimaginative ham), mashed potatoes with bottled gravy, corn, deviled eggs(yuck), some horrendous seven layer salad soaked in mayonnaise with sugar added for taste, several desserts. Apart from the insulin shock, not one stinking green vegetable. If we bring a green vegetable no one outside of my family eats it. These same people love the Olive Garden, Applebees, etc etc. Maybe I am a food snob, but I don't care. Step out of your shell. We don't own a fryer at home, I don't order fried food when I dine out.

As a dairy farmer, I have a supply of premium quality hamburger. I grind my own. Several years ago, the sale of hurt cattle was ceased in the USA. Therefore if I have a cow that falls and breaks a leg, I have two options: 1.Butcher her for my own consumption 2. Compost her. This happens rarely, but given the quality and the ability to produce fresh lean hand crafted hamburger, my choice is #1. Secret fact, a thin dairy cow makes the best hamburger. I never order one dining out any more. I know I have far better meat at home.

That was a great post.

And, I know these dairy prices have killed you the last two years. Good luck to you the rest of the year.

Kingspoint
04-05-2011, 06:36 PM
My 58 1/2 yr. old taste buds discern things more finely than my unrefined 18 yr. old ones ever did.

get off my lawn!!!

Tell it to God, not me. I'm not in control of everyone's fading senses.

GAC
04-05-2011, 06:40 PM
Depends on the look of the local places, but I do avoid Olive Garden.

That's because it doesn't have a drive-thru window! :mooner:

GAC
04-05-2011, 06:48 PM
Around here that's.....

http://www.justeray.com/Road%20Trip/Day%2019/BobEvans.jpg

GAC
04-05-2011, 06:50 PM
As a dairy farmer, I have a supply of premium quality hamburger. I grind my own. Several years ago, the sale of hurt cattle was ceased in the USA. Therefore if I have a cow that falls and breaks a leg, I have two options: 1.Butcher her for my own consumption 2. Compost her. This happens rarely, but given the quality and the ability to produce fresh lean hand crafted hamburger, my choice is #1. Secret fact, a thin dairy cow makes the best hamburger. I never order one dining out any more. I know I have far better meat at home.

I don't live that far from you. So anytime you want to sell any of that meat let me know. ;)

remdog
04-05-2011, 08:13 PM
Hilarious! :lol:

Just hearing that story makes me long to be invited to your next barbeque...

Sounds good. I've got a couple of ribeyes (bone in, of course), a spring artichoke and a ceasar salad. You bring the beer. Can you get here in an hour? ;)

Rem

remdog
04-05-2011, 08:19 PM
Most places will not allow their cooks to sell a burger that's not cooked through. The CDC says hamburger must be cooked to an internal temp of 160 in order to kill E. Coli bacteria. Why hamburger and not steak? Because e. Coli lives on the outside of beef, but once you grind it up then it's throughout the meat. So, at many burger joints they only cook them through and through. Like little slabs of asphalt shingles- it's killed the hamburger, unfortunately.

I'm well aware of why some restaurants follow that policy (liability issues) but, personally, that doesn't suit me so, if they can't cook something the way I want it, I walk. Plain and simple and has never let me down yet (except for an occassional badly cooked burger).

Rem

remdog
04-05-2011, 08:21 PM
As a patron I expect the restaurant not to give me meat infected with E Coli to begin with. My guess is Loganbuck is confident in his meat

+1

Rem

TheNext44
04-05-2011, 08:44 PM
Due to doctor's orders, I am not allowed to eat any uncooked meat, and that includes steaks or burgers cooked medium rare or less. For me that means I had to give up red meat. :(

frenetic wave
04-05-2011, 09:14 PM
Health wise, nothing is "bad" to eat if you eat it once a week or every other week. The problem, more than that one plate's food or its nutrition, is everything else that goes into our mouths. When we eat at Applebees 4-5 meals a week, McDonalds 4-5 meals a week, then on our off day we try the fried chicken and mashed potatoes at the local chicken n' pasta restaurant (not to mention that most people drink soda/juice at every meal and never drink water) then each of those individual meals starts to look more sinister to our health. It's about moderation and swapping some of those fast food meals for things that look green, are cooked by you, and don't come freeze wrapped in a box. Eat healthy and once a week or so you can go get yourself into a food coma at the local Olive Garden and no one will be able to knock you or your unalienable buffet rights.

