The Olive Garden Specials Menu written by a Former Political Operative

The Gamechanger

This artichoke and basil pesto panini is, simply put, the very best sandwich on the planet. This sandwich is so revolutionary, so important that it will finally cause America to stop calling single sandwiches “paninis” which is totally absurd because the word is panino in singular, plural panini. A panino like this has never been experienced anywhere, not even if Jesus Christ had worked the sandwich counter at the Quiznos in Bethlehem.
A sandwich like this comes along only once every ten trillion years, like some sort of delicious comet. Unless you’re afraid to take a bite of the white hot radiance of this meals, try the Gamechanger today. Note: if it seems familiar it’s appeared on our menu as the Fred Thompson or Howard Dean.


The Outsider

Our white bean and truffle dip is nothing like the tired fare you’ve had in the past. It comes all the way from Northern Italy. It’s so different you might think it’s simple farm fare rather. You won’t even think it’s from Italy! If you’re tired of the pastas and salads and veal Parmesan sandwiches that have dominated our culinary landscape, it’s time to take a chance on this dip, a dip that promises to enter your body, clean out your digestive system and put your stomach’s unruly bacterial flora on a path of reform.


The Flip Flopper Single Serve Salad

Some customers are angry because we used to have a bottomless side salad and now we’ve switched to a low calorie, small dish of iceberg tomatoes and rock hard tomatoes. It’s taken years of soul searching. When we were younger we thought it was okay for every salad to be bottomless, for endless lines of people waiting for another turn at the herbaceous trough but it isn’t alright. We know that now.
As a restaurant ages it’s allowed to change its position. This isn’t a measure of convenience. You can think we removed the bottomless salad bar simply as a cost-cutting measure. Not so. Opinions evolve and so does mealtime. The simple greens side salad is what we believe passionately forever, for the rest of our lives.


Lower Your Expectations Bread Sticks

We’ve been trying out our new roasted Elephant garlic bread sticks but you shouldn’t expect much. They were test marketed in Texas, where they’ve been incredibly popular, in fact, in Texas these garlic bread sticks won several Best New Side polls. But we understand that the Roasted Elephant Garlic Bread sticks aren’t for everyone. They might not be ready for the limelight. Have people in Iowa ever heard of bread sticks or elephant garlic? Certain foods will provide a better appeal to other regional audiences, foods that are more bland.
Expect a mild taste sensation that you might remember to tell your friends about sometime soon. Underwhelm tonight’s dinner!


The American Flag Wrap

Even though the Olive Garden is as American as the strip malls in which you find it, we’ve leaned that you, the customer, sometimes believes that this menu isn’t American enough we’ve included our all new American Wrap: It’s American cheese smothering a Turkey which, little known fact, was supposed to be the official bird of the United States. Served with a slice of apple pie.

Pasta Alla Non-apology

We’ve rebranded the Pasta Puttanesca as “Or Sauce”. Some of our valued customers were disappointed to learn that Puttanesca can be loosely translated as “whore sauce.” It was never our company’s intention to allow you to imagine that you might be offended by this name, and we apologize that there was the slightest chance that in some alternate universe where people think crazy thoughts that you, our loyal and normally sane customer, might have once believed with all the conviction of being forced to choose a favorite hockey team, that you could have convinced yourself that you’d be offended that the name of our pasta resembles, in a country very far away, prostitution.
“Or Sauce!” Same great taste, great new name that our focus groups tell us couldn’t offend anyone.


The Bellwether Mixed Grill

You might not have heard of Washoe County Nevada. It’s full of average Americans of all stripes, Americans who believe in food. The very specific demographic makeup of Washoe predicts everything you might like, in fact Washoe Country has predicted our most successful dinner entrees since 1960, with the exception of 1992, which we believe had to do with Ross Perot’s surprise remarks about chicken Tetrazzini. The people of Washoe County have fallen in love with the succulent mix of lamb/fennel sausasage, salt cod and sauteed calf brains, grilled to perfection and light Tuscan seasoning. Because of Washoe County Nevada the Bellwether Mixed Grill stays on the menu until they stop liking it. If you aren’t completely satisfied, you should consider taking your meals in Canada.


Dessert: Baked Mama Grizzly Eskimo Alaska

It’s on the menu. It’s off the menu. It’s on the menu. It’s off the menu. Does anyone care?
It’s off the menu.

Written by G. Xavier Robillard

G. Xavier Robillard is the author of “Captain Freedom: A Superhero’s Quest for Truth, Justice, and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves,” and the upcoming novel “Deadfellas.”
He lives in Portland, Oregon