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Olive Garden sucks...

So, I had a dinner meeting with work folks tonight and it was at Olive Garden. Prior to the dinner, I figured, "Oh, Olive Garden. I should be able to find something vegan--I'll have a salad with some pasta w/ marinara, or maybe soup and salad, etc." Um, no. The only thing that I could eat was an iceberg lettuce salad w/ balsamic vinaigrette and a couple side dishes of overcooked squash/zucchini w/ marinara sauce. Yuck  :P

Apparently, all of their pasta is made with egg and anything not pasta is meat. Even their minestrone (which is made with veggie broth) has egg-filled pasta in it.

Now, I'm home eating an actual dinner. I'm sure my co-workers think that all vegans can eat are nasty, plain, overcooked veggies. D**n Olive Garden  >:(

What a drag! Next time, recommend a REAL italian restaurant that provides fresh veggies and vegan pasta (there are lots! Just call before hand, or look online). Granted, the prices may not be as good, but you get what you pay for at Olive Garden.

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I'll always remember my intro to Lexington, KY... I moved there and was making conversation with the woman opening my bank account.  I asked if there were any good restaurants around...

"Oh well yeah, down Nicholasville Road there's an Olive Garden!"

::)  ::)  ::)  Great...

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Hey, when I was in college my mother LOVED to take me to the Little Chef on the through highway! She spent the entire week looking forward to it because they had eggs and hashbrowns at any hour of the day or night. Strewth.

Here in Spain, if the tables have formica tops...I don't go in. It's that simple.  ;)

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I used to serve at the Olive Garden in college.  Vegetarian friendly, but not so vegan friendly.  What about the salad?  The Minnestrone is good but you'd have to pick out the pasta pieces.  They also have lots of veggies in house for their pasta dishes, so it's possible they could have made you something special with the house marinara or olive oil if you asked.  If all else fails ask if the wine is vegan and then get tipsy  ;D
Note: I'm not advocating Olive Garden at all, they're definitely a cookie-cutter chain and I haven't eaten there in years.  It's funny how some people view their food as great and real Italian!  The one I worked in was really sanitary though, I must give them that.

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>:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(= olive garden

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I used to serve at the Olive Garden in college.  Vegetarian friendly, but not so vegan friendly.  What about the salad?  The Minnestrone is good but you'd have to pick out the pasta pieces.  They also have lots of veggies in house for their pasta dishes, so it's possible they could have made you something special with the house marinara or olive oil if you asked.  If all else fails ask if the wine is vegan and then get tipsy  ;D
Note: I'm not advocating Olive Garden at all, they're definitely a cookie-cutter chain and I haven't eaten there in years.  It's funny how some people view their food as great and real Italian!  The one I worked in was really sanitary though, I must give them that.

I DID ask for a veggie plate with marinara and all I got was overcooked/oil soaked zucchini and squash. And I had a salad, but seriously, I can't make a meal out of iceberg lettuce and a few tomatoes--I need more substance than that. Our waiter was awesome and was as accommodating as he could be, but I think he didn't have a whole lot to offer me. *Sigh* Apparently the Christmas party takes place at a local steak house--THAT should be fun  ::)

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Oh, and I forgot one of the worst parts:

I called ahead of time to ask if their pasta had egg in it. Well, I called about 5 or 6 different Olive Gardens around the valley and eat one gave me a different answer ("Yes, there is egg in all pasta," "There isn't egg in the whole wheat pasta but there is in the regular", "No, there is no egg at all", etc.). Just a heads up for those eating at chain restaurants checking on ingredients--CALL AROUND! Also, when I said I had an egg allergy (a lie, I know, but I wanted the truth), they always told me that "all the pasta contained egg, but the chicken, seafood, etc. didn't have egg so I could eat that"  ::)

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Blehhh olive garden grosses me out (insert grossed out emoticon here)

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I've never been there, but I just found this site that tells you what chains have vegan options!

http://www.vegetarian-restaurants.net/OtherInfo/FastFoodRest.htm

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Oh, and I forgot one of the worst parts:

I called ahead of time to ask if their pasta had egg in it. Well, I called about 5 or 6 different Olive Gardens around the valley and eat one gave me a different answer ("Yes, there is egg in all pasta," "There isn't egg in the whole wheat pasta but there is in the regular", "No, there is no egg at all", etc.). Just a heads up for those eating at chain restaurants checking on ingredients--CALL AROUND! Also, when I said I had an egg allergy (a lie, I know, but I wanted the truth), they always told me that "all the pasta contained egg, but the chicken, seafood, etc. didn't have egg so I could eat that"  ::)

I've taken my daughter (who does have an egg allergy and a dairy allergy) there a few times and I get a different answer from every person that I ask. The waitress says "I dunno", the cook says "Should be fine", the manager says "Absolutely, all pasta must have egg in it in order to cook right". WTF?? So I always just demand that they bring me the product label so I can see for myself.

