Once upon a time, before kids, the hubby and I used to make it a point to go out to eat at a nice restaurant once a month. Sometimes more often, when we were celebrating birthdays and special events with friends, but at the very minimum we’d have our own ‘date night’ and treat ourselves once a month.
Fast forward to after kids, and our restaurant visits were limited at best. We do make sure we still go out to celebrate milestones like birthdays and anniversaries, but our selection is limited to accommodating small-ish children.
We’ve considered ourselves lucky – Princess Nagger has always been a perfect dining out companion – not rambunctious or annoying or boisterous. Even when she was younger, we’ve been complimented on what a well-behaved child we have. Little Dude is still learning the behavior ropes, but there’s hope for the boy.
As a family, one of our favorite restaurants to go is Olive Garden:
Not only does it look cool from the outside (Princess Nagger: “It looks like we’re eating in Italy!”) but the staff at the one near us has always been stellar and entertaining for the kids.
When we take a road trip to visit friends and family, we usually set aside one night to take everyone out to dinner (we like to treat them to a dinner out as a thank you for their hospitality while we’re visiting and invading their space). Olive Garden is usually at the top of the list.
We’ll meet friends there for a late lunch or early dinner and end up spending hours talking and visiting and imbibing on the most delicious pastas and salads. We always made sure we tipped the server well, since they probably could have turned the table at least once while we were occupying it.
Princess Nagger doesn’t remember her first visit to Olive Garden, since she was just a wee thing – still in her infant seat, but she was definitely the center of attention – not only for the friends we met for dinner, but for the hostess and waitstaff who kept coming to check out the adorable Princess Nagger. They even accommodated my request for non-garlic bread sticks so I could save PN the agony of garlic breast milk. Ahem.
When I was given the opportunity to check out Olive Garden’s “Buy One, Take One” menu, I knew the kids were going to be as excited as I was, because they love mackin’ out on the infamous bread sticks while we wait for our dinner. Not to mention Little Dude was looking forward to getting his favorite ‘basghetti.
I was kicking myself for not bringing my actual camera – I figured I’d take pictures with my phone so I could instagram some of them, but apparently I didn’t have my charger plugged in all the way, so I unknowingly brought a deader-than-a-doornob phone along for the ride. Blonde Moment. But see the pics of the five different entrees above? Those are the ones that are part of the “Buy One, Take One” dealio going on right now.
The hubby ordered the Five Cheese Ziti al Forno, I got the Smoked Mozzarella Chicken (which was heavenly), Princess Nagger opted for the Fettuccine Alfredo while Little Dude of course ordered the Spaghetti with Four Cheese Meat Sauce.
Since I’m not a big fan of garlic bread (see above when I used PN as an excuse to order non-garlic bread sticks) they are always so great about putting in an order of bread sticks without the garlic. Of course bread is my undoing, and Olive Garden’s bread sticks are addicting, so I end up filling up on their delicious bread sticks and salad long before dinner arrives. Which usually means I can only eat about half of my dinner before I’m completely stuffed to the gills and need to be rolled out into the parking lot. Ahem.
Princess Nagger is a grazer, so she only finished about a third of her dinner (and loved it), happily having the rest put in a to-go box to take home and ‘graze’ on later. Little Dude has hollow legs and powered through his entire plate of spaghetti (and offered to polish off Princess Nagger’s dinner as well, but she wasn’t willing to part with it). He seemed crestfallen but got excited again when I mentioned we’ll be able to get another one to take home for dinner the next night.
For our ‘take home’ meals, Princess Nagger and Little Dude both chose the spaghetti, the hubby liked the taste of my Smoked Mozarella Chicken, so that’s what he ordered for his take home meal (and of course contemplated what various hot spices he’d be adding to it), and I decided to try the Mezzaluna Ravioli (which was also heavenly, by the way!).
Little Dude was all excited when we brought the big Olive Garden bag home with us, and kept asking if his “‘basghetti” was in there. When we got home he had a mini meltdown, because he was insisting that because we were home, it was time to eat his ‘home meal’. I had to show him that I was putting it in the fridge to save for the next day, and reassure him it would still be there in the morning before he would go upstairs to brush his teeth and get ready for bed.
I even offered to take a picture of it for him so he could see that it still looked the same in the morning:
I love their new microwave safe to-go containers – sure beats the foam ones they used to have (that you can’t put in the microwave). Eating our second dinners the next night was almost as easy as eating out at the restaurant – no dishes, since we ate them straight from the container. I was quite happy with getting not one, but two nights off from dinner and dish duty.
Seriously, the amount of great food that we got for just $12.95 was incredible. I would have been happy with the food at the restaurant for that price, but the additional take-home meal was an awesome bonus – Princess Nagger used her mad math skills and figured out each meal cost just $6.475. For the amount of food each meal contained, that is a heck of a deal. We’ll definitely be going back before this deal runs out, that’s for sure.
How would you like to experience an awesome meal that makes the whole family happy (and full) and have yummy no-muss food for the next day? This is your lucky day!
One Lucky Stacy Uncorked reader has a chance to win a $75 Olive Garden eGift Card! You read that right – you’ll have dinner on me!
I’m trying something new since some of you were having issues with Rafflecopter – quick and easy to enter my giveaway! Let’s begin…
You have until Midnight April 21, 2013 to enter. One lucky winner will be randomly selected. I will email the winner who will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email or a new winner will be chosen. Open to U.S. residents 18 years or older. Good Luck!
Note: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Olive Garden. I received a gift card to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank-you for participating. As always, all opinions are mine and not influenced by outside sources. See my Disclosure Policy here.