For those that follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook, you will know that I had a birthday earlier this month. The big 4-0. Yep, as my dad told me this year, it’s all downhill for me now. I’ve apparently peaked… My family, at my request, took me for lunch to the Olive Garden. I hadn’t been in about 10 years and all I could think about was salad and breadsticks. Mmmm. However, I quickly remembered why I hadn’t been to this chain restaurant for soooo long.
The two menus available offered a salad to start, a pizza or pasta entrée, followed by tiramisu for dessert. Big Brother and Little Niece ordered the pizza option while SIL and I chose the pasta. Let’s start with the pizza option… Their salad was amazeballs. The tomato balsamic vinaigrette? Pour me a glass. Packed high with veggie goodness, there were almonds, feta, mixed greens, peppers, tomatoes… on and on it seemed to go.
The pizza was HUGE for one person. And I don’t think any of us realized that they split the toppings into quarters in order to experience four different types of pizza they offer. Brilliant. Between my brother and niece, both of whom are big eaters, they polished one pizza and half a salad. The rest, they packed up to take home for lunch the next day.
The pasta menu’s salad was light and delightful – spinach topped with gorgonzola (a new experience for me, YUM!), dried blueberries and a mandarin vinaigrette. SIL’s came with spicy, candied pecans but I can’t eat them (she said they were fabulous).
Our pasta was penne with chicken, mushrooms, pesto (not for me – pine nuts), and sundried tomatoes in a garlic cream sauce. Now, I LOVE garlic cream sauce and pasta but have you ever noticed when you order it at a lot of restaurants you’re left wondering where the garlic was? It ended up in my bowl last night. OMG! This was THE most delicious pasta** I have had in ages. Even WITH the mushrooms (vile fungus). Despite starting to get full, I refused to give up and kept eating. SIL ended up with about half my mushrooms but I didn’t even care if I ate a few. Now THAT’s good pasta. And the dish didn’t just have a few bites of chicken; it was jam packed! All that deliciousness combined with the zing from the sundried tomatoes was pure awesome-sauce. I have no shame in admitting that if I didn’t have something already waiting at home for me for dinner, I’d travel to the other end of downtown and get myself another order to go.
We all finished off our meal with a slice of tiramisu. I found it overly rich and I prefer a slightly lighter version but it was full of flavour and the right size. When our lovely server found out it was my birthday (cough cough, not yesterday but we were celebrating it), she even added a big striped birthday candle to my dessert!
While the meal was certainly one of the best dining out experiences I’ve had in a long time, I have to give triple snaps to the owners of Tiramisu Bistro for their “Breathing Room”. When you walk in, there’s a small room off to the left of the door with a table and some games for kids to play with. We all know what it’s like to go out to dinner with children in tow; they get bored, they get cranky, they get annoying. The Breathing Room offers them a chance to play and keep their parents sane. The best part thought? They’ve installed four iPads on one wall for the kids to play video games like Angry Birds. Let’s just say, we didn’t see my Nephew for most of our meal.
Great job Tiramisu Bistro. I’m recommending you to everyone I know and I’ll certainly be back!
10750 124 Street, EdmontonCLOSED SUNDAYS AND STAT HOLIDAYS
** To clarify, this is the best pasta in cream sauce I’ve ever had. My favourite tomato based? Allegro’s Penne alla Diavola. Trust me, it’s bitchen.