Behold, a masterpiece of a certain kind of food journalism: Marilyn Hagerty’s Grand Forks Herald (ND) review of a new Olive Garden. Excerpt:
It had been a few years since I ate at the older Olive Garden in Fargo, so I studied the two manageable menus offering appetizers, soups and salads, grilled sandwiches, pizza, classic dishes, chicken and seafood and filled pastas.
At length, I asked my server what she would recommend. She suggested chicken Alfredo, and I went with that. Instead of the raspberry lemonade she suggested, I drank water.
She first brought me the familiar Olive Garden salad bowl with crisp greens, peppers, onion rings and yes — several black olives. Along with it came a plate with two long, warm breadsticks.
The chicken Alfredo ($10.95) was warm and comforting on a cold day. The portion was generous. My server was ready with Parmesan cheese.
By contrast, see this review from “Dive Bar Girl,” an anonymous critic who writes for Cherry, a Baton Rouge newsletter:
Twin Peaks 6990 Siegen Lane http://www.twinpeaksrestaurant.comAdmit it, you like it when DBG is mean. You only send her fan mail when she’s mean. She never gets mail for being informative. That’s why she was saddened when she actually had a few nice things to say about Baton Rouge’s newest “breastaurant.” So she is going to write about the positive things first and then write the review you want to read. The smokehouse burger was above average. The patio was a nice space. The staff, while scantily clad, was professional. The salads even looked good. The place was miles above Hooters.Here is the review you want: Twin Peaks has to be the brainchild of two 14-year-old boys who recently cracked the parental controls on the home computer. Waitresses are known as “Lumber Jills”. In case you are missing the imagery—each Lumber Jill has been endowed with an epic pair of Twin Peaks. If David Lynch were dead, he would be spinning in his grave on a rotisserie. (So no, there is no Log Lady and the owls are exactly what they seem.)DBG arrived to find the parking lot filled with big trucks. Lonely men sat at the bar and slugged down large mugs of 29 degree beer. DBG’s Abita molded itself into a large snowball. They featured a dessert called the Twin Peaks Sundae—“two scoops of vanilla ice cream on top of a hot Blondie.” Of course, each scoop of ice cream has a cherry on top.Does that make you horny?Many dead animals and televisions lined the walls. They even have a Twin Peaks channel that introduces patrons to their girls. Sheila from Austin says, “My friends tell me I have a pretty mouth.” Of course, it is located on Siegen Lane, the showplace for all the worst Baton Rouge has to offer—insane traffic, big box stores and bland chain restaurants.To sum it up, the entire place just says, “Sure, you work for the state in a dead-end job and make 28K a year, half of which you pay to your ex-wife and weekend child, but when you slink out of your efficiency apartment on Gardere and go for some beers at Twin Peaks, you become a God among men. Those Lumber Jills really understand all of your inner pain. As you sign your Discover card receipt, you are gonna leave Bambi an extra large tip that will add to your mountain of credit card debt.”
For me, eating at Pizza Ranch was an adventure. I liked the fact that the slices of pizza are narrow enough, so you can try different kinds. There is a wide choice. I tend to choose pizza with cheese and pepperoni. The customer favorite is the Roundup with beef, pepperoni, Italian sausage, onions, mushrooms and black olives.
I moved from the pizza table to the salad bar, where I found the canned peach slices appealing along with other typical offerings. I took a half-glass of Sprite. I was glad I didn’t have to pay extra and that I could fill the glass only half-full. Then, I found a comfortable booth where I awaited friends.
I kept eating and found myself going back for more pizza. I completely bypassed the table with chicken, mashed potatoes and vegetables. “Another time,” I told myself.