remdog
04-05-2011, 09:17 PM
It's not an opinion, it's a fact. The older you get, the less your taste buds are able to differentiate between various tastes. It's just like all the other senses. Your eye sight gets worse, your hearing gets worse, your ability to smell gets worse (which ties a lot into how something tastes), and your taste buds get worse.

The "elderly" is anyone 60 or over. (according to most restaurants, it's about 55 or over as that's when you get the "senior" discount)

That poor eating establishments like The Olive Garden are able to make money has nothing to do with whether or not they offer quality food. As I said, there's those who can't taste anything (the elderly), those who don't care because it's about volume for them (fat people), and those who want to feed their kids off of their adult plates and want a "people" bag for the leftovers (cheap people).

And, yes. The days of serving customers on "platters", and loading up the volume ended a generation ago. Ask any chef or restaurant owner that's started up their business in the last 10-15 years, and he/she will tell you this.

It's not a fact but your statement is an opinion. I'll agree that taste buds do change as we all grow older. However, many people consider it a maturation of the taste buds rather than a deterioration of the taste buds. It explains why children hate foods that they come to love as an adult.

I've been around the hospitality business for more than 20 years, first on the restaurant side, now on the hotel side where the company that I work for has, literally, more than a thousand restaurants. My comments stand and I've got plenty of chefs and restaurant managers to back it up as do industry sales figures.

Rem

Johnny Footstool
04-06-2011, 12:02 AM
Frankly, I think you are blatantly wrong. Chains like Olive Garden, Cheesecake Factory, Daily Grill, etc. have made corporate fortunes with the big plate/poor food concept---and they continue today. There's no reason for them to stop since the concept performs so well.

And what's 'elderly'? You appear to have an age bias. 'Elderly' people have fine taste buds and they are more likely experienced diners---usually having actually experienced fine dining whether in their 'home town' or around the world. They actually know what an excellent meal tastes like and can distinguish between the mundane from the magnificant.

Here in Newport Beach, the local newspaper publishes a weekly list of restaurant violations. I check it from time to time---there are always more violations at 'chain restaurants' than at stand alone sites.

Rem

YouTube - King of the Hill - Hank's steak advice (HQ) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amKyA2PrSu4)

wolfboy
04-06-2011, 07:41 AM
Then you need to stop eating ground beef in restaurants.

I decided to stop ordering ground beef in restaurants a year or so ago.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/us/31meat.html

My parents order a side of beef from a friend. Occasionally I'll get some ground beef from them to make a burger.

Kingspoint
04-06-2011, 11:39 AM
It's not a fact but your statement is an opinion. I'll agree that taste buds do change as we all grow older. However, many people consider it a maturation of the taste buds rather than a deterioration of the taste buds. It explains why children hate foods that they come to love as an adult.

I've been around the hospitality business for more than 20 years, first on the restaurant side, now on the hotel side where the company that I work for has, literally, more than a thousand restaurants. My comments stand and I've got plenty of chefs and restaurant managers to back it up as do industry sales figures.

Rem

To claim that people's taste buds don't deteriorate as they grow older is the same as claiming that people's eyesight and hearing don't deteriorate as they grow older. It's simply nonsense on your part, and nothing you can say changes the fact that people's senses deteriorate as they grow older. To do so, is just being combative for combative sakes, like saying, "The Sun rises in the East" is an opinion. I gave you one link from the Oxford Journal of Medicine with a complete study, even though it's unnecessary. Look up the rest yourself, but don't be so combative to say that's it's an opinion on my part.

