OT: What was your worst meal?

Submitted by Wendyk5 on May 19th, 2017 at 2:57 PM

I previously asked you all what your last meal would be. Presumably, that would be your ideal best meal. Today, I'm wondering if you recall your worst meal. Mine was last night, at Next in Chicago. I still haven't gotten over how incredibly awful the food was. Every course, all 17 of them. The cooking is molecular gastronomy meets high concept, and the theme was Hollywood. Sounds great, but it wasn't. Here's a list of all the things I ate in one meal: 

popcorn, fennel, guanciale, meyer lemon, aerated cheese, bacon, crisped white rice, crisped black rice, watermelon, lime oil, trout roe, kiwi, coconut, turnip, an egg shell made out of invert sugar, fava beans, golden raisin puree, poppy seeds, sardines, octopus, scallop, peanut cream, black bean cream, oregano foam, caviar, unflavored aspic, pumpernickel toasts, madeira and orange aspic, almonds, frog legs, split peas, assorted ethiopian spices, rice noodles, duck, pickled ginger, scallop cracker, ricotta cheese, taro root, olives, red pepper, eggplant, smoked pork neck, beet puree made to look like blood, edible tin foil, garlic chips, wagyu beef, onion soubise, potato, cabbage, fried heart of palm, chives, foie gras, green strawberry, granola, strawberry jam, rhubarb, raspberry, black tea, cotton candy, butter cookies, fromage blanc, saffron, sarsaparilla, tonka bean, honeydew, menthol, spicy chocolate, cigarettes and coffee chocolate, celery root, basil, parsley, elderflower, miso, concord grape, honey, verjus rouge, bubble gum, verjus blanc, passion fruit, green tea, vanilla, green tomato, black walnut, paprika, olive, butternut squash, malt soda, tart cherry, blood orange, chicory, coffee, white chocolate, twizzler, mango, bitters, and maple syrup

So what was your worst meal? 




May 19th, 2017 at 4:05 PM ^

On one of my Navy excursions, we spent a lot of time in Singapore.  Most of that place has GREAT food.  One Chinese restaurant we went to, the food was just fine, but the tea..... The first guy at the table to drink it was the kind of guy who's given to purposeful hyperbole and a slightly surreal sense of humor, and after he took a sip of the tea, he wrinkled his nose and said "this tea tastes like the zoo!"  OK, it's Schmitty saying this, it can't be that bad.  After we all had a sip, we agreed, yes, it tasted like a petting zoo.  There really is no other way to describe it.  The way a petting zoo smells, with sheep and rabbits and goats - especially goats - is the way that tea tasted.  Imagine that smell, and try and translate it to taste.  Not only did we keep drinking the stuff, we kept asking for more, because I think we all realized there's no way we'd ever experience that particular taste again.


May 19th, 2017 at 4:17 PM ^

I once went to a dinner where clearly the person who made the meal was a newcomer to the whole cooking thing. I did not know until that point that a meatloaf could withstand being cooked for two hours on clean, or at least that's what it tasted like. Also, not a lick of spice in it. The potatoes were powdered too - I saw the box in the trash. That was one of the worst in recent memory anyway. 


May 19th, 2017 at 5:00 PM ^

At the first adult dinner party I ever hosted, I made homemade pizza, with dough from scratch. I wrapped the dough in waxed paper beforehand, not realizing that waxed paper will disintegrate in time. Well it did, right into the dough. I tired to pick the pieces out, but all my guests ended up eating pizza with bits of waxed strewn throughout. 


May 19th, 2017 at 4:29 PM ^

I've had nasty food poisoning only once. It was after a meal somewhere on the strip just west of the University of Arizona campus (pre-RichRod). Two days of hell ... I think it was the salsa.


May 19th, 2017 at 4:51 PM ^

My worst meal ever was served in a fraternity while a student at UofM. Our cook at that time was a fine older gentleman from the south. A couple guys in the house were always asking him when we were going to have some good soul food. (This is the only similarity to my other story. Moral:  don't tease people unmercifully or you will get what you asked for. FTR, I was never one of the guys asking for soul food.)

Anyway, our cook finally decided after a long time to accede to the menu request made of him. He purchased several 20 pound tubs of fresh chitlins. For those of you not familiar with this fine cuisine, chitlins are made from washed and cleaned pork intestines. His method of cooking was to boil them for a good long time. The odor of those boiling chitlins as I walked into the door will never leave me . . . 

Along with the chitlins, the menu for the evening included boiled and seasoned black-eyed peas, mustard greens, boiled, slimy okra, heavily peppered cabbage cole slaw, and corn bread. The question was who could eat the most inches of chitlins. I managed to choke down several inches, maybe four, but pretty much gave up after that. I will gladly eat all the side dishes, although I would cook okra differently (saute lightly.) I will never again eat chitlins, under any circumstances.


May 19th, 2017 at 4:56 PM ^

There was something bad-tasting in every course. And the courses didn't work together so early in the meal, my palate just shut down. Some of the ingredients were so strong as to be medicinal-tasting, like the fresh oregano foam and saffron milkshake. Menthol on a melon cube tasted like cough syrup. We chose the non-alcoholic drink pairings and for two people, that was $130. They were various juices and elixirs made with absurdly paired ingredients, like chocolate, butternut squash, malt soda and tart cherry. In one glass. It was like a taste assault. 


