Preview Marilyn Hagerty's New Book

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America's favorite sweetheart Marilyn Hagerty, of Olive Garden review fame, is dropping her new book Aug. 27, with Hagerty wrapping up 128 reviews that promise to create "a fascinating picture of dining in America, a gradual, cumulative overview of how we got from there... to here," Anthony Bourdain promises in the foreward.

Hagerty, the critic of the Grand Forks Herald since 1957, had a good 15 minutes (or more) of fame last year after a decidedly earnest Olive Garden review went viral. The ensuing media circus included a trip to New York, a spot on Anderson Cooper's talk show, a meal at Le Bernardin, and then, a book deal with Anthony Bourdain's new imprint with Ecco Books. 

The book, Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews, begins with a foreward from Bourdain, starts with reviews from 1987 until 2012, spanning everything from humble diners and local joints to big chains like Red Lobster and Taco Bell.

Some notables? A review of the first Taco Bell in town ("a cool pastel oasis on a hot day") ends dryly with the director of franchise operations talking about "real sour cream" and the discontinuation of ranch dressing and Yellow Dye 5 (1989). A long-standing restaurant The Pantry gets a glowing review for its $3.97 blue plate lunch special (1987). Quizno's gets points for their turkey guacamole sandwich, but loses points for its "homemade soup," which Hagerty points out comes from a grocery supplier (2001).

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Olive Garden review pops up near the end of the book, followed by a glowing recap of two meals at New York's Le Bernardin. And her last review in the book turns out to be a straightforward meal at Fuji Japanese Seafood and Steakhouse, a hibachi spot in Grand Forks. Special guests include a 10-year-old Anthony Bourdain fan.

Preorder the book on Amazon, or read Bourdain's full foreward over at Eater, where he applauds Hagerty's "prehipster world where lefse, potato dumplings and alleye were far more likely to appear on a menu than pork belly." "Anyone who comes away from this work anything less than charmed by Ms. Hagerty... has a heart of stone," he writes. "This book kills snark dead."