I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Gaffney, South Carolina.
Greetings from Gaffney, South Carolina
N 35° 5.5099’ W 081° 39.8236’ Elev. 787 ft.
Three hundred sixty-four days ago I wrote about Olive Garden’s “Dinner Today & Dinner Tomorrow” special. At the time I thought it was probably one of the best meal deals around. It was. And it is … again.
It’s back “for a limited time” albeit under a slightly less cumbersome name. Olive Garden is calling it “Buy One, Take One” this year, but it’s still at the same bargain basement price of $12.99 ($18.99 in New York City).
“Buy One, Take One” costs more in NYC because some poor bastard has to drag all the necessary crap in a big-assed truck into the unforgiving city at some bleary-eyed hour just so New Yorkers can have their “stuff.” New Yorkers love their “stuff.” But does the average New Yorker ever consider a most basic fact of city life — If they bought it a truck brought it? Noooooooooooo. But I digress.
Olive Garden’s “Buy One, Take One” special is a crazy amount of really great food; I get three-to-four meals out of it. The deal is two entrées: One that you eat in the restaurant, the other you get to-go. It comes with your choice of OG’s signature all-you-can-eat soup or salad, and breadsticks. (Just in case you hadn’t noticed, the breadsticks are a commercial product, exactly the same ones you’ll get at Fazoli’s.)
Last year I got a Chicken & Potato Florentine soup that was nothing short of spectacular. For some reason they’re not offering it this year. I thought this was kind of baffling as I thought it was a real keeper. This year I got salad because they give you so much, and you get to take whatever’s left on your table, that you end up with a salad for later.
For the entrées last year I got the Mezzaluna Ravioli with Five Cheese Marinara to eat in and Lasagna Rollatini with Meat Sauce to-go. They’re not offering the Lasagna Rollatini this year, which is no great loss. Thankfully they’re offering the Mezzaluna Ravioli again. This stuff is really great. Why it isn’t a regular menu item is beyond me, but they only seem to offer it for this special. Curiously, they have everything to make it all the time as they use all of the ingredients in regular-menu dishes, according to my server. Go figure.
This time I got a new offering, Smoked Mozzarella Chicken, to eat in and take out. I can’t say enough good things about this entrée. It’s a grilled chicken breast filet cut into five or six pieces, served atop rigatoni, with red bell pepper, soft bacon bits, and OG’s five-cheese marinara. This dish is, in a word, heavenly. And it’s great cold!
I’ve been to the Gaffney Olive Garden twice in as many weeks. I learned a fun fact on the first visit: You can wine taste there for 25¢ a pop, with all the proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity. Although this was the first time it was ever offered to me at any Olive Garden, I suspect the Wine Tasting for Habitat is a chain-wide deal.
I like Olive Garden. I’ve never had a bad experience with them and the staff has always been nothing short of exemplary from start to finish. That said, I do have a complaint. Ah, I always bitch about a noticeable lack of land-yacht parking ….
And so we roll.
Olive Garden, nationwide
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.