No, this was not an April Fool's joke. Well, it was, but it was a prank that didn't quite turn out the way the Weekly's estimable reviewer planned. Thus in this week's Counter Intelligence column, Jonathan Gold visits not the latest Sichuan noodle palace or trendy downtown gastropub, but The Olive Garden in Arcadia. (Some of us are presently asking — begging, really — him to next review The Cheesecake Factory.)

It was simple: Anne and I were going to meet at the Olive Garden, where we would act like tourists and explore the wonders of seafood alfredo and unlimited breadsticks, to express for once the simple goodness of Venetian apricot chicken and grilled shrimp caprese, of chicken scampi and smoked mozzarella fonduta and lasagna fritta. (What is lasagna fritta? Apparently rolled lasagne sliced into thick discs, crisped in trans-fat-free boiling oil and served with a marinara dipping sauce. Words for once fail me.)

Read the complete story in Gold's Counter Intelligence, “Olive What She's Having,” and check out Anne Fishbein's photo gallery.

LA Weekly