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Old 03-14-2013, 12:32 AM   #41
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It's a tie for me. Two places I will never, ever patronize again.

1. Elephant Bar, Concord, CA. They served up a variety of stir fry dishes, and had a great way to cut costs in spite of the large portions. On clearing tables, the leftovers went back into the wok. Prepared foods were sitting out, unrefrigerated or heated, for hours. "Cross-contamination", the old dip, taste, and dip again... Yuck.

http://decadeonline.com/insp.phtml?a...d_id=PR0007890
http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/contra...ections/nKwby/

2. Applebees. Any of them. DW loved them, but each and every time, I never got what I ordered. Half the time, I never got served anything but the check. When I did get something, it was bad. Really bad. A "club sandwich" that consisted of two pieces of plain white bread, 1/2 tsp of ketchup, and a single thin slice of some sandwich meat. Yeah, someone in the kitchen was having a bad day, and decided to mess with an order. But at least they're consistently bad.
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:01 AM   #42
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It's a tie for me. Two places I will never, ever patronize again.

1. Elephant Bar, Concord, CA. They served up a variety of stir fry dishes, and had a great way to cut costs in spite of the large portions. On clearing tables, the leftovers went back into the wok. Prepared foods were sitting out, unrefrigerated or heated, for hours. "Cross-contamination", the old dip, taste, and dip again... Yuck.
I've been to the Elephant Bar in Concord many times for group lunches. I didn't pick it. My employees did. It was never a good culinary experience.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:18 AM   #43
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I've visited southeast Asia 3 times, and the wonderful food there is one of the joys of travel in that region. The street food and "night markets" are great. I've not always known what I was eating, but it was always good and usually delicious except for one meal. That was in a restaurant in a small town in Laos. The simple menu had 2 unusual items on it: "Mole" and "Large Lizard" (Don't you just hate when you order a lizard and get one of those small ones?) There were 4 of us. 3 of us ordered a chicken dish, and one got a noodle dish. Nobody tried the mole or lizard, at least not knowingly. Well the chicken was awful and didn't taste like chicken. Nobody got sick, though.
The good news is if the chicken didn't taste like chicken then it wasn't lizard. I'm not sure what the bad news is.

Cheers!
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:48 AM   #44
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Years ago had a work-related dinner at an upscale seafood restaurant (pelican's Wharf) in Austin, TX. A co-worker and I ordered the blackened fish (don't remember the species). Middle of the night I was sick as a dog. Co-worker was in the emergency room. I am convinced that blackening can cover/cause many ills.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:39 AM   #45
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Haha, the Awful House! Hey, it's better at 3 am after many servings of alcoholic "appetizers." I recall a spot in Atlanta where you could stand in front of one WH and look right and left and see two more.

And yes, I think they handed out smokes if you didn't already have one.
Awful Waffle...

There are many good breakfast places, usually some Ma and Pa owned dive, or a truck stop. Biscuits and gravy at 3am, anyone?
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:23 PM   #46
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Murray's BBQ in Raleigh, though I never ate there myself. They kept the vinegar based pork BBQ in a big vat. When it got low, they would just add more, and apparently never emptied and cleaned the vat. One day (years ago) the health inspector came and decided to get a sample from the bottom of the vat. I don't remember if it was maggots or what they found on the bottom but it was alive and gross. The place is no longer open.
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:14 PM   #47
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I happened to come across this withering restaurant review in the Telegraph:

Restaurant review: Ten Room, Café Royal, London - Telegraph

What was the worst restaurant you ever ate at?
Fortunately, I have a long memory for great meals, and very short memory for bad ones. But I will say that review was totally
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:41 PM   #48
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It was long ago, but I'd have to put the Russian Tea Room in New York near the top of my list. Shockingly overpriced, inedible food, and execrable service. I have no idea why it's famous.
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:56 PM   #49
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I'm in the middle of an extended road trip and this post encouraged me to go to the grocery store and put together a hotel room special dinner for tonight. After decades on the road I prefer to not know what's going on when I dine out.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:18 PM   #50
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So many mentions of Denny's, I have a story.

At the end of a college summer, working at a forging mill, one of my work friends was getting married and we went out for his bachelor party. Around 5 in the morning, as things wrapped down, we went to a local Denny's for breakfast. A group of 5, we go one of the big round tables off one one side. Soon after we were seated, a group of motorcycle gang members was seated at the other big round table next to us. They were the real thing, unshaven, chains, grease, looking for trouble. Their talk was so vulgar and foul-mouthed that after a few minutes the night manager came out to challenge them. Walking up, he was saying aloud "management reserves the right to seat any party, or ask anyone to leave". He took one look, face to face, at the gang, gulped, then turned to us, all college kids wondering what was happening, and threw us out. The bikers thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen, I've never heard any laugh so loud since then.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:11 PM   #51
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aw gee....i have a Denny's story, too...

Last time we ate at one was about 5 years ago after a baseball game. Our DS, 18 at the time, returned from the restroom, pretty white faced.

