The Unvegan

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Island Italian at Spaghetti House

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A strong start.

For some reason, despite being on a tropical island, Bina was craving Italian food. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that we had a 15% off coupon to Spaghetti House or perhaps it had something to do with taste buds. Whatever the case, I was happy to mix up our Rarotonga grubbing with something different, so we walked on over to Spaghetti House in Arorangi to see what sort of Italian the were serving.

The menu included a variety of pizzas (no pepperoni) and pastas, and to test how meaty they could get with their pasta I ordered their Spaghetti Bolognese. But first we started with an intense game or two of dots on the doodle paper tablecloth and a starter of garlic bread. The bread was thin like a pizza crust and had a nice crunch and give to it, but just couldn’t compare to Trader Jack’s.

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I respect cilantro, but not thaaaat much.

When the pasta eventually arrived, the tablecloth was fully covered in doodles, including one frightening dinosaur with feathers. One would think the table was populated by children rather than twentysomethings, but one would be wrong. It was time for the doodling to stop and the eating to begin. At first the eating was a bit strange, as there was a near-overwhelming cilantro flavor. I like cilantro as much as the next guy, but I must say there is a limit to my intake, especially when it comes to a meat sauce. I was also surprised by the lack of any sort of cheese on the pasta, specifically parmesan, which was never offered and would have certainly improved the dish. Ultimately I got used to the cilantro and I found the meat sauce and the accompanying spaghetti noodles to be pretty good, but nothing more than that.

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Deep inside here lurks canned fruit.

And had I stopped at the main course, I may have left Spaghetti House as a pretty happy camper with a pretty decent review, but I wanted more. I was greedy. I wanted dessert. So I ordered their fruit crumble, which was said to be prepared with seasonal fruit and vanilla ice cream. It took a surprisingly long time to prepare, even in slow-paced Rarotonga, and when it arrived, it looked quite delicious. I had only eaten amazing fruit so far and was excited to taste what Spaghetti House could do with such fruit. Unfortunately, such fruit did not exist here and as I ate my first bite of the crumble, I found myself with a mouthful of fruit cocktail. You know the kind, it comes in a can, jar or plastic lunch container and is never, ever fresh. To call this a disappointment would be grossly understating how I felt about the dessert. Look, I love me a fruit cocktail after a meal at home and I understand Rarotonga is an island with little natural resources that must import most of its meat, but it is certainly not lacking in fruit.

Damn you, Spaghetti House, we deserved better than fruit cocktail. I am not a snob and would gladly eat fruit cocktail every day, but you teased me with seasonal fruit and deception such as this cannot be allowed to continue. I guess I should have stopped at the bolognese, but the truth has set me free.