Dad’s Birthday Lunch

Olive Garden. It may sometimes be the butt of jokes or the subject of memes from people who say it lacks of authenticity when it comes to Italian food. But it's Dad's favorite and whenever there's an opportunity to enjoy a meal with him, that's his pick. Every time. And I don't mind. Not at all. Truth is I could sit and eat their breadsticks and soup all day long. That's actually exactly what I order whenever I go. I don't delve much into the pastas or other entrees. I'm there for the soup and breadsticks. Normally a salad fan, Italian dressing is just not my jam. So, it's pasta e fagioli for me - and if I'm still hungry after that I get a soup refill, but of the chicken gnocchi or the zuppa tuscana.

For Dad's birthday last month, my twin sisters, my niece and my oldest son celebrated with him. He turned 84! Every bowl of soup I get to enjoy with him at Olive Garden is such a treat and such a gift. And most visits these days are at the location in Bloomington, which is close to where he lives now with my sister. The staff there is extremely friendly and helpful and it's always a pleasure to spend time with him and spend it in a place where everyone is so nice.