And, your 20 years of experience in the hotel industry, whatever that means, also doesn't change the fact that restaurants for a generation (in the United States) now have moved away from "volume feeding like pigs to a trough", to high quality food in "moderate" amounts on smaller plates.

I pointed out why there are still some places who cater to the '70's version of restaurant feeding (the elderly, the fat people and the cheap people still have enough income to make bland-tasting, volume meals a concept that works) and are able to make a profit still, and how some of those places are chains like Olive Garden. But, it's not the norm, it's the exception.

Redsfaithful
04-06-2011, 06:00 PM
What's an example of a chain that doesn't have huge portions? It's the norm for chain restaurants from what I've seen.

westofyou
04-06-2011, 06:02 PM
What's an example of a chain that doesn't have huge portions? It's the norm for chain restaurants from what I've seen.

White Castle and Krystal?

http://www.sauceforthoughts.dreamhosters.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/whitecastle.jpg

frenetic wave
04-06-2011, 06:04 PM
More chains are starting to offer healthier options, portions, calorie information printed in their menus, and healthier substitutions. There are still the normal huge portioned plates that can feed 3 people for those that want them but previously those were all that were on the menu.

Caveat Emperor
04-07-2011, 08:31 AM
White Castle and Krystal?

http://www.sauceforthoughts.dreamhosters.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/whitecastle.jpg

Yeah, but nobody eats just 1.

redhawkfish
04-07-2011, 12:02 PM
I had to post this here. My daughter's 8th grade confirmation mass is this Sunday afternoon. I gave her choice of any restaurant after the service, and of course she chose Olive Garden!:D

KittyDuran
04-07-2011, 10:22 PM
I don't have a problem with Olive Garden, and never a had a bad meal there. Before going on vacation I purchase various gift cards of chain restaurants mostly for the road trip going to and from.

As far as local fare is considered, I try to sample when on vacation - been lucky with finding pretty good Italian and breakfast/brunch restaurants. Unfortunately, if it's a signature dish of a city/region or very popular with the locals then it hard to get in ... like The Broken Egg in Sarasota, so it sometimes means going to a chain just to get served in a reasonable amount of time. Also, I found the some chains tend to be more flexible than local when you would like to omit an ingredient (not a true vegetarian since I eat fish and animal by-products) such as meat from a dish.

Kingspoint
04-18-2011, 08:01 PM
Local fare, always. Olive Garden is particularly terrible, IMO.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110418/wl_time/httpnewsfeedtimecom20110415whatactuallygoesonatoli vegardensculinaryinstituteintuscanyxidrssfullworld yahoo

An anonymous poster on Reddit claims that she has been a manager for the popular Italian restaurant chain, and that the "cooking school" where chefs allegedly go to learn the secrets of of mastering Italian food isn't quite as advertised.

She writes that Olive Garden does not own the place and that, when she went there in 2007, they just booked the whole rustic hotel for the Olive Garden management and chefs. The visitors "could use the restaurant (closed to the public-again off season) as a classroom for maybe an hour here or there and talk about spices or fresh produce for a minute before going sightseeing all day," she wrote. "The only time we saw the 'chef" was when she made a bolognese sauce while taking pictures with each of us to send to our local newspapers."

Kingspoint
04-18-2011, 08:03 PM
I love the last sentence from the article:

NewsFeed can't really take one side or another, but honestly: If you thought unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks was authentic Italian cuisine, then maybe it's time to step out of your culinary comfort zone.

Kingspoint
04-18-2011, 08:06 PM
What's an example of a chain that doesn't have huge portions? It's the norm for chain restaurants from what I've seen.

Even the "Big" Mac is half to two-thirds the size it used to be.

And, fortunately, there are fewer and fewer chains every year and more and more one-of-a-kind places.

There are more Hilton Restaurants than I can think of, and I doubt if any of them have large-portioned servings.

