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diavolobella's avatar

What was the worst dining experience you ever had?

Asked by diavolobella (7917 points ) January 24th, 2013

This bad experience might have been while dining out at a restaurant or dining in. You might have been the unwitting victim of this experience or it may have been self-inflicted by your own egregious gastronomic error. The tragic circumstances might involve the location/atmosphere, the company, the service or the food itself. Do tell, please. And if there was a lesson learned or advice you can give to others to preserve them from a similar fate, please elaborate.

I will save my own stories for a little further in the discussion.

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25 Answers

gondwanalon's avatar

OK I’ll cough a little something up for you.

Last October at a semi-formal high school reunion dinner food got stuck in my throat. Before I could do anything my gut reflexes took over and I vomited on the table with all eyes on me.

burntbonez's avatar

I’ve had them, I know, but I tend to block them out of memory. So I’m sorry, but I’ve had bad experiences with food, service, atmosphere and just about anything else.

Oh. Last summer, I had a baked lobster that was piled high with so many bread crumbs, you couldn’t find the lobster. And somehow, the lobster tasted like it had had the flavor boiled out of it before it had been baked.

thorninmud's avatar

Mine was a self-inflicted trauma. Shortly after arriving in Paris, full of the spirit of culinary adventure (but little actual knowledge), I pored over local restaurant guides for affordable little places off the beaten track. I found one place whose specialty was “andouillette”, and apparently was highly considered by andouillette aficionados. Never mind that I had no idea what andouillette was, if it was something that had a following, I wanted to join the club.

So I went in (alone) for lunch and ordered the andouillette. When it arrived, it was a sausage-like affair, with a strange layered structure. When I raised the first forkful to my mouth, my nose was assaulted by a distinct barnyard odor. Now some things taste better than they smell, but andouillette isn’t one of them. I soon had to admit that I had a bunch of pig intestines on my plate.

Pride wouldn’t allow me to admit to the waiter that I had no idea what I was ordering, and I could hardly return it as defective andouillette. So I forced myself to eat every bit of it, even though it was all I could do to suppress my gag reflex. It was an offal ordeal.

Sunny2's avatar

^^ Yuck. Good pun
One of my worst was also in Paris, at the Flea market. I ate something for lunch that made me so sick that I had to delay the start of my motor scooter journey for a full week and which I didn’t get rid of entirely for another week on the road.

bookish1's avatar

Oh, this is easy. A friend took me out to dinner one night when we were in college. We went to check out a new falafel place in town. It was a slow night and we were some of the only customers in there.

Those ()#&#&@#ers served me uncooked falafel. On a bed of lettuce. They thought I was some gringo that they could pass shit off on. I have made falafel from scratch myself.

I had low blood sugar and was lightheaded from hunger, and it was the most disappointing meal I have ever received.

And it made me feel-awful.

Bellatrix's avatar

Well there was the Cessnock Chinese restaurant – “do you want food with your MSG?”

My favourite awful eating out experience happened in Wales though. We were pretty broke. Had about 10 pounds between us. (No pound symbol on my keyboard). We went into what appeared from the outside to be a pub restaurant. Once in there were realised, no, this is a fully fledged restaurant. By now our coats were taken and we were shown to a table and given a menu. The only thing on it we could afford was one bowl of soup. So, the options available were share a bowl of soup or leave. So we snuck out. This was over 30 years ago! I still shake my head about the prices in that restaurant! It was a little Welsh village and the place was quite busy.

The more I think about this question – the more terrible eating out experiences that pop into my head.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Well, there was this one time when the waiter set my plate down on the table and off jumped this bunny with a pancake on her head. $500 for that undercooked meal…

No, seriously, one of my worst meals ever was out in So Cal. We went to a “Mexican” restaurant. We’re Texas folk and used to Tex-Mex that actually has flavor and is cooked properly and whatnot… The chips were stale, the salsa was nothing but tomatoes and onion, the beans and rice were goopy, and the cheese enchiladas were two tortillas wrapped around a block of half melted cheese, with some nasty sauce on the top that tasted like Spaghettios. It was disgusting.

diavolobella's avatar

Wow, mine are tame compared to some of these! Many years ago when my siblings were all young enough to still come home for Christmas (there are 7 of us), my brother brought along his college roommate and my sister brought her fiance, we decided to pool our funds and take my parents to the nicest restaurant in town for an anniversary dinner. Their anniversary was December 26th. We arrived, were seated and ordered. My brother’s roommate had ordered a meal which included French onion soup. It came in a pretty crock and, since he was hungry, he made short work of it. Unfortunately, when he was eating one of the last spoonfuls a look came over his face that caught everyone’s attention. He carefully spit something into his napkin and with amazing self-control, did not yack everywhere. There was a HUGE cockroach (more like a waterbug) in his soup. It didn’t happen personally to me, but we ALL nearly tossed our cookies and it ruined the dinner. His face was as white as a sheet and I don’t think he ate much the rest of the week (drank a lot though). Not surprisingly, that place was not open much longer, so I guess they had many issues.

When I hostessed at a very fine restaurant in Brentwood, TN, I was waved over by a bar patron who had ordered oysters on the half shell. He asked me to look at his plate and see if I could tell what was wrong. I don’t eat oysters, so I wasn’t sure what I was looking for but it didn’t take me long to see something anyone would have recognized as wrong. A LIVE, freakily transparent and completely gross looking crab was sitting on one of the oysters and sort of idly waving its claws. It was about 3 inches across and nearly totally see-through. I had to carry it back to the kitchen were all of the staff were transfixed in disgust until a chef killed it and threw it out.

