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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Battle of the Breadsticks: Fazoli's vs. Olive Garden

Posted By on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge The Fazoli's breadsticks - KHOLOOD EID
  • Kholood Eid
  • The Fazoli's breadsticks
You always have Gut Check at all-you-can-eat. Add "breadsticks" to the end of that, and we're trembling with excitement to binge on as many carbs as possible.

Today, we pit against each other two chains known for their all-you-can-eat breadsticks: Fazoli's and Olive Garden

Day One (yes, we split this over two days so as to avoid cardiac arrest) brought us to Fazoli's. After ordering a triple-cheese double slice of pizza, we found an empty booth and mentally prepared ourselves for the only benefit of dining inside a Fazoli's: endless breadsticks.

Even if you pace yourself, no amount of preparation can help with the nausea that will ensue.

The pizza comes with two barely warm, soggy, spongy sticks of shameful caloric proportions. Sometimes, such excessive calorie intake can be justified.

In this case, it couldn't. Definitely not a good sign of what was to come.

click to enlarge Olive Garden's breadsticks - KHOLOOD EID
  • Kholood Eid
  • Olive Garden's breadsticks
After a total of four breadsticks, we were ready to retreat to a dark place and regurgitate repent. Each bite brought with it a wave of grease (we suspect this was the fattiest vegetable oil around) and sodium -- pure sodium.

And yet, when a friendly, soft-spoken voice asked, "Would you like some more bread, honey?" we did not refuse. (Guess that's the American way.) One more bite, however, and we were done. Leaving Fazoli's plagued with regret is no way to start the day. Yes, this was all before noon.

The next day we reserved for the Olive Garden -- suburbia's finest Italian cuisine. Say what you will about the rest of the menu, the breadsticks are worth the trip. They're so good that you kind of black out while tossing back basket after basket before your main course even arrives.

Once you have your pasta, you'll still be reaching for more breadsticks. The bread has a crisper exterior than Fazoli's sticks, but the they are still soft on the inside. And although the breadsticks' seasoning contains a hint of salt, it's not nearly as overwhelming as Fazoli's.

The clear winner is Olive Garden. The total consumed there? Four and a half -- an OK total, but we'd eaten a hefty meal not long before visiting the Garden. A rookie mistake on our part.

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