Weekend Question Thread

We’ve had the best meal you’ve ever eaten. What was the worst meal you’ve ever had?

I’m not an anti-chain snob (love me some Chili’s) but the last time I was at an Olive Garden, ARGH. How do you fuck up cheese ravioli, you ask? Well, you undercook them so the edges are crunchy, cover them in sauce that tastes like ketchup, then melt some pre-shred cheese over that, and leave it under the salamander so long the edges of the entire plate turn brown and crispy.

I’ve been poisoned by meals before, but at least they tasted good going down. This was just gross.


19 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread

  1. I had a slice of cantaloupe after being out at sea with no fresh food for over two months. That was just amazing.
    HOWEVER, if one were to throw in certain additional substances that go well with Cheech & Chong movies, then the winner is a caramel sea salt brownie from Batch Bakehouse a block away from me. That was a sublime experience, and as close to a religious revelation that I’ll ever get.

  2. No kidding? At my sister in law’s one night when she made boeuf bourgignon that was all gristle, with potatoes that were undercooked.

  3. A trip to Branson, Missouri resulted in a visit to a buffet that made Denny’s look like Escoffier — I swear to God the food was predigested and spat back into the steam trays.

  4. In college — after playing racquetball with a friend. My friend’s “spaghetti” was pasta boiled to mush, topped with ketchup and cheap cheese. I went from starving hungry to no appetite at all.

  5. worst meal ever? anything prepared by my ex-wife’s mother, followed closely by anything prepared by my mother.

  6. Oyster pan fry is best meal I have had out, at Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, NYC.
    I had a horrible Thanksgiving meal out at a diner with my sister one year when my Mom was in the hospital. The gravy was nuclear yellow and the mashed potatoes were like a cold scoop of potato ice cream. The cranberry sauce was like a thimble full of red poison. It was so bad we had a great time at the absurdity of it all.

  7. Worst meal I paid for: “chili verde” at some faux-Mexican place in Moab, UT. Green corn-starch glop, with no discernable pork, and no discernable flavor.
    Close runner up was a “steak” at the Golden Corral on Hamilton in San Jose: a slab of gristle and bone the size of a slim paperback book that had only two dime-sized bits of meat, hidden under painted-on grill marks.
    Worst meal I tried to eat: steamed freshwater clams, on a canoe trip in Minnesota. Inedible rubbery texture; horrible muddy taste.
    Worst meal I cooked: big pot of Texas chili, but I put in the cumin (lots) twice.

  8. from childhood. good you had to stir THOSE memories. was at this lutheran camp thing. adults + kids. it was a meat pie thing and the crust was underdone + tasteless. OR my mom’s crock pot thing she made from a news[paper recipe. it had pork + apples + my brother + i still have bad flashbacks+ the idea of pork WITH apple is a NOOO!!!!!! but then my grandma f who was a great settlement cookbook cook ONCE fed us pork sausages w/ pork sausage gravy.
    most recent, our pizza place closed for good. had to find a new pizza place. so tried one near that has been around forever. OMG! HOW??? as we said, pizza for Norwegians. tasteless and cheese of some ungodly orange. chedder? luckily on the 2nd try, we hit a good + cheap place. tho the garlic bread sucks.

  9. Not all that long ago, I was a young whippersnapper in a Boy Scout troop, and we went down to the Florida Panhandle for a canoeing trip. It started bad, because the first day got rained out. Then we got down there, and it got worse, because the adults decided we should go to a local Golden Corral. It was the shittiest experience I’ve ever had, and my best friend in the troop got food poisoning from it. Since then, I’ve hated Golden Corral with a passion, and if I never eat there again, it will be too soon.

  10. Oh, without question, near daily in the army. I lost thirty pounds in basic, and it wasn’t from the exercise. I just couldn’t eat the food. When I got out of basic, I hoped the food would be a bit better at the training compound. Waited in chow line, getting closer and closer to the mess hall, and someone asked, “what’s for dinner?” Peered over the tops of the heads, “um, looks like cheeseburgers, but, kinda strange, must be Swiss cheese instead of American, `cause it’s white.” Finally reached the serving area… and it wasn’t cheese. Congealed grease.
    First duty station, they were feeding us out of WWII emergency stocks. Powdered eggs. Powdered milk. Canned ham. Canned chicken (only fresh fruit was grapes–the army was buying them by the shipload to help break the UFW’s strike). My joke about it was that I only saw one steak in five months, and it was on its way to the captain. (Turned out we were part of Westmoreland’s 200,000-man contingency force and there’d been no budget allotted for us.) It was shocking–and demoralizing–to read that the Navy, twenty miles down the road at Pearl, got five kinds of fresh fruit every meal, three of them local, their menu was scaled up from restaurant recipes by two CPO chefs, and their meal rotation ensured that they didn’t eat the same entree at lunch or dinner for twenty-one meals.
    I hear it’s better now with the all-volunteer army–can’t feed people crap and expect them to reenlist–but the bad food then certainly reinforced the general belief that conscription was involuntary servitude.

