Need another reason to be thankful you live in the epicurean fantasy land of Portland?
Look no further than the Sioux City Journal:

And to Siouxland residents, many of whom consider themselves connoisseurs of fine food, a city is not a city without an Olive Garden. So as of Monday, Sioux City becomes a real city.

An Olive Garden? This a city that built five different corn palaces in as many years—before those upstarts from Mitchell, South Dakota, built theirs in 1892.

The OG yearning was best expressed by an anxious woman in a big white car who
stopped this reporter as he was leaving the new restaurant last week. She rolled down her window and asked if it was open, then looked heartbroken when told that it wasn't, that the parking lot was simply filled with the vehicles of Olive Garden staff members in training. "I've been watching it and marking my calendar until Dec. 11," she said, her brief hopes for an early Italian dinner quashed.

Quashed, I tell you! The above quotes are just a few words from a long feature on the opening of the Sioux City Olive Garden. Frankly, I wasn't sure how to react to this kind of affection for a decidedly not-so-great Italian food chain. Then I read this:

The Olive Garden menu is famous for its variety, offering everything from spaghetti and meatballs to fettuccine alfredo, capellini pomodoro, shrimp primavera, lobster spaghetti, lasagna classico, sausage and peppers russica, a variety of pizzas and appetizers -- and wines, of course, an important part of any Italian dining experience. There is also a full selection of beers, cordials and specialty drinks from the bar.

Of course... Oh! Oh! They should totally build an Olive Garden corn palace! That would show old Mitchell, SD, a thing or two.

Actually, I'm glad that the people of Sioux City now have a place to feed their Italian jonze. A brief search turned up only two other Italian joints in their area. And we Portlanders know that life without at least a dozen Italian restaurants within city limits is simply unbearable.

I hereby promise to never take Portland's food scene for granted. Ever.