I didn’t get the most value…

This guy did:

Wow, he’s really going for it!

http://fox2now.com/2014/11/04/man-has-eaten-95-meals-at-olive-garden-in-6-weeks-using-100-pasta-pass/

He used it the “max” times of 96.  I think he wins.   He seems very proud of “getting the most value”.  But as my friend Dave just said, “I don’t know if he won.”

Exactly how much is a heart attack worth?

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coming in for a landing

Well, we’re in our final week, and I’m still not sick of the pasta.  In fact, I learned a trick last week that I wish I’d known from the start… Olive Garden is HAPPY to let me use my card for take out.  So even on those days when I didn’t have time or energy to sit down, I could have gotten a meal and taken it home.  I’ve done it twice now and it’s super easy, plus you don’t have to tip anyone.  Next time, right?

In the meantime, I’m planning on making the most of this last week… going to try to go at least once every day if possible.  I suppose I could drive and get take-out for lunch, too.

-Rick

Once, Twice, Three Times a Diner

Yes, I’ve been eating so much pasta that I’ve gotten behind in my blogging.  Due to some urging by my best friend Anna, I’ve decided to get my butt in gear and REALLY eat some pasta.  That meant trips on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week.  I’m now officially a ‘regular’ as I’ve had two different waitresses welcome me back and ask me where my giant book is.  (It’s always there, ladies… looming… like a dark thunderstorm.)

The food continues to be good and I haven’t had any strange service incidents to talk about.  In fact, last night the awesome waitress Marilyn straight up asked me at the end of the meal, “Do you want me to pack you an extra plate and some breadsticks to go?”  (Yes, she got an extra tip for that.)  I had to order a glass of wine (HAD to, mind you…) so that she could run my credit card and I could leave her a tip.  This cashless society works *most* of the time.  The paranoid in me just thinks I need to carry more cash.  If only the bank could dispense it right through my monitor.  The ATM drive through is SO inconvenient.  I actually have to put my foot on the brake, roll down the window, and sort of ‘lean’ a little.  *tiring*

Why not take a friend?

Last night I took my friend Kelly out for dinner at… of course, the O.G.  But a different O.G.  I’ve spent all my time at the Olive Garden in La Mesa, so I wanted to try out my #pastapass in a different location.  There’s only one other restaurant in San Diego and it’s not exactly close, but we considered it an adventure.

It certainly was busier than the one in La Mesa.  I guess that makes sense because it’s over by the airport and all the touristy stuff.  We were told the wait would be about 20 minutes and given one of those vibrating hockey pucks.  Thankfully the wait time was less than 10 minutes, because the entire time we sat at the bar, not one employee acknowledged our existence or took a drink order.  Based on my experience during my second visit, I’d say the staff doesn’t seem *super* well trained on how to handle things when they are really busy.  Having managed a chain cafe myself, I can say that even telling a customer “I’ll be right with you” is much better than just pretending they don’t exist.  Most people are both smart enough to see that a place is busy and kind enough to be patient when you’re overwhelmed, so long as you just extend a little courtesy in return.  (Back in Starbucks days, if I was overwhelmed and understaffed I would occasionally stand on a stool and apologize to the line of 20 people, letting them know that we were understaffed and would do our best.  People generally were much nicer after that.)

One of the reasons I was able to take Kelly with me was that I had the gift card I’d been sent as a means of apology for the terrible service on my second visit.  This enabled *me* to get something different for a change, as I used the gift card for my own meal and my pasta pass for Kelly’s.  I got the Tour of Italy, which was an old-time favorite of mine.  I never used to come close to finishing it when I was younger, but now being older and fatter I had no problem cleaning the plate, minus a little fetuccini.  The food was overall quite good, though the chicken parm was a bit overcooked.  Not badly, but it had that “deep fried” taste.

I enjoyed an Italian margarita, which from what I could tell was just a regular margarita with an add-shot of amaretto.  Kelly had a pretty good glass of red wine along with her pasta, though she barely finished a quarter of her first bowl.  As I’ve mentioned before, I think the first bowl is just too big, which means you either don’t order a second bowl (and I would say thus feel cheated because you didn’t get the “never ending” part of the deal) or you waste most of the first bowl in order to enjoy something different.  Honestly, and I’m not judging here, you’d have to be a fat bastard to be able to finish the first bowl and still enjoy a second or third bowl.  😉

We boxed Kelly’s meal up along with some breadsticks and ended up having it for lunch the next day.  Also, Mom finally got a chance to enjoy the spaghetti and meatballs I brought home to her from my last solo meal, and she was very pleased with it.  That’s good, because I don’t think I blogged about it in here, but last week I got home late after working on changes to my Christmas musical and was starving.  The only thing in the fridge was a plate of spaghetti I’d brought home the night before.  I heated it in the microwave, prepared a plate for it, and grabbed a drink.  When I pulled it out of the microwave it was steaming hot and smelled SO good… until one corner of the box sagged open and the entire meal slid out and right onto my foot/floor.  I was so hungry that if I’d been in my own apartment I’d probably have just scooped it back up onto the plate an eaten it, but my mom has a lot of dogs and doesn’t mop every day and… well, let’s just say I swore quite a bit.  Then I clean the burning hot pasta off of my foot and the floor, grabbed a bag of chips, and went to bed in a terrible mood.

Another Monday, another pasta bowl

No big news, but I made a visit on Monday, had good service, and took a bowl of spaghetti with 3 meatballs home.

The downside is that I only had a dollar cash and the waitress who gave me such good service deserved more.  With nothing charged to my card, though, I couldn’t put a tip on my card.  I’m going to save the receipt so I can leave a tip for her next time.  She’s the first person I’ve run into who actually knew how the card works.

Another plus is that I got a large amount of studying for my Redhat exam done.

Olive Garden placates my raging anger

Actually, I wasn’t that angry, but they did send me this nice gift card in response to the letter I wrote them about the poor service I had on my second visit.  I will give them credit… they are very responsive to customers.  Now I just figure out which one of my friends is getting free dinner at the O.G. …

Everyone appreciates a gift card.
It wasn’t signed, which lacks the personal touch, but I won’t look a gift(card) horse in the mouth.