Day 17 – Cavatappi with Five Cheese Marinara and Shrimp Fritta

by hagz


Every day I have to look at this menu. It’s true what they say about how once you see a commercial enough times, something happens in your brain and you end up wanting whatever they’re selling. At some point, I know I’m going to end up trying both the deep-fried lasagna and the spicy Calabrian wings.Learned even more about the Olive Garden today! The plot is definitely thickening. Here’s a super interesting Salon article about what’s going on with the OG and their investors.

Basically, there’s a classically villainous Romney-esque private equity firm that is a minority shareholder of Darden Restaurants, the parent company of the Olive Garden. This private equity firm, named Starboard Value, doesn’t have enough money to take control of Darden the old-fashioned way (they own less than 9% of Darden) so they basically threw a tantrum and published a high-profile powerpoint presentation on all the things that the Olive Garden does wrong.

Turns out that what’s really going on is that Starboard is looking to get a quick payday off of their investment. What’s their grand plan? Something called a sale-leaseback plan. The Salon article has a good explanation, but here’s a quick analogy. Let’s say you own a lemonade stand. Nothing special, but you make about $1,000 a month, and you know what else is awesome? Your lemonade stand is located on your mom’s front yard, so you don’t have to pay rent! What a great business. Now let’s say that a minor neighborhood bully comes in, and he can’t buy your entire lemonade stand, but he wants to buy 10% of your business in return for 10% of the profits. You agree, because you’re a little kid and it’s a stupid lemonade stand.

What happens once he owns 10%? He publishes a 294-slide powerpoint presentation on why your lemonade sucks, and lectures you on how you should switch to organic lemons and stevia. Not only this, but he has a great plan – sell your mom’s house to his buddy, split the money from the sale of the house with him so he gets 10% of the proceeds, then rent the land back from his buddy! Now if you sell your mom’s house, sure, you’ll get some quick cash, but now you have to pay some guy $500/month just to have your lemonade stand there, cutting your monthly profits in half. It’s a great plan if your goal is to get into an investment, make some quick cash, and get the hell out. It’s a horrible plan if you have any interest in the long-term financial health of your business.

003In any case, here’s some cheese salad.


I’ve been missing out by not having the five-cheese marinara at the restaurant – it’s one of those sauces that doesn’t keep particularly well as takeout. For takeout, you’re way better off with the marinara or the spicy three meat.


Shrimp fritta was killing it today. Super crispy.

Weight: 174.6

Breadsticks consumed (today/total): 0/25

Calories consumed today: 1,180

Current cost per pasta bowl: $9.65