  11. So many lovely meals, and so few bad ones, is an excellent reminiscence.
    In recent memory the best was the buffet at the Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki. I took my mum and grandchildren to visit my son who lives in Honolulu. It was their first time to Hawaii, and it was every way splendid.
    Worst was when we broke for lunch at a Labor and Management meeting in Olympia WA and were carted off to a Royal Fork. Really quite horrid.

  12. Best meal was probably our first dinner at Jean Louis at the Watergate. We went back many times. Our last meal there, a truffle dinner, was the second best. We have a lot of good Watergate memories.
    Worst meal was either the cardboard crust pizza we had at the Philadelphia airport between flights or the amazingly greasy, tasteless fried chicken at a stop on the New Jersey turnpike.

  13. Worst food I ever ate was at the restaurants in Pocatello, Idaho. We moved there in 1995, and for awhile kept going out to eat, because surely that restaurant must have been just that one bad restaurant, or surely that was just one bad meal, or one off night?
    But no. Almost every single restaurant in town uniformly served awful food. I mean, those people could fuck up a grilled cheese sandwich. I kid you not. This one restaurant served me easy over eggs that were half-cooked, and fried in (I think) in Crisco, with tasteless gummy white bread, buttered with unsalted tasteless marge.
    And (of course) the coffee was awful.
    I believe that was the last meal we paid for in Pocatello for quite some time.
    Later, just before we moved, a gourmet restaurant opened up downtown — that place was really good, though probably not as good as it seemed to use, after 3 years of not being able to eat in a decent restaurant without driving 400 miles.

  14. My great-nephew married a vegan, so the reception was vegetarian. And not in a good way, either. It was the worst food I ever had. Apparently almost everyone else at the wedding thought so, too, because afterwards, every nearby fast food joint was crowded with wedding guests.

  15. montag, Army food was much better by the time I did my hitch in ’72-’75, at least in Germany (I don’t really remember the food in basic training or AIT).
    Best meal ever was dinner at Mon Grenier in Tarzana, around 1982 — I probably chose very naively, but lingered over every bite of a rabbit terrine and a bit of fish perfectly sauced and sprinkled with a well-matched caviar, accompanied by wines suggested by the restaurant’s owner from their astounding wine cellar.

  16. I had an absolutely amazing meal at an LA restaurant — it looks out onto one of the LAX runways and is a WWII aircraft aficionado’s dream, a museum with (really good, if not inexpensive!) food. If you’re ever in LA try the Proud Bird.
    Nasty meal? Not counting the time my ex brought me naked cold boiled spaghetti at lunch one day? Ummm. Fuzzy’s Tacos about six weeks ago. Huevos rancheros. I sent the eggs back because the whites were runny, so then I got a plate with raw eggs. Pithed me off royally.

  17. I made the mistake once, as well, going to Olive Garden. The ‘Italian Sausage’ was supposed to look like a coil, but it was actually just stamped out (like a McRib) and it looked exactly like a cartoon dog turd.
    It also tasted disgusting.
    My date had Fettucini Alfredo, and we were convinced it was made out of Cremora.
    That’s a chain I will never go to.

  18. The one and only time I ate at Olive Garden, they had run out parmesan cheese. Really? An Italain restaurant out of parmesan? Oh, that’s right, OG is neither Italian nor a restaurant.
    But the worst food had to be cold C-rations in the rain. One of the best meals I had was at an Air Force base. After weeks in the field, the food was so fucking good I wondered why anyone ever enlisted in any other branch.It sure made Army food look like monkey chow.
    As a civilian, the best I can remember among a lifetime of great meals, had to a halibut at Nana’s Restaurant in Durham NC. I volunteered to work the kitchen for two weeks if they would teach me how to cook that dish.
    We are blessed in Durham to have a variety of really fine places to eat. Visit the Bull City. You’ll be happily surprised.

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