IslandRed
04-18-2011, 08:37 PM
NewsFeed can't really take one side or another, but honestly: If you thought unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks was authentic Italian cuisine, then maybe it's time to step out of your culinary comfort zone.

A contrarian view...

My wife has been to culinary school, worked in the pastry shop/bakery at a Ritz-Carlton, and when she carries a container into our kids' school, every teacher and office worker wants to know what great thing she made this time. And she loves Olive Garden. It's not because she's an idiot that doesn't know soup, salad and breadsticks isn't an authentic Italian meal. It's because she loves soup, salad and breadsticks, along with a few other specific dishes on their menu she thinks they do well. She knows their lasagna isn't the best in the world. Hers is much better. :luvu:

By the way, have I mentioned that I weigh more than I used to?

On the subject of chains in general -- it just kind of depends. There are "natural" chains, that grow out of the popularity of an original location, and chains that were born in corporate boardrooms. The natural chains are often better, *if* they can survive that leap when they start changing how they do things in the name of efficiencies of scale.

Kingspoint
04-18-2011, 08:42 PM
On the subject of chains in general -- it just kind of depends. There are "natural" chains, that grow out of the popularity of an original location, and chains that were born in corporate boardrooms. The natural chains are often better, *if* they can survive that leap when they start changing how they do things in the name of efficiencies of scale.

Totally agree.

Kingspoint
04-18-2011, 08:43 PM
By the way, have I mentioned that I weigh more than I used to?



One of the greatest perks in life....a spouse who can cook great (which includes keeping it simple and not making a mess).

Redsfaithful
04-18-2011, 11:52 PM
Even the "Big" Mac is half to two-thirds the size it used to be.

Didn't know that. I do know it seems like every time I got to Wendy's a medium drink gets bigger and bigger. A medium there definitely used to be a large. Same deal with the fries.

We try to avoid sit down chains, but when we go I can never finish my food. But it might have been even worse 20 years ago, I dunno, I'm only 29.

Kingspoint
04-19-2011, 04:30 AM
Didn't know that. I do know it seems like every time I got to Wendy's a medium drink gets bigger and bigger. A medium there definitely used to be a large. Same deal with the fries.


I quit fries about 20 years ago, and I know what you mean about drinks. "I don't want a Super Drink. I don't want a Large Drink. I don't want a Medium Drink. And, I don't want to pay two bucks for a small drink. Give me that size right there [pointing to what used to be a large drink 30 years ago, which is now the small...but I usually carry around several cans of soda water wherever I go, as it's my drink of choice (no sodium ones)]"

Last week I went to a Red Robin for only about the second time (it's the closest restaurant to my house, but I won't go to it) in the last eight years, and I told them to not give me any fries. I then wondered what I was doing there (was with my girlfriend). I ordered French Onion soup and it was gross. They had put so much bread in it that there wasn't any stock left after it was absorbed. There was so much mozzarella on the top that it was a mass of sticky goo that looked like a polar ice cap. It'd been so long since I had been in, there were about 1/4 of the hamburger choices that were available the last time I was there. And, of course, I didn't even bother to ask for it medium rare as I know I couldn't get it and didn't order a burger. I ordered a Caesar salad that had so much Caesar dressing on it that it was all stuck together in a paste. The lettuce was good and fresh and would have been alright if they had put half the amount of dressing on. Besides, I can't go into any of those kinds of places without thinking of Jennifer Aniston in "Office Space". "Yeah. You know what, yeah, I do. I do want to express myself, okay. And I don't need 37 pieces of flair to do it. (enter sign language)"

frenetic wave
04-19-2011, 06:26 AM
Haha. Great post. Imagine the agony and trauma if you went to Red Robin every 3 years instead of every 4.

I also love that instead of asking for no fries, you TOLD them :laugh:

My favorite part of your post though was that the actual problems with the real food weren't enough for you, so in your mind you created an imaginary scenario where they ruined your imaginary hamburger. Too funny. :laugh:

LoganBuck
04-19-2011, 08:14 AM
Didn't know that. I do know it seems like every time I got to Wendy's a medium drink gets bigger and bigger. A medium there definitely used to be a large. Same deal with the fries.

