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Marilyn Hagerty Is Back, Y'all
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Everyone's favorite grandmother of the food world is back; Marilyn Hagerty has released a re-review of the Olive Garden that made her famous, won her a book deal, and a trip to New York. We're super jealous, but she's lovely so she wins.
Hagerty revisited the Grand Forks Olive Garden and revamped her genuine review one year later (the original review, seen here, was published March 7, 2012). A couple of things have changed, notably, "No longer a novelty in Grand Forks, the Olive Garden has settled in," Hagerty writes.
But what else has she noticed? Let's do a compare and contrast.
On Olive Garden's lunch special:
2012: "There’s a homemade soup, salad and breadstick lunch available until 4 p.m. daily for $6.95."
2013: "Lunch, and specifically the soup and salad, are one of the big draws. Last week, I chose minestrone soup made with fresh vegetables, beans and pasta in a tomato broth. It was preceded to the table by a generous bowl of crisp salad with a sharp tasting dressing. And there were warm breadsticks, freshly baked off, in a basket.... All of this for $5.50 is a very good buy. It’s a good buy even at $6.95, which you pay if you get refills."
On Olive Garden's salad:
2012: "She first brought me the familiar Olive Garden salad bowl with crisp greens, peppers, onion rings and yes — several black olives. Along with it came a plate with two long, warm breadsticks."
2013: "Pluses and minuses: The food is predictable, down to the four or five black olives you find in the salad bowl."
On Olive Garden's pasta:
2012: "The chicken Alfredo ($10.95) was warm and comforting on a cold day. The portion was generous. My server was ready with Parmesan cheese."
2013: "The seafood was there [in the penne di mare], but a little hard to find. There was more pasta than I could eat."
Overall, it's a pretty solid review, as Hagerty even tries the dessert, a chocolate mousse cake she deems "excellent. Not too sweet. Not too rich and topped with a thin layer of chocolate frosting." We're prepping ourselves for her book, out this summer.
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