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Old September 5th, 2020, 12:18 AM
Total Noob Total Noob is offline
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Horrible food

Though I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a foodie, I'm a fan of the late Anthony Bourdain, who ate everything and like most everything, from $1k 3 star restaurants to food carts in neighborhoods with checkered histories and questionable regulation of sanitary practices. It is pretty inspiring.

That kind of freedom is cool but a little further than I am prepared to go, both in terms of how risky the prep may be to how costly. I've gotten sick eating food that I shouldn't have and eating food that was not cooked correctly, and while Bourdain denied getting sick except on one occasion, there were also hints that he didn't really mean he was never sick. He made numerous mentions of days spent on the toilet (the "thunder pot.")

Anyway, I try new foods at restaurants and candidly had a lot of meh, maybe because I wasn't paying for a Michelin star or because the food wasn't all that to begin with, though meh is neck and neck with surprisingly good for something unknown or an animal I never thought of eating previously.

The combo of good and meh is something I can live with, but on three distinct occasions, the food was horrible and beyond horrible and I should not have had to pay for the experience.

The rule when I was growing up was that if restaurant food was horrible, you didn't have to pay. Now I'm not so sure that cops won't arrest you any time they are summoned to any "quality of life" incident and won't shoot you in the back for the slightest amount of guff when they take you away to a coronavirus trap.

Anybody have any ideas?

The three occasions were long ago, but they are the type of thing that may happen when closed bankrupt restaurants end up in new hands after the pandemic break.

1. Indian food at a birthday party. Guest of honor is a vegetarian, but I ordered a meat dish that, very kindly said, was revolting in every particular. The various ingredients were not distinguishable by sight, taste or texture; I could not figure out what was meat and what was a potato. The whole thing was puke green and smelled of rotting corpses, and it was all I could do not to lose my lunch at the table after the first morsel.

Had it been other than a family affair, I would have made a giant scene and left in a huff, and probably insulted the morons who were eating literal garbage. Fortunately I was not paying the bill but I almost took back the birthday present for forcing me to endure the event and continue to smell death warmed over.

The tricky part of this incident is that there are people who really like that food -- mostly English people without their own cultural food I gather -- so clearly there is no accounting for taste. Plenty of people like disco, heroin, tatooes and soccer too. The French famously love Jerry Lewis. So this comes as a gray area between food that is subjectively passable to some though objectively inedible to anyone not drunk or lobotomized, and maybe I should have had to pay for it because it was simply an experiment for me, not for the whole world.

2. Seafood on a vacation trip with inlaws in Washington, DC. I ordered some kind of baked fish that may or may not have mentioned in the menu that it was seasoned with fennel. I had never had fennel and did not know what to expect, other than to figure it some small notes to make an otherwise reasonably bland dish interesting.

When it came out, the fish was covered in fennel with the look and consistency of pine needles and it tasted like it had lived its life in a pool of bitter eucalyptus cough medicine. This is not a scenario in which some crazy person might have liked it. It was simply disgusting. I was not experimenting with the food; the chef was experimenting with me.

I tried sending it back and that was refused. Again I would have made a scene but I was afraid of getting arrested and locked up overnight in a city in the middle of the AIDS epidemic. But since the waiter had a part in refusing to take the dish back, I left no tip and had Roy Rogers after that.

3. Some years later, we fell into a neighborhood fish place at my son's baseball tournament, and most of the items on the menu involved fish and pasta, the latter of which is off my diet because I am diabetic. What was available to me was battered fish and "spiced" chips. This is already pretty far out on my carb limits if the dish is not mostly fish.

What came out was a relatively small morsel of fish and mound of chips that were "spiced" with confectionery sugar, the kind of thing spread on donuts. According to the waitress, "sugar" is a spice notwithstanding the dichotomy indicated in the famously authoritative limerick that clearly distinguishes them into separate genomes ("Sugar and spice and everything nice...)" I tried sending those back and was refused until I saw the manager who concurred with the waitress but nonetheless sent me fresh unsweetened fries. No tip for her either.

I get it that I live in the real world. Unplanned things happen. Bored cooks or cheap shops can send out crap. I don't mind paying I am experimenting with new food but anything that is inherently inedible should not result in extortionate threats should you fail to be willing to pay for a contract that has been breached. I guess it is possible nowadays to protest a bill for bad food later with the credit card company, though I have no idea if that affects your credit rating, and filing a case with the company and justifying your position for not wanting to pay is burdensome and comes with limits under the credit card agreement and Federal regulations.

What do you all think about this?

Last edited by Total Noob; September 5th, 2020 at 12:35 AM.
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Old September 5th, 2020, 03:19 AM
Ned Seagoon's Avatar
Ned Seagoon Ned Seagoon is offline
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Amusing post,thank you. Sugar as a spice??
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Old September 5th, 2020, 08:42 AM
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The Dude The Dude is offline
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A very g00d thread!!!!!!!
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