I’m not a particular fan of chain restaurants – but I realize that they serve a purpose. I have even eaten in more than one – though typically in places like Honolulu, Dallas or the Cancun airport, where dining options are not on par with places like SF or NYC. So, while they may not be to my taste, I don’t bear them any particular ill-will.
Save, that is, for the Olive Garden. I just hate them so much. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten in one – though I am quite confident that the food is lousy. But that’s not why I hate them.
I can’t stand that they portray themselves as serving food that is in some way authentically Italian. They crow about their “Tuscan cooking school,” which I was shocked (shocked!) to learn is fictitious. But one need look no further than what they actually serve to know that this food is the opposite of Italian cuisine, which often relies on fresh and simple ingredients – not factory-prepared, fat-laden, reheated gut-bombs.
Their latest “specialty” is something they call “pastachettis” – cheese-encrusted, cheese-stuffed pasta, served with sausage covered in a “sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce” (whatever the fuck that is) and then topped with mozzarella. This single entree contains over 75% of the calories that an adult should eat in an entire day – and twice the fat. And don’t even get me started on the concepts of primi piatti and secondi piatti.
So, yeah, that’s all gross and annoying – but what chaps my hide the most is the pronunciation of “pastachetti.” Obviously, it’s just a made-up name (like an “enchirito” from Taco Bell) – but if they really want to stick to their ruse of “authenticity,” Olive Garden needs to at least learn the language!
As spelled, “pastachetti” should be pronounced with a hard “c”. In Italian, “ch” followed by an “e” or an “i” is pronounced like the “k” sound in English. But Olive Garden is pronouncing “ch” phonetically, following the rules of English. In Italian, a “c” followed by an “e” or an “i” is pronounced “ch” – for example, La Cenerentola, fettucini, ciao. (And as long I’m ranting, to all who order bruschetta in public, it takes a hard “c” due to the presence of the “h” after the “c” – “brooshetta” is not a thing.)
Also, to pluralize an Italian word, one adds “i” or “e” (depending on the gender of the word) – not “s”. So calling this grossness “pastachettis” is nonsensical – it is already pluralized.
Finally, the slogan, “When you’re here, you’re family” makes me hurl. Especially in extra-creepy scenarios like this one in which the mom seems to be hitting on her son…