For the record, the spaghetti noodles at the Olive Garden near me do not have egg in them so we get spaghetti marinara and broccoli when we go. But I'd much rather eat elsewhere.

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there was a huge thread on this before.. well actually it was about restaurants in general, but alot of time was spent talking about olive garden.  anyway, i think we found out that even their salad has eggs and cheese in it. 

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there was a huge thread on this before.. well actually it was about restaurants in general, but alot of time was spent talking about olive garden.  anyway, i think we found out that even their salad has eggs and cheese in it. 

Their "signature Italian dressing" has eggs and cheese in it (which is totally weird to me--especially the egg part). I just had them bring me the vinegar and oil bottles that people use for bread and I made my own balsamic vinaigrette. I think our waiter knew I was vegan, though, because he didn't put croutons on my salad and I didn't even ask for no croutons (forgot to ask), so that was nice. Made me think that the rest of my pathetic meal was for sure vegan.

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My friend worked at Olive Garden. All of their pasta sauces have chicken broth in them. They are not veg-friendly at all

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I've never been there, but I just found this site that tells you what chains have vegan options!

http://www.vegetarian-restaurants.net/OtherInfo/FastFoodRest.htm

beware of this site though, i have found alot of the info is outdated and wrong. plus, most chain restaurants suck and like to change their minds with the blowing wind.... grrr.  >:(

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A few months ago I looked at the thing on their website about Vegan/Vegetarian options, and they have made a slight alteration since then about the minestrone and the marinara...so maybe they've changed ways?

Which menu selections are vegetarian?
A few of our menu items can be adjusted to accommodate a vegan or vegetarian diet, but none wholly meet the criteria. Depending on your personal philosophy, we can suggest the following items as meatless, but not necessarily vegetarian or vegan:

Minestrone soup (vegetable and mushroom base; no meat protein)
Garden Salad (without dressing)
Marinara Sauce (mushroom base; no meat protein)
Capellini Pomodoro
Eggplant Parmigiana
Fettuccine Alfredo

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[?
A few of our menu items can be adjusted to accommodate a vegan or vegetarian diet, but none wholly meet the criteria.

Depending on your personal philosophy, we can suggest the following items as meatless, but not necessarily vegetarian or vegan:

no meat, but not NECESSARILY vegetarian? sounds very suspicioius to me.  ???

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A few months ago I looked at the thing on their website about Vegan/Vegetarian options, and they have made a slight alteration since then about the minestrone and the marinara...so maybe they've changed ways?

Which menu selections are vegetarian?
A few of our menu items can be adjusted to accommodate a vegan or vegetarian diet, but none wholly meet the criteria. Depending on your personal philosophy, we can suggest the following items as meatless, but not necessarily vegetarian or vegan:

Minestrone soup (vegetable and mushroom base; no meat protein)
Garden Salad (without dressing)
Marinara Sauce (mushroom base; no meat protein)
Capellini Pomodoro
Eggplant Parmigiana
Fettuccine Alfredo

Last time I went to Olive Garden I had the Capellini Pomodoro. It was good. I don't know if it's vegan for sure, but I didn't suspect dead animal in it (I didn't ask. I just looked at the menu).

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the cappelini pomodoro is just diced roma tomatoes with garlic and olive oil on pasta as far as i can remember, so as long as theres no eggs in the pasta i can't imagine where they'd be hiding the animal products.. 

but you never know unless you prepare it yourself i guess.

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It may come back to the old "but chicken *broth* doesn't have meat in it" arguement. They may not consider anything "animal" that doesn't have chunks of meat in it.

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I'm sure my co-workers think that all vegans can eat are nasty, plain, overcooked veggies.

Wonderfully profound observation!  I have often wondered if my general wretchedness in restaurants made the worst possible impression on my folks and friends... especially coupled with misinterpretations of my attempts to be polite, i.e. "that looks good!"

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