The last story, though not as gross as the previous two, was when I ordered the “no-sugar added apple pie” at Cracker Barrel. I figured that apples are sweet, so how could it be a problem. Plus, sugar-added pie wasn’t an option. I ordered it ala mode and when it came it had absolutely no flavor whatsoever. Neither the pie or the ice cream. It was like eating a cardboard pie crust filled with damp slabs of cardboard in cardboard filling, covered in cold cardboard flavored ice cream. Absolutely and completely devoid of apple, spice or vanilla flavor. My boyfriend and I still talk about how bizarre it was and how horrible something can be that tastes like nothing.

diavolobella's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate The bunny just wanted to bring you a tasty pancake. As a side note to your story, I used to love Spaghetti-Os when I was a kid until my sister observed, “that stuff smells like hot vomit” and I realized she was right. I never ate it again.

YARNLADY's avatar

The worst was not the food, but the lack of service. I took all the kids, adult and little, to San Francisco. At the end of the day we were exhausted, and decided to go to the Rain Forest Restaurant. There’s always a long wait to even be seated, and then long wait to have our order taken. After another long, long wait, the food started arriving one plate at a time, with 10 or 15 minutes between each order. One order took even longer, and all the rest of us were finished by the time it finally arrived.

When the waiter apologized, I said this one better not be on the bill. It did end up free, but the two little ones (toddlers at the time) were sound asleep. Considering the total bill was around $200, it wasn’t much help.

diavolobella's avatar

This one is more funny than horrible. My sister and I were eating at Buddy’s Barbecue in Knoxville, TN when we were students at UT. My sister was drinking iced tea and the server kept coming by what seemed like every 10 seconds to ask her if she wanted a refill. That was annoying in a minor way, but what was so weird is that she’d sort of sidle up in a half-crouch and hiss in a loud stage whispery sort of way “Would you like some more teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” As soon as we left, we burst into hysterics laughing for about 30 minutes. It was so bizarre.

Some 30 years later, whenever anyone is drinking tea, we are known to hiss that at them. It’s become such a family thing that even my kids do it.

In a similar vein, when I was just a little kid in the early 70’s, we were on a family trip and were leaving a little restaurant in KY we’d stopped at. In the parking lot, a woman called to her friend as they were leaving and it came out like “Ahhlll calll yeww when ahhhh giit haw wum.” That’s another one we have used in the family since then.

bookish1's avatar

@diavolobella : I don’t know… A cockroach is far more traumatizing than uncooked bean paste. And the story about the crab is very memorable.

newtscamander's avatar

I can only come up with one story at the moment, but I’m sure there are more:

In Winter of 2000, when I was 5, we were having Christmas dinner at my grandmother’s house in England. She had prepared a homemade chocolate fudge pie, and served it directly out of the oven. Because the surface was very smooth I thought that it was covered in a layer of cling foil. Wanting to be helpful I reached over to pull it off. Since there was no cling foil, my hand went straight into the hot goo. Luckily, my uncle reacted quickly and wiped the hot chocolate fudge filling off my fingers, but they were burnt badly nonetheless. And because the pain was so bad I ran back to the table later on (there was a bowl of cold water there to numb the pain) and accidentally knocked over a vase on the way…. After that, my hand was put in a plastic bag filled with water and a few ice cubes.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@diavolobella Oh, good lord, that reminds me! When my oldest was only two, we went out to a barbecue restaurant and after we got halfway through eating, I noticed a little cockroach in my toddler’s baked beans. Eeewwww! I raised a little hell that day. Just a little…

filmfann's avatar

I ate a lot of odd food in China, and I had a terrible meal in an Indian restaurant, but that is to be expected, since I don’t like Indian food.
The worst was probably the chicken I ate in Alameda, California. It wasn’t bad tasting; the reason I remember it as a bad dining experience is that I was halfway through the meal when I realized I wasn’t eating chicken, which I ordered. It was dog.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

How did you know it was dog?

filmfann's avatar

It was obvious. I used to work at KFC, so I knew chicken (I eat more chicken any man ever seen). I pulled a piece of it up, and it was obviously a paw.

bookish1's avatar

@filmfann : Thanks, I need to listen to Back Door Man to get it out of my head now ;)

diavolobella's avatar

These are great, well, except @newtscamander. You poor thing. That must have hurt so much. :(

Judi's avatar

I don’t know if it was the time that I ate that last bite of my pasta dish and realized after biting into it that it was NOT an onion like I thought, it was a piece of glass, (cut my mouth) or…..
The time we kept waiting and waiting and waiting and discovered our waitress had quit in the middle of her shift and didn’t tell anyone, she just walked out.

bookish1's avatar

@diavolobella : I’ve been thinking about the crab story all day. You are a good storyteller!

diavolobella's avatar

@bookish1 LOL I’m glad you enjoyed it. Personally, I keep thinking about how my sister ruined Spaghetti-Os for me. Blast her!!

newtscamander's avatar

@diavolobella aw, don’t worry, I’ve been through worse ;)

muhammajelly's avatar

I guess my worst story was when I fed a girl some shellfish and she was allergic. She asked me what it was and I told her “just eat it” but she never told me she was allergic until it was too late.

@filmfann China is horrible because the food will commonly cause illness. I don’t understand why people have such an aversion to eating dog or horse though.

YARNLADY's avatar

One time, when my son was a baby, we went to a fine, French restaurant. The baby started crying, so one of us had to take him outside while the other ate, and then we traded places. He was very fussy that night, and we didn’t want to inconvenience the other people there (all adults).

The good thing was the manager discounted the price for us.

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