A Denny's employee had asked him to look at his pee. "What does it mean when it's cloudy like this?"

Traumatizing for all of us, but especially for DS.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:34 PM   #52
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Murray's BBQ in Raleigh, though I never ate there myself. They kept the vinegar based pork BBQ in a big vat. When it got low, they would just add more, and apparently never emptied and cleaned the vat.
That reminded me of a place in Memphis, Dyers Burgers, they deep fry the burgers in supposedly 100yr old grease. Never been there but reported to be great burger.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:52 PM   #53
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In 1983 DW and I were visiting Jackson, WY and stopped for breakfast at this downtown restaurant I had eaten at several years earlier. Nice rustic looking place, all stained wood with elk horns decorating everywhere. Except this time was different. We arrived about 10 am- inbetween breakfast and lunch, so the place was almost empty. And nearly every table was un-bussed, and every plate on every un-bussed table had partially eaten food on it (obviously we missed THAT clue). Our food came, and we could barely get a few bites down, before we realized how terrible it was. And our food became added to the collection of uneaten food distributed around the tables of the restaurant. On the way out was when we noticed the state of all the other tables. DOH!
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:07 AM   #54
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I'm in the middle of an extended road trip and this post encouraged me to go to the grocery store and put together a hotel room special dinner for tonight. After decades on the road I prefer to not know what's going on when I dine out.
A few times while traveling we have stopped at Costco for a roasted chicken or pizza. After watching Kitchen Nightmares or the local TV station's restaurant reports a few times and having worked in a few restaurants and country clubs one tends to get a little nervous about eating in restaurants.

Cheers!
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:01 AM   #55
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In college, I worked summers at the last Howard Johnson's that was actually owned by HJ himself (all the others were franchised and operated by HJ Junior). Howard lived in Florida, but came up north every year just to show his face and check things out.

Our ham salad was one of our best sellers. The state law in those days was that 40% of the meat in ham salad had to actually be ham. There was no specific requirement for what the rest of it could be. So....

Whenever a piece of meat (mostly frankfurters, but whatever) fell to the floor in the kitchen, it was immediately tossed in the grinder and wound up in the ham salad.

I'll always remember one day when we were about to be visited by the health department inspectors. There was a regular sequence to their visits, so each restaurant owner would call the next guy on the list to warn him.

Our manager grabbed the tray of ham salad and handed it to the newest employee. He said "Here, take this and go away for about three hours. Don't come back before then; I don't care where you go as long as it's away from here."

By the time he returned, the health inspectors had finished their visit, and the ham salad tray was returned to its place for further sales.

I have a LOT of stories from that place.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:07 AM   #56
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A few times while traveling we have stopped at Costco for a roasted chicken or pizza.
Costco pizza is one of my favorites, especially for the price. I always make sure to tell them I want something that just came out of the oven.

For my wife & I our worst experience has been Joe's Crab Shack. Bad service, mediocre food, and we both ended up with food poisoning. Never, ever going back there.

Ruby Tuesday is 2nd worst just for service. I think their food is OK but we always seem to wait forever for our "server."
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:23 PM   #57
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Here's mine:

deutsches restaurant in tokyo - YouTube

The food was quite tasty, but a HUGE rat ran down a column and onto our table. As we left, I saw another huge rat running out the front door, pictured in the video. I swear that rat was at least 0.5 kg.
I think you win.
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:29 PM   #58
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Thanks Ha!

It was a sumo rat.....

Meadbh

Eating at home a lot lately......
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:04 PM   #59
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To me it seems that mentioning any US restaurant here just proves you are really spoiled. I had several experiences with the late soviet era Russian and Polish railway station restaurants in early 80's and the culinary experiences were "remarkable". The items on the plate were named such as mashed potatoes, dumplings, ground meat burger, etc., but did not have any recognizable appearance, texture or flavor to resemble the name. However, the food was served piping hot so presumably safe, and cost less than $0.05 per plate so I emptied my plates just as you can expect a 19 year old backpacker would.

Also, to one-up on the list of rodent stories: about 10 years ago I was having dinner in one of the best Chinese restaurants in Manila, and a rodent size of an adult cat (not familiar with the local species) came through the kitchen door and ran across the main restaurant floor. The white coat wearing wait staff chased the thing out the front door and most of the restaurant patrons were highly amused. The food was absolutely delicious and nobody in my dinner party got sick.

Now, having been an adventurous eater and global traveler in the past I could tell you about the half dozen food poisonings I have had, but since they were not all that bad culinary experiences (during the first pass) I will just skip that one.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:11 PM   #60
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It was long ago, but I'd have to put the Russian Tea Room in New York near the top of my list. Shockingly overpriced, inedible food, and execrable service. I have no idea why it's famous.
I was there probably 20 years ago on the companies dime, and while the location was terrific and the ambiance nice. I remember being completely underwhelmed.

I also think the same about Ruth Chris Steakhouses. I think I've eaten their 4 times in 3 cities and always felt it was overpriced and the steaks only a couple steps up from Sizzler.
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