Yesterday, I went over to Andy’s because, well, that’s what I do a lot. Andy and I could spend all day doing nothing and have the most bizarre adventures. Once, he took me on a Muni ride just for entertainment value. Along the same lines, we decided to dine at The Olive Garden, for a variety of reasons. When attempting to think of a place to go, we decided what we really wanted was a tacky chain restaurant with crap on the walls, the kind of place that would have an onion blossom or appetizer sampler. But alas, few things along those lines actually exist in our vicinity. Andy suggested The Olive Garden (TOG), relatively close by in Stonestown. While at first reluctant to eat “Eyetalian” food, I recalled a commercial proclaiming unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks for, like, 5 bucks, and that’s what I wanted. Thus, I agreed to go to TOG, but I would have to go incognito, because, really, I would have to kill myself if someone spotted me popping into TOG at 5pm on a Friday afternoon. I threw on a scarf and sunglasses, and we were off.
In retrospect, we probably looked like a F-list movie star and her stoned, gay assistant, ducking our way into the “restaurant” and refusing to make eye contact. I expected the place to be empty. But no. TOG at Stonestown is packed on a Friday afternoon. So packed, Andy and I were relegated to the handicapped table. That was fine by me, as the handicapped table was practically hidden by a huge pillar and off in a little nook that waiters apparently forget about. Immediately upon sitting down, our waiter tried to force us to taste some shitty wine. Really, the last thing you want when dining out is a fucking sales pitch. No thanks, dude. We want iced tea. It’s at this point that I lean over to Andy and whisper, “Some hospitaliano.” This set us off. We decided that if we were waiters at TOG, we’d say things like, “Let me just put this down on your tabletaliano.”
As my unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks for 5 bucks was only available at lunch (although, 5pm is still lunch time if you ask me), I had to order these items individually. Andy, perhaps because he’s never been there, chose the Tour of Italy.
After an eternity of playing with our chairs on wheels and eavesdropping on the suburban soccer moms in the booth next to us, our salad and breadsticks arrived. At TOG, you’re provided with no bread accoutrement, be it butter or oil. I don’t know why, but I chose to find this personally offensive. I thought the deal was, when you’re here, you’re family. In my family, we get shit to put on our bread.
Andy proclaimed the breadsticks to be rock hard after 10 minutes, and as there was one remaining breadstick in the brown plastic “basket”, he decided we had to hide said breadstick so they’d bring us fresh new ones. Sometimes, I laugh at stupid things. We all do, particularly when laughing is inappropriate and scene causing. And I have never laughed harder then when Andy and I tried to hide a breadstick at TOG. Eventually, it ended up propped behind the dessert and specialty drink menu, and it became our secretaliano.
There are several items on the TOG menu deemed “unlimited.” Unlimited pasta, unlimited breadsticks, unlimited shrimp… Andy and I devised an elaborate plan to test just how unlimited these items were, envisioning how we’d hide shrimp along the baseboards and stick breadsticks in our seat cushions. Our table would be covered in eyetalian food, as we tried to hide it with our elbows and handbags, and we’d order more and more. Why? Because it’s unlimited.
The soccer moms next door were starting to bother me, especially as one constantly started every sentence to her waiter with, “You know what?”
“You know what? I’m not done with that…”
“You know what? We’re going to split the cheesecake…”
“Oh, you know what? I think I do want coffee. Yeah, I do…”
You know what? You need to shut the fuck up until you’ve expanded your vocabulary.
Andy, being the gay that he is, can’t actually function for over 15 minutes without cruising some boy. He spotted the tall, Michael Phelps-esque busboy, and started to make inappropriate breadstick references. It was time to go. We paid for our horrible food and lack of hospitaliano and prepared to leave. Andy tried to stay back, watching the table to see if his busboy boyfriend would discover the poorly hidden breadstick. But still terrified I’d be spotted in TOG and late for Hannah’s party, I dragged him away and outside. In the waiting area, I’m disturbed to report, there were probably 25 people waiting for tables.
TOG was surprisingly fun, not because the food was dreadful, the service shitty, and the ambiance lacking. Sometimes, thing are just so wrong, they’re right. Or perhaps even, rightaliano.