I couldn't remember, but checking the call log on my phone, it was Sunday the 20th of January that this sudden, entirely voluntary but morally mandatory dinner appointment took place. I had just been to Reedville Cafe the night before, for crab with friends.
Mom called as I was trying to get out of the house for church on the morning of the 20th.
My nephew Brandon was about to head off to become a trained Jarhead.
We went to the Olive Garden in Salem,Oregon, and this was what I wrote up on my phone, then forgot until just now when I came across it:
Not pornish at all!!!
Last night I went to Olive Garden, as part of a going-to-boot-camp thing for my nephew Brandon.
I chose the Beef Rib Braised in Chianti, served with Portobello Risotto and Garden Vegetables.
I did not get photos. However, if I had, the grainy, jittery camera-phone quality would have been all this mess deserved.
My mouth is still angry with me.
First, plating. On a brick-red patterned plate as large across as the steering wheel of my car, a similarly red-brown mass, with tiny brown lumps that were apparently arborio rice, hidden among them some sliced crimini (not anywhere near large enough to call portobello) and lain in a sort of band on top, a small serving of steamed french cut green beans and carrots. Spaced evenly along the edges of the mass of risotto were six or seven two-inch lumps of braised beef. In a ring around and across the risotto was the chianti sauce.
Except for the overall brown tinted with red and yellow but mostly brown color scheme, it looked ok. It smelled pretty good to a hungry diner who had waited a half-hour for them to serve their "all you can stand" salad.
However. The sauce was like a sweet and sour barbecue sauce that had no depth or character. If that sourness was due to the chianti then those grapes were sour, angry grapes, and the sweetness was not a fruity sweetness, though it smelled promising. The beef rib bits were somewhat dry and stringy, as if they wanted to be cut differently. The beef flavors weren't complemented well.
The risotto was bland. If they used parmesan in it, they got it from a green can, and that can wasn't even as good as Kraft's can. Thus, the risotto was crushed under the bad chianti sauce that had been drooled all over it. The parts which had no red sauce were ok, and the mushrooms were quite nice.
The vegetables were flavorless, the only thing differentiating carrot from string bean being the different squeak of the vegetable fiber against the teeth.
All in all my recommendation is Avoid This Entree' but that sort of goes along with "Olive Garden".