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Jan 24, 2009 01:15 PM

Olive Garden in North Wales: Two Hounds slip the leash!!!

Chains can be fun if you go with the right company. John insisted on going there last night around six thirty-ish even though I told him it would be packed. He wanted to ditch the card tourney and feast feast feast. So we get there and it's a fifty minute wait, the bar is packed and John is starving. We head to the liquor store to browse but John gets ambushed by girl scouts and cannot resist buying the chocolate mint cookies. We get some lovely free samples of wine in a box from a nice lady and I start looking for that Coole Swan I want. The pager goes off and we congratulate our good luck and charge back to the olive garden. Turns out we went out of range. So John can't make it past the girl scouts without buying another box of mint cookies. I wanted to walk down to Fuji so we ask the girl scouts to please guard our pager. They were really nice about it and we slipped the pager leash and happily wandered around like the two hounds we are. Meanwhile John is starving, he hadn't eaten all day and he starts scarfing down the cookies. When we back to the girl scouts he drops the open box and cookies spill out right in front of them! Then he drops the box again in front of the olive garden. He tried to get me to put them in my purse but they won't fit. The parking lot is packed and we don't fee like putting them in the car, it is pretty far away. We finally get an awesome table and a friendly efficient server. That guy was busy, fast and charming. I was in awe. I got the chicken scampi and John got four cheese ravioli. We both got salads but then John decides to order two appetizers, a chicken with dumpling soup and some kind of melty cheese thing with little pieces of bread. I got the most godawful strawberry margarita, I don't know what I was thinking when I ordered it. I could feel my teeth decaying with every sip. It was sickly sweet. Reading chowhound might have saved us some bad tummy troubles. There was a lot of melted cheese and we had big glasses of ice water and we were thirsty. I read here that ice water and lots of melted cheese do bad things to you so I warned John off the water. Luckily we had wine. John and I shared tastes and everything was very good. As a joke John orders me another awful strawberry margarita and himself a mudslide like concoction. After he tried the mudslide he switched drinks with me. He actually liked that margarita. As we left, (you knew this was coming) John dropped the open box of girl scout cookies he had discretely slipped under his jacket. The cookies fall on the floor and maybe no one would have noticed, but I started laughing uncontrollably, tears were forming. We beat it out of there fast!

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  1. haha, hysterical and well-told!!

    though i haven't admitted it here (til now) i was dragged to the good ole OG by a (decidedly unchowish) friend who claimed that the raviolis we shared at the hinge cafe in port richmond were no match for olive garden's four cheese raviolis. so we went the following evening to the northeast OG. we encountered a wait, too (on a weeknight!! where are these people coming from and why aren't they on chowhounds so they can be enlightened :) ), but we waited at the bar while i nursed a couple glasses of cheap wine which was fine. our server was also very friendly and efficient. i can't deny the minestrone soup is good, however the spinach + artichoke dip i make much better at home and the four cheese raviolis - i gave first prize to the hinge cafe for that. well, put anything in a vodka sauce and it'll stand out above a marinara, I think. and hinge's ravs had more cheese filling, while OG's are a little thick on the pasta, for my taste. that said... comparing to some of our south philly institutions, i would sadly rate OG's pasta and marinara a step above villa di roma and about on-par with marra's.

    hinge cafe i'd highly recommend to those near port richmond. nice ambiance, pleasing menu. the place is totally out of the way (near tacconnelli's) and pretty underrated here!

    1 Reply
    1. re: rabidog

      Thanks rabidog! I left out a few details so it wouldn't go way too long, like how the sample lady at the liquor store suggested that we put the pager on a shelf near the front of the store so that we could peruse the libations towards the back without going out of range. She even kept an eye on it for us. I'll have to check out the hinge cafe sometime. An Italian place near Montgomeryville did actually go out of business fairly recently, in the snyder square shopping center in Hatfield. I was surprised as even the worse Italian joints seem to have a robust following in these parts.

    2. The best and only good food at OG (IMHO) is a lunch with the endless salad and minestrone soup.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bucksguy14

        I hate to admit it, but I love the soup and salad at OG as well, bucksbuy14! I know it's very 'unchowish', but there, I said it. I do agree, it's the only thing worth getting at OG. My young niece loves OG, so I take her there and she really likes their fettuccine alfredo. I like the minestrone soup, but my favorite soup is their Zuppa Toscana, which is a spicy sausage and fresh kale soup. I actually found a copycat recipe for it on the web and made it a few weeks ago. Turned out great.

        1. re: mschow

          ugh. the salad sucks - dreadfully overdressed iceberg lettuce.

          But I do admit to liking the pasta fagioli soup

          1. re: coolgeek

            I usually ask them to bring the dressing on the side, and add extra other vegetables.. I've never had them complain about adding some extra tomatoes, carrots, etc. I also prefer a light hand with the salad dressing, so this way i get to dress it the way I want. I know it's not a gourmet salad, but for lunch with a bowl of soup, it hits the spot. Mind you, I don't go out of my way to go there, but it's fine.

      2. A good laugh for a Monday morning! I haven't been to OG in a while, so it might be time for a trip back. I remember when my daughter was in college, it was THE place to go -- several girls would share main courses & then have all of the salad & bread they could eat. Ya know, there are worse places, and I hope I never get so high falootin' that I can't enjoy a chain every once in a while.

        By the way, did the Girl Scout Cookies contain any genuine Girl Scouts?

        2 Replies
        1. re: PattiCakes

          He he Patti! Judging by what John packed away at dinner, after wolfing down several cookies, sadly no. Oh yeah, we finished in time to go back to the liquor store before nine, John wanted some french brandy gift set, I think I really just wanted the screaming red little martini glasses that came with it. The wonderful sample lady was gone. Since she had been so nice, John offered her a mint cookie earlier but she pointed down at her feet, she already had obtained her own box of mint cookies. We talked to the cashier and she had one too! Then the lady behind us in line brandished her box, and said that she couldn't buy the mint ones even though they were her favorite, she would eat them all right away. Hmm, I have no clue why I got the salad, I could go for some of their pasta fagiali or minestrone right now. Anyway, Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Anyone doing chinese tonight?

          1. re: givemecarbs

            Those mint girl scout cookies are dynomite when frozen. It's a scientific fact that freezing them & eating them out-of-season removes 1/3 of the calories. Swear ta God!