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Dizzy Grant of the Harlem Globetrotters is shown here performing on March 5, 2011. The meal that keeps him fueled? Chicken parm from Olive Garden.
Harlem Globetrotter Dizzy Grant might be trottin’ around the globe, but when it comes to food, there’s only one place that feels like home.
“Wherever I go, I look for Olive Garden,” the basketball star told TODAY.com before the team's opening game Sunday at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Well move on over, Marilyn Hagerty!
“No one makes chicken parm like they do," he explained. "I’ll try it at other restaurants, but I just keep coming back to the Olive Garden. Sometimes I get appetizers and desserts. One time I tried the Tour of Italy [an entree sampler platter], but the main thing I’m there for is the chicken parm – I can’t get enough of it.”
“But Dizzy,” we countered, “You could eat at any restaurant in the world, and you choose Olive Garden as your go-to?”
The 6-foot-2 New Jersey native, who has no official connection to the Italian-American chain, insisted that it’s the one place he wants to go for comfort eats, especially when he comes off the road.
“There’s just something about it that makes me feel nostalgic,” he said. “It’s like, wherever you go, you get a taste of home at Olive Garden.”
On the road, he and his teammates are typically raiding hotel buffets in the morning, and then eating loads of salads the rest of the day. “I love chicken Caesar salad,” he said.
Dizzy, who spends most of the year traveling, admits he’s not an adventurous eater.
“The craziest thing I’ve tried was in Libya; I had a camel burger,” he said. “Actually, I had a bite, and it was horrible. Imagine biting into a camel’s hump, that’s what it was like.”
And while the 29-year-old doesn’t have quite the same magic in the kitchen as he does on the court, he does have one special dish he’s mastered.
“I make a mean lasagna – it’s really good,” he said with an ear-to-ear grin. “I mix milk and ricotta for the filling so it gives it the right texture. That’s what I make for my wife when I’m being romantic.”
Tell us, what restaurant do you go to when you feel nostalgic for home?
Vidya Rao is a senior editor for TODAY.com. She can throw down enough Olive Garden breadsticks for a small army.
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