Mama Nibbles: Our Olive Garden Family Supper Recap and a Visit to the Flooded Grand River

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Our Olive Garden Family Supper Recap and a Visit to the Flooded Grand River

This is a review with no payment: Financial compensation was not received for this post.  A gift card was gifted from Darden so that I could sample this deal for myselfOpinions expressed here are my own.

Family meals dining out are always such a treat for us.  We do not go out very often because we try to live frugally on our smallish income.  Going out to eat has been something that we have always reserved for special occasions and celebrations.  We also have to think about how much of a punch the budget will take with five mouths to feed.  It's definitely never easy and I'm sure a lot of other families can relate.

A short time ago we found out that both of our oldest children had received terrific grades on their report cards.  Doing well in school is definitely something to celebrate!  So our whole family dressed up a little bit and we took off for Olive Garden because we had heard about their Buy One Take One deal.  It had been over ten years since we had last been to an Olive Garden.  We did not have a great experience with the food back then and it made us never go back.  I was really skeptical about dining there even though I'd been sent a free gift card to dine.  The kids pleaded with me and the BOTO deal sounded too good to be true, so we went.  It was the best dinner decision I had made in a long time!  FYI the BOTO deal ended on May 5th but Olive Garden always has some really great specials going on so keep your eyes peeled.  You can see their specials page here.


When we arrived we were greeted by such a friendly and smiling hostess.  She grabbed some menus and led us straight to our large table.  The table was large enough for us and then a few people.  I liked not being cramped together.  I've been elbowed and spilled upon by my family one too many times while dining out.  The kids were given papers and crayons to color on while my husband and I read through the menu.  A few moments later our waiter dropped by to take our drink order.  He was a super friendly guy and he made us feel right at home.  We ordered waters all around and off he went to fill our drink order.  The kids were kept busy with coloring while we decided on what to order.

Zuppa Tuscana soup
Zuppa Tuscana soup

























When our drinks came to the table we were ready to order.  I asked if we could have the kids split one BOTO deal and the waiter said yes.  That made it so easy because they can never finish off their plates and they all wanted the same thing- Five Cheese Ziti al Forno.  All of us began with the unlimited soup and bread sticks.  We ordered the Zuppa Tuscana soup and I must say that it was the best soup I'd had in a very long time.  I was going crazy over it!  I ate almost three bowls of it because I could not get over how delicious it was.  I am definitely 100% for sure going back for that soup again!  The kids cleaned their plates and that is a rare deal.  They enjoyed the cheesiness of their pasta and I was happy looking at their quiet little munching faces.  Sometimes silence can be so golden.

Five Cheese Ziti al Forno
Five Cheese Ziti al Forno
Smoked Mozzarella Chicken
Smoked Mozzarella Chicken
I think the phenomenal soup made me forget that I had an entree coming because when my entree arrived I was too full to even take more than two bites.  The two bites that I did take from my Smoked Mozzarella Chicken were so good and made me wish I'd saved more room.  I asked to have a container so that I could take it home with me.  The lovely waiter took my plate and put it into a container for me back in the kitchen, now that's service.  My husband had the same pasta dish and he said that the smoky cheese really won his taste buds over.  He was raving about the little bits of sun dried tomato over the top and the moist chicken.

Olive Garden Breadsticks

The kiddos definitely thought that it was pretty cool to be able to ask for bread sticks to their heart's content.  I have to say that the bread sticks were very soft and fresh.  I was surprised at how delicious they were.  This was a sharp contrast to the bread sticks we had dined on over 10 years ago.  I only ate part of one bread stick myself but my family must have consumed at least 2 or three each.

Olive Garden Pasta Meals

The best part about this deal was the fact that we took home an additional three meals plus my leftovers!  It was so much fun to just open the fridge the next evening and viola we had dinner already made for us.  This could be ever mom's dream, it certainly is mine and it came true!  I am not a super big fan of Olive Garden and am counting the days until we can go back again.  Check out my little video below to actually see my crazy excitement after this amazing meal!  Be sure and check out http://olivegarden.com/ for all the latest deals and to find the location nearest you.  The BOTO deal unfortunately ended on May 5th but don't let that stop you from enjoying some Olive Garden goodness!


We ended our family dinner date with a lovely walk over a bridge in our lovely city of Grand Rapids Michigan.  We have been having record high levels of flooding in our area.  The kids were awestruck over the water level and loud rush of the flooded Grand River.  The cold air blasted us but it was still so much fun! 

Grand Rapids MI Bridge over the flooded Grand River

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