What’s for dinner? If you’re a 26-year-old Fargo., N.D., resident named “Vino,” you’re chowing down on pasta tonight, tomorrow night, and the night after that. That’s because Vino scored one of Olive Garden’s highly coveted $100 all-you-can-eat pasta passes.
But it gets better—or worse, depending on whether you believe Olive Garden’s stunt is marketing genius or sheer gluttony: Vino has committed to eating from the chain restaurant’s Never Ending Pasta Bowl menu for lunch and dinner for 49 days straight, and he’s documenting his carb-tastic adventure on his blog, All of Garden.
His experiment sounds like the Olive Garden version of Super Size Me.
“I will document my journey—the friendships I create and destroy, the changes my body goes through as it adjusts to a purely carbohydrate-based diet, reviews of each and every one of the 150+ combinations of pasta, sauce, and toppings—and so on,” wrote Vino.
The pasta aficionado kicked off his exploits on Sept. 23. “The day—a beautifully clear and crisp autumn, the kind which exists in North Dakota only for a few fragile, perfect weeks—was ideal for the start of a journey,” wrote Vino. “A journey that would take me from the lowest caste of mortal to the highest echelons of noodles, sauce, and toppings (starting at $2.99). A journey of pasta.”
The first night Vino ate a plate of the Classic for lunch—spaghetti with meat sauce and meatballs. Depending on the serving size, according to Olive Garden’s nutritional information, the dish could contain 700 to 900 calories, a couple dozen grams of fat, and more than 1,000 milligrams of sodium.
For dinner Vino downed another serving of spaghetti topped with meat sauce and Chicken Fritta—another 240 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 730 milligrams of sodium in addition to the pasta and sauce.
Next, Vino had a serving of what he has dubbed the “cheesetube extreme.” The nutritional content of the penne pasta dish (390 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 15 milligrams of sodium) is reasonable. Add Olive Garden’s Five Cheese Marinara sauce (370 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 860 milligrams of sodium), and the dish becomes a gut-buster.
But Vino wasn’t finished eating. He also consumed a serving of cavatappi pasta (440 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 10 milligrams of sodium) with marinara sauce (130 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 710 milligrams of sodium) and Shrimp Fritta (170 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 440 milligrams of sodium) on top.
Vino’s been dining like this every day—one serving for lunch and three servings of the pasta combinations for dinner—so he is definitely getting his money’s worth. He has yet to blog about any medical checkups, but at the end of the first week he wrote that he “couldn't be happier with my life as it stands in this very moment.”
Given that he’s spending so much time in Olive Garden, Vino has begun to wonder whether the employees who bring him these endless plates of pasta enjoy working at the chain.
“It seems unlikely that every morning trip there is as euphoric and magical an experience as my twice-daily treks are,” he wrote. “But how can one drive to the Olive Garden without a feeling of giddy anticipation welling up within them? Maybe I'll find out as the challenge draws onward, but, for now, every morning is a new day for gorging.”
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Original article from TakePart