May 19th, 2017 at 4:43 PM ^

Have worked in the industry over ten years. I have not dined at Next but I have been to Alinea/Roister/Aviary. I find it hard to fathom that "Next" could be so bad. Maybe in comparison to the price tag but seems like quite a stretch. I'd say the worst food I've had in recent memory would be the Billy goat in Chicago. They serve dry, tasteless burgers on a bun made of spackle.


May 19th, 2017 at 5:12 PM ^

Probably not THE WORST meal I've ever had but a deli near my office -- that I'd stopped going to but gave a second chance to -- screwed up an order in a way I can't fathom.


I ordered an Italian Sub ...cappicola, etc. with added bacon, lite mayo, spicy mustard and italian dressing

What I got was an Italian Sausage sub with Tuna Salad!? ...mayo, spicy mustard and italian dressing.  Then, when I approached the counter to see if I could get what I ordered (or to see if this oddity was something someone else intentionally ordered), the guy argued with me and told me that I got what I ordered.

I just left the sandwich sitting there and walked out.


Pulled up Yelp! and saw that the deli had nothing but negative reviews and I'm sure it won't survive much longer ...it can't!

True Blue Grit

May 19th, 2017 at 5:15 PM ^

when I went there 2 years ago.  I don't like Asian food very much to begin with.  But our tour company set us up in a lot of slop houses with really bland, low quality food.  And it's hard to find a lot of American fast food places over there, other than KFC.  On the bright side, when I got back to the U.S. I discovered I had lost 12 pounds!  


May 19th, 2017 at 6:50 PM ^

Ha.  I lost 7 pounds in 3 weeks while in China about 15 years ago.  still will not eat Bok Choy and haven't had chinese food beyond freezer aisle general tsos since.  I swear the food was the most bland tasting fare.  even the eggs had no flavor.  one of the last nights there we saw a Pizza Hut and even though it was crap pizza we devoured it in seconds.

Naked Bootlegger

May 19th, 2017 at 5:41 PM ^

I would kill for a dollop of trout roe right now.

Also, worst meal ever:  a chicken casserole dish made with an indescribable reddish, pungent sauce prepared by my vegetarian sister-in-law.


May 22nd, 2017 at 12:19 PM ^

That was the centerpiece of the welcome to the squadron ritual on one's first trip to the Phillipines.  I still can't quite believe thats an acutal delicacy, much more likely it's a joke played on gullible Westerners....

Cranky Dave

May 19th, 2017 at 5:56 PM ^

Cane to stay with us after my wife went back to work after having our first child and wanted to make dinners. First night she mixed spaghetti, tuna, peas (canned) and about half a jar of mayonnaise. I waited until mom went to bed to finally eat.


May 19th, 2017 at 6:26 PM ^

It's gotta be the blood sausage that my dad tried to make. Our old English setter wouldn't even eat it....and that is saying something. (That dog could make a bowl of dog food disappear faster than a 9th inning Detroit tigers lead.)


May 19th, 2017 at 6:55 PM ^

My mom made tomato aspic once. No one would eat it. It stayed in the fridge for a long time. She finally tried to pawn it off on the dog. Even he would have nothing to do with it. And so, down the disposal went the tomato aspic experiment.


May 19th, 2017 at 7:49 PM ^

Aspic is so 1960's Joy of Cooking dinner party fare. I once made a tie out of aspic in cooking school and gave it to a friend. It had a pattern made with herbs and was pretty creative, if I may say so myself. A+ on the aspic assignment. 

Like It's 19BBY

May 19th, 2017 at 6:40 PM ^

James' Diner in San Fernando, CA. The stop was impulsive and It's an establishment that's been in the Valley since the 60's, but good god. Everything tasted like a banquet frozen dinner that's been on reheat for 8 hours.


May 19th, 2017 at 6:42 PM ^

Wendy's new mozzarella chicken sandwich is the worst thing I've ever ate. Took two bites and launched it out the window.


May 19th, 2017 at 7:47 PM ^

There were olives in The Godfather course (a savory cannoli made out of taro root) and olives in one of the beverages (pressed olives, not chunky). I thought they both deserved mentions. 


May 19th, 2017 at 10:02 PM ^

"a savory cannoli made out of taro root"?  First off, what the fuck, second off, taro subbing is so 1990s that its been in freakin' terra chips that you can buy at the Piggly Wiggly for 20 years. 

Sometimes I wonder whether crap like that is put on menus because if you serve something everyone knows, they can tell when you fuck up the execution.  Ain't no hiding behind fried chicken if your oil is wrong.


May 19th, 2017 at 8:21 PM ^

The tuna fish salad sandwich I bought on a layover in Chicago. On the flight to Ontario California I develop food poisoning I was sick for the next three days. They actually notified O'Hare airport to stop selling tuna fish sandwiches nothing like spending a cross-country flight in the head on the airplane.