Stroll down bad food memory lane…

Writing about food has made me appreciate a good meal. It’s also made me more aware of when eating out is just outright terrible.  As much as I’ve had some wonderful food, it’s the bad moments that have been the most memorable…and most fun to talk about.

– As a little kid, my parents took me to see “Cats,” and as a extra treat, they took me to IHOP after. What kid would turn down chocolate chip pancakes and hot chocolate after 9:00 at night? We came in and were greeted by a somber waitress, who promptly burst into tears. She brought out our drinks, still sniffling and tears streaming. My parents tried to find out what was wrong, but she ran into the kitchen. We sat there for 15 minutes and silently watched the swinging kitchen door. No one came in or out of that door. Then, the screaming started. Dishes were crashing and everyone out in the dining room stopped what they were doing. Our waitress was going nuts and no one knew what to do. Then, the cops showed up. We all finally mustered up the nerve to leave, with my poor Mom protesting, “How much should we leave for the sodas?!”

– When Tony and I first moved to Raleigh, money was slim, so eating out was a real treat. On a particularly slim week, we went to a Mongolian BBQ place for a meal. I loaded up my plate with veggies, meat, and rice, gave it to the guys to cook, and went back to our table. I took one bite and had that feeling, the feeling of a hair in my mouth. The hair was long, blonde, and wavy, a little like the hair of the hostess walking around. I was determined to enjoy my hard-earned meal and took a second bite…..and felt another hair hanging out of my mouth. As Tony dug in, I sat glumly staring at my dish, mentally doing math to figure out how much I had to pay for my hairy meal.

– I’m not a huge Thai fan, but I was game when we went to a now-defunct Thai restaurant. Tony told me to start slowly and try a chicken dish. But, the adventurer in me immediately saw a Curry Fish dish that I had to try. The anticipation was killing me, I couldn’t wait to have my first real Thai meal.  My fish finally came and I couldn’t wait to take a bite….then immediately spit it out. The taste was the equivalent of walking into a fish market and taking a big, deep, breath. It took every bit of strength I had to swallow that first bite. I thought I could handle the fishiness and instead, I was beat down by it. Our sweet waiter kept checking in on us and I was too embarrassed to say anything, so I kept putting forkfuls of the fish curry into my mouth, praying it wouldn’t come back up….

-Tony’s parents came to town and I wanted to take them to a pretty popular mexican place for brunch and then impress them with a homemade dinner. Our food was incredible and way above the standard brunch fare. I had a torta that was so good, it made my eyes roll back into my head.  What can be better than pork, avocado, and onions?? It wasn’t until we were leaving that  my stomach lurched. I ignored it for a second, until I realized that I was sweating and shaking. To put it mildly, I was in gastrointestinal distress.

The worst part was that I still wanted to be a good hostess, so I somehow managed to walk around Cameron Village with the family, gritting my teeth and smiling. Then, I realized I still had go to the grocery store to pick up food for dinner. I kept a brave face on until his parents went down another aisle, when my knees buckled. It was by the grace of God I was able to get home, sleep it off for a few hours, and then managed to make a tasty meal for everyone. It was a Superwoman moment if there ever was one.

Yeah, writing about food food is great. But along with the good, it’s fun to remember the really, really bad. Isn’t that what makes eating out an adventure?

~Julia

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3 responses to “Stroll down bad food memory lane…

  1. Wow! I have to say I’ve only had one really bad experience from a restaurant, and luckily it was the wait staff that was the problem and not the food.

    However I still don’t know if it was related to the food, but I got terribly sick the day after Thanksgiving after I had gone to a family members house when I was about 8. I couldn’t eat any Thanksgiving type food for about 5 years after that!

    Good thing that most food experiences aren’t that bad or we wouldn’t eat anything 😛

    • Oh no! I couldn’t live without stuffing!
      For some reason, I’m more likely to forgive bad waiters than bad food. I think it’s survivor’s guilt from waiting tables myself 😉

  2. Great stories about memorable food adventure. I know, reading it gives me a different kind of expression. I adventure is there but hope nothing more gross than that. 🙂

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