My husband is of Italian descent and one of the restaurants that Mark and my girls enjoy is Olive Garden. We go round and round in my family about the merits of chain restaurants vs mom and pop individually owned eateries.
Mark and the girls enjoy the chain eateries because there is usually something for everybody and this was especially important when my girls were little because they preferred more commonly found entrees like macaroni and cheese and chicken tenders!
I am a big advocate for individually owned and small eateries because I think they are generally more authentic and I like patronizing small businesses which very much add to the vibrancy and uniqueness of a neighborhood.
Now that my girls are older, we are able to visit our favorite neighborhood restaurants more frequently. I like the relationship that you form with the neighborhood businesses and visiting each store is like dropping in on good friends or even family.
Don’t get me wrong-I think there is a place for all the different kinds of restaurants here in the US. The big chains generally serve good food and if your only chance to explore Italian food is a big chain restaurant then you should definitely go for it.
It drove me crazy when we lived in San Antonio that Olive Garden would annually win the best Italian restaurant in town according to the people’s polls. They probably still do.
There are so many good mom and pop Italian restaurants in San Antonio and they are all going to go out of business if everyone just patronizes the big chains. So I have made it my lifelong mission to advocate and publicize the goodness and importance of neighborhood eateries.
Obviously, not all neighborhood eateries are good but in general, they serve delicious and reasonably priced food which are cooked by people who are passionate about what they do.
I picked Zuppa for my letter Z because it was one of the more exciting foods that begin with Z. One of the most common zuppas is Zuppa Toscana.
So what is Zuppa Toscana? Zuppa means soup or chowder in Italian so Zuppa Toscana is a type of soup from the Tuscan region of Italy. It is a hearty stew typical of the farm fare which is served in Tuscany which is well known for it’s wonderful agricultural products and unpretentious cooking.
I was researching Zuppa Toscana and the first few search pages are all dedicated to the said name soup from Olive Garden.
So after all that, when we do go to Olive Garden, one of the dishes that I enjoy there is their Zuppa Toscana which you can get as a starter for your meals. It is a fantastic way to prepare kale so I included the copycat recipe here.
Supposedly the above recipe was submitted by someone who used to work at Olive Garden!
I have really enjoyed this A-Z blogging challenge. It was definitely a challenge to write everyday and I took the advice of previous bloggers to write ahead.
The best and most delightful surprise from the challenge was all the wonderful bloggers I have met through this challenge. I know I will continue to visit their blogs long after this challenge is over because they feel like close friends and I love stopping by for a chat.
It has been so fun to explore different blogs and the myriad of topics that the blogs cover. I hope you have enjoyed my chosen topic of food for this blog challenge and gained some knowledge about the different foods, especially the ones from my hometown, that I have highlighted.
Thank you to all who commented and especially for all the kind words and support. I have been working hard on my blog especially since it’s move to a self hosted site and it is so gratifying to hear positive feedback about the changes.
Thank you so much for reading my blog and I hope you will drop by again very soon. I am going to start writing more about travel and I have a big upcoming trip to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in June so please come back for some exciting coverage and updates about my trip. Or better still, please subscribe via email to my blog so that you will get regular updates about my posts.
What do you think about chain restaurants vs neighborhood eateries? Do you have a favorite neighborhood or chain restaurant? Why do you like it?