We try to avoid sit down chains, but when we go I can never finish my food. But it might have been even worse 20 years ago, I dunno, I'm only 29.

Wendy's might be making their drinks bigger, I don't know. I do know that they have been making their sandwiches smaller and smaller. Which I find annoying. So because the sandwiches are getting smaller, people load up on fries and drinks for 49 cents more. Out goes the protein, in goes empty carbs and sugars.

cumberlandreds
04-19-2011, 08:52 AM
Wendy's might be making their drinks bigger, I don't know. I do know that they have been making their sandwiches smaller and smaller. Which I find annoying. So because the sandwiches are getting smaller, people load up on fries and drinks for 49 cents more. Out goes the protein, in goes empty carbs and sugars.

Totally agree on Wendys. I can remember going there in the late 70's and 80's and getting thick, juicy hamburgers. I usually got the double. They were really good. Now they are paper thin and much like McDonalds regular hamburger. Basically pure crap. I won't eat there anymore. My wife sometimes gets something there and I tell her it ain't like it used to be.

For some reason all the restaurants where I live,Sterling Va, are going out of business. Last week I was going to go to Ruby Tuesdays and they had shut down. Name off the building and totally dark. In the last few months it along with TGI Fridays and Teds Montana Grill have all bit the dust. I assume its the sign of the economy just not getting better.

Roy Tucker
04-19-2011, 11:13 AM
For some reason all the restaurants where I live,Sterling Va, are going out of business. Last week I was going to go to Ruby Tuesdays and they had shut down. Name off the building and totally dark. In the last few months it along with TGI Fridays and Teds Montana Grill have all bit the dust. I assume its the sign of the economy just not getting better.

There are many of these kinds of places (TGI Fridays, Applebees, Ruby Tuesday's, Chilis, etc etc) that used to be a decent place to go to. Maybe not ultimate event kind of place, but on a child's birthday or a random Friday night, we could take them there and the kids could get some chicken fingers, Mom was happy with her dinner salad, Dad could get a decent burger and a cold beer, and we'd all walk out happy.

But for the most part, those days are gone and I think their quality has gone waaaay downhill. After about the 10th time after I felt ripped off when I walked out of the place because the menu, food, service, etc etc was lousy, I said "enough". They've coasted too long on name recognition and that doesn't work with me any more. We have a buttload of franchise type places around us that I flat-out refuse to go to any more.

Sea Ray
04-19-2011, 11:16 AM
They've coasted too long on name recognition and that doesn't work with me any more. We have a buttload of franchise type places around us that I flat-out refuse to go to any more.

It's a shame that out in the 'Burbs that we don't have more Ma and Pa choices. We're overrun with chains and family run places like Guenther's in West Chester are few and far between. If you truly refuse to go then you'll likely have to do some driving

RBA
04-19-2011, 12:04 PM
The best Italian Food I have ever had was on a Ferry from Athens to Venice.

LoganBuck
04-19-2011, 12:22 PM
The best Italian Food I have ever had was on a Ferry from Athens to Venice.

They don't call it Italian food they just call it food.:D

fearofpopvol1
04-19-2011, 03:12 PM
Eating at Olive Garden would be a sin here in NYC with all the fantastic choices here.

westofyou
04-19-2011, 03:14 PM
Eating at Olive Garden would be a sin here in NYC with all the fantastic choices here.

Worst pizza I have ever had was in Northern New Jersey, as well as the worst calzone.

Alas all is not perfect in Italian cusine on the eastern seaboard always.

RBA
04-19-2011, 03:57 PM
Worst pizza I have ever had was in Northern New Jersey, as well as the worst calzone.

Alas all is not perfect in Italian cusine on the eastern seaboard always.

Agreed. I have had bad Mexican food, all over the southwest.

