The Thing About Olive Garden
Originally posted: March 19, 2013
Last week Chuck Miller threw down the gauntlet. He called out this blog by name after he went to Olive Garden for dinner… and loved it.
There are some people who reflexively hate chain restaurants. I’m not one of those. My love for Chipotle is well documented. I take the children to Taco Bell with what I consider to be an alarming frequency (in reality it’s probably about once a month). When I’m on the road I’ll drive through McDonald’s for fries or grab a brewed coffee at Starbucks.
My problem with Olive Garden has nothing to do with it being a chain, or the fact that you can opt for almost identical menu items at an array of independent locally owned and operated independent restaurants. You can read his post in its entirety, but Chuck had the seafood Alfredo and his girlfriend had the chicken parmesan.
I understand Chuck’s situation. I too occasionally enjoy a chain restaurant that is reviled by others. Except today I’m going to use this common ground to show why Olive Garden is actually worse. So let’s talk briefly about Hooters.
Stupid Easy Chocolate Syrup
Originally posted: April 1, 2012
It’s hard to untangle all the different kinds of crazy that are wrapped up in this project, but I’ll try.
I don’t know why, but for some reason chocolate syrup is a staple ingredient in the Fussy household. My guess is that it has something to do with ice cream. In general we stock the chocolate syrup of my people, Fox’s U-Bet. So, we were running low and Mrs. Fussy wanted me to pick up a new bottle.
That wasn’t going to happen. Primarily because I’m sitting on a megasized container of cocoa powder (which was regifted to me from my mother) and I had read about how easy it was to make chocolate syrup from scratch. That’s not so crazy. But also I’m trying to eliminate plastic containers from our lives.
Free Internet Smut
Originally posted: July 18, 2011
I almost threw away the free smut I found last week. But then I thought twice about that decision, pulled it out of the trash, and put it in a plain brown paper bag. After tucking the bag away, I was off to the Internet to find out more about my dirty little package. And man, you should have seen the pictures my search turned up.
In the end, I found a beautiful woman on twitter who convinced me to take the smut out of the bag, and turn it into an orgiastic delight of the senses. Now I can’t wait to do it again.
You do know I’m talking about food, right? Perhaps I should start from the beginning.
Would You Like any Cream or Sugar?
Originally posted: October 8, 2010
A long long time ago, before Raf was well versed in the world of good coffee, we were having brunch with some of my extended family in a distant suburb of San Francisco. ADS, Raf and I were relatively new transplants in the area. The bulk of our coffee knowledge came from Miami where it is served strong and sweet, and sometimes milky, from Cuban cafeterias.
Anyhow, I will never forget the exchange as Raf was offered coffee.
Mar: Do you take anything in it?
Raf: Cream and sugar.
Mar: Cream AND sugar?
[Mar pauses and looks at Raf]
Raf: [Looks back and nods]
Mar: Oh. [nervous chuckle] You’re serious.
Food Versus Restaurant Food
Originally posted: June 18, 2009
I don’t really care to go into the history of restaurants, although it is interesting. We could spend some time discussing the different grades of restaurants from “greasy spoon hole in the wall” to “palace of fine dining.” Maybe we’ll do that later.
But I have been reviewing a few of my recent posts, and some that I have on deck for the future. What I need to come clean about is an expectation I have for higher-end restaurants.
Now I do recognize that “higher-end restaurants” may be a vague term. But it is one that I believe reflects a variety of decisions a restaurant makes: from the look and feel of its menus, to its menu offerings, to the price of the dishes, to the table setting, to the dishware, to the formality and dress of its waiters, to the interior and exterior of the building, etc.
On occasion one of these elements will not be in line with all of the others, and it is as wrong as pants on a trout. For example, the beautiful restaurant with inventive seasonal menus and elegant utensils that uses paper napkins emblazoned with the name of the establishment.
In Albany there is one thing that sticks out across the board: the absence of restaurant-quality ingredients.
May has been the month for convenience foods. The CSA hasn’t started. Everyone is burned out of the staples that have gotten us through winter. I’ve been extra busy. And then there was straining that muscle in the lower back.
It got so bad that I suggested the unthinkable. Chinese take-out.
There’s something about Ichiban that just drives me batty. Really, it’s that Chinese/Japanese thing. I’m not going to order takeout Chinese from a Japanese restaurant. And while I think at its heart, Ichiban is actually a Chinese restaurant, it has a Japanese name and a sushi bar. Seriously, it makes my head want to explode.
Even though my memory isn’t what it once was, I still recalled that the Times Union wrote a very positive piece on Dragon City just a couple years ago. I figured, how bad could it be? And remember, I was desparate.
So, I took the plunge.