Reds
04-19-2011, 04:25 PM
This OG is okay for a chain.. but here there's always a line and the food is so bad for you - but if there's no line and lunch is in order it's not the worst option.

Reds
04-19-2011, 04:34 PM
DP

Sea Ray
04-19-2011, 04:58 PM
You get what you pay for and I can't complain about the Olive Garden

Yachtzee
04-19-2011, 06:42 PM
Worst pizza I have ever had was in Northern New Jersey, as well as the worst calzone.

Alas all is not perfect in Italian cusine on the eastern seaboard always.

The worst pizza and the best Italian meal I've ever had were both in Venice, about 6 hours apart.

cincinnati chili
04-19-2011, 11:55 PM
The best Italian Food I have ever had was on a Ferry from Athens to Venice.

Ferry? Isn't that something like 1200 miles. That's cruise ship distance.

As far as chain restaurants go, we tend to avoid them, but I like PF Changs/Pei Wei. We also still have an Old Spaghetti Factory in Denver, and going there reminds me of the one I went to in Cincy as a kid.

Kingspoint
04-20-2011, 02:48 AM
Ferry? Isn't that something like 1200 miles. That's cruise ship distance.

As far as chain restaurants go, we tend to avoid them, but I like PF Changs/Pei Wei. We also still have an Old Spaghetti Factory in Denver, and going there reminds me of the one I went to in Cincy as a kid.

I do like the Spaghetti Factory. The Italian Sausage is excellent as is the Minestrone Soup. It's the same every time I get it whether it was 1995 in Cincinnati, 1980 in Portland, 1985 in Tacoma, 2000 in Salem, or 2012 in John's Landing. Don't care for their other sauces, as I tried them all, from the clam sauce to the mizithra. And, the buildings are always gorgeous. I probably ate at the Cincinnati one five or six times the 10 days I was visiting. (Could walk to it from the Hyatt, where I stayed).

Have had some nice Bratwurst with cold sauerkraut and Beaver Brand spicy mustard (from a company in Mt. Angel, Oregon where they have an annual Oktoberfest, as it was always a German community) the last few weekends as I've been stopping at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival on the way towards doing other things.

http://www.ropesausage.com/processing.htm

http://www.woodenshoe.com/

bucksfan2
04-20-2011, 11:38 AM
I do like the Spaghetti Factory. The Italian Sausage is excellent as is the Minestrone Soup. It's the same every time I get it whether it was 1995 in Cincinnati, 1980 in Portland, 1985 in Tacoma, 2000 in Salem, or 2012 in John's Landing. Don't care for their other sauces, as I tried them all, from the clam sauce to the mizithra. And, the buildings are always gorgeous. I probably ate at the Cincinnati one five or six times the 10 days I was visiting. (Could walk to it from the Hyatt, where I stayed).

I am a big fan of Calm Chowder. I had the best cup of clam chowder at a Spaghetti Factory. Kinda ironic if you ask me.

The best Italian I had was in an Italian village called Monterosso al Mare. It was some kind of sea food pasta combo that we sat overlooking the sea. It may have been the view along with the beers, wine, and champagne.

I have found that even the Italian restaurants that call themselves "authentic" are a far cry from the actual food served in Italy. Most of the food Italian food is more American than it is Italian.

medford
04-20-2011, 11:53 AM
I am a big fan of Calm Chowder. I had the best cup of clam chowder at a Spaghetti Factory. Kinda ironic if you ask me.


You think that's ironic? The best Tex-Mex food I've ever eaten was in Bordauex, France. Little hole in the wall we stumbled across w/ excellant, excellant food.

WVRed
04-20-2011, 12:16 PM
The Olive Garden here is ok. I actually have a friend of mine from college who worked there and upon graduation got into management there and is now in Huntington.

That being said, there are only three italian restaurants I would consider in the Parkersburg area, and they are all pricey:

Paolo's just opened in Vienna. It's not bad.

Da Vinci's in Williamstown. The rumor I have heard is that they use Stouffer's lasagna and pass it off as their own. Spaghetti Mona Lisa is good though.

Spagna's in Marietta. Never ate there, but my fiancee liked it.

I'd like to try a Romano's Macaroni Grill or a Carabba's. or even Maggiano's Little Italy.

RichRed
04-20-2011, 12:38 PM
As far as chain restaurants go, we tend to avoid them, but I like PF Changs/Pei Wei.

Now PF Chang's is a chain I can get behind. I'm sure it's not authentic either but the food is quite tasty.

RBA
04-20-2011, 12:49 PM
Now PF Chang's is a chain I can get behind. I'm sure it's not authentic either but the food is quite tasty.

You can buy their food in the freezer section in most grocery stores.

Boss-Hog
04-20-2011, 01:37 PM
I'd like to try a Romano's Macaroni Grill or a Carabba's. or even Maggiano's Little Italy.

While it's a chain, which I try to avoid when I have the opportunity, I'm a big fan of Maggiano's. IMO, it doesn't have a chain "feel" to it. This post makes me hungry for my visit there next weekend. :)

bucksfan2
04-20-2011, 01:48 PM
You think that's ironic? The best Tex-Mex food I've ever eaten was in Bordauex, France. Little hole in the wall we stumbled across w/ excellant, excellant food.

Here we go on a tangent but the best Pizza I had was in Interlaken, Switzerland. We were on the outskirts of the city and walked around for about an hour before we finally settled on a place close to our hotel. The pizza was cooked in a brick oven and was the best I have ever had. I had some good Pizza in Napoli (the birthplace of pizza) but it didn't hold a candle to this restaurant.

Sea Ray
04-20-2011, 02:49 PM
It may have been the view along with the beers, wine, and champagne.



That's quite a combination. I'm in awe...:bowrofl:

Yachtzee
04-20-2011, 03:54 PM
Here we go on a tangent but the best Pizza I had was in Interlaken, Switzerland. We were on the outskirts of the city and walked around for about an hour before we finally settled on a place close to our hotel. The pizza was cooked in a brick oven and was the best I have ever had. I had some good Pizza in Napoli (the birthplace of pizza) but it didn't hold a candle to this restaurant.

The best pizza I ever had was at a place in Salzburg, Austria called Sankt Pauli Stubl. Don't try to look for it. You won't find it. There is no sign for it out front. You just have to walk along this street that runs up against the Monchsberg (small mountain in the center of the city) and find the right door. Walk up to the second floor and there's another door. When you open it, it's a bar with a connecting terrace that has a nice view of the city. The guy that ran the joint looked like Vincent Van Gogh (+1 ear) and seemed permanently ticked off. However, the pizza was awesome. My favorite was the Pizza Frutti di Mare (Seafood Pizza) and the Pizza Quattro Stagioni (4 seasons pizza).

bucksfan2
04-20-2011, 04:39 PM
That's quite a combination. I'm in awe...:bowrofl:

We were traveling with our friends and it was their anniversary that day. We started at our hotel's lemon garden overlooking the sea with champagne or prosecco if you wish. Then we went to dinner and my wife and the other couple were enjoying wine while I stuck to beer. As the night wore on and more bottles were ordered someone needed to drink the rest of the wine. So that is how you get champagne, beer, and wine. We topped the night off with beers on the city streets (because you can't do it in America) It wasn't the smartest idea because we had a pretty demanding hike the next day.

fearofpopvol1
04-20-2011, 04:44 PM
Worst pizza I have ever had was in Northern New Jersey, as well as the worst calzone.

Alas all is not perfect in Italian cusine on the eastern seaboard always.

I never said there weren't bad joints, there are. But I would put several Italian places here up against the best elsewhere. Even the places I haven't been crazy about I would say are better than Olive Garden.

dabvu2498
04-21-2011, 09:31 PM
I had Geno's East deep dish pizza this past weekend for the first time.

I thought it stunk.

Give me Richard's from Hamilton/Farfield/Trenton any day.