Have you ever had weekends that are full of one thing? Sometimes they are full of outdoor activities, dancing, coffee shops, errands, running into random friends from long ago. Sometimes my days off take on a world and theme of their own. My least favorite is when that theme is laundry. My most favorite is when that theme is anything else.

This weekend, we had the unfortunate theme of really awful food. Here is another question for you: Have you ever gone grocery shopping and then come home with nothing? Yet you’ve managed to spend 50 bucks. We do grocery shopping every other week. Otherwise, we would spend too much money every week and end up throwing out a lot of things. So, we force ourselves to eat the things we’re sick of that second week for the good of frugality. And that’s where this story starts. I don’t want to eat anything in my fridge. I don’t feel like cooking, and we’re also broke at the moment, so we don’t have a restaurant budget. But! On Friday, as we’re driving home (and having the same conversation we have every day about what we’ll eat for dinner) we pass a mexican restaurant that we’ve been to a couple of times. I’ve been unimpressed with it, but what the hell? It’s Friday! And we’re right here! And it means I don’t have to cook! Win!

The time we had gone there before, I had gotten a quesadilla and a margarita. The margarita I had to send back. Can you believe it?? It was pretty much a giant glass of tequila with salt and I couldn’t do it. This was dinner, not a frat party (ok, grandma) and I literally could not gag it down. The quesadilla’s cheese wasn’t melted all the way, subpar, but edible. This time we both got an enchilada, rice, no beans and a beer. The rice? Was pilaf. Pilaf?! At a mexican restaurant? Why? And the enchilada sauce was bland. Super bland, stupid even. And the chicken? Had bones in it. When I gave Kamel a bite, he yanked out two tiny bones from his mouth. Barf. “That’s it!” I said, “I’m never ever coming here again! Seriously. Never.” And I stopped eating.

On Sunday night I wanted Chinese food. Sigh. I wish this post got better, but it so so doesn’t. Chinese food. So! We went to a place we usually order from, but have never eaten at. The first thing that happened was I went to the bathroom. And the bathroom was SUPER gross. Which immediately made me worry about their kitchen. So, right from the start I’m creeped out. Then, after we had been seated, we were totally ignored. Like, I would try and smile at a waiter, letting them know we were ready to order, and nothing. They would look at me and keep walking. They would smile back and go into the kitchen, they would pass me to bring food to a group of people who just sat down. Kamel said, “Do you want to leave? We can just leave.” But damnit, I wanted my dinner! I was craving chinese. We should have just left.

Finally, I caught the eye of a waiter and he dashed into the kitchen, returning with a little bowl of salted nuts. “No, no…” I said, “we want to order.” So, Kamel orders steamed pork buns, and wonton soup. I ordered stir fried veggies and kung pao chicken. The waiter really didn’t speak much english so when the food came out, and the veggies we’re sitting on top of pink noodles and smelled… odd, I flagged down another waiter and asked what exactly we had ordered. It was not stir fried vegetables, this was confirmed. The kung pao chicken did not look like chicken. It looked like slices of squid. Kind of translucent and wavy on the edges.  So, I tried to eat only the vegetables that came in the kung pao chicken, but even that started grossing me out. I tried one piece of chicken, but I really couldn’t tell if it was, indeed, chicken from the texture, so I stopped. I basically didn’t eat any of what I ordered, and usually when that happens I’m filled with guilt. But this time, I didn’t give a shit. There was no way in hell I was eating any more of that food. Of course Kamel totally enjoyed his meal. I sat there glaring at mine. By the time we left I had a massive stomach ache. I will never, ever, ever order food from them again.

I went home and had a frozen waffle. It was probably the best food I had had in 3 days. Next weekend can I pick a theme of sunshine and rainbows? Maybe having more money than I know what to do with? Or being struck by a creative lightening bolt making me a genius literati for 3 days. I think I’ve done my share of yuck food for the rest of the year, can we agree? Translucent chicken? Yeah.

8 thoughts on “Fooding”

  1. Food is the bane of my existence. I know I have to eat, but I hate preparing things and I hate spending money eating out. The best way for me to deal with food is to make a schedule of what I eat during the week, then buy the ingredients for those items and then keep it simple. I’m a person who can eat the same things over and over again without getting too sick of them, so I make one big pot of chicken and veggie soup for the week’s dinner and I’m fine with it. I eat a lot of salads with raw veggies. I try to keep it healthy because I get stomachaches really easily (bonus – I stay trim). Fruit, eggs, nuts, whole-grain cereal.

    I’m sure you’ve heard this before but it’s worth mentioning again. I deal with my food headache once a week and then the other 6 days I just eat whatever I’ve prepared without thinking about it too much. It becomes second nature. I like knowing on Monday that I have dinner for Thursday already figured out. 🙂

    1. I wish I could have my shit together THAT well. Right now our schedules are a little crazy, and we’re not as together as we could be in the food department. Some weeks, we are rockstars, and other weeks we are sad sad panda’s eating cereal 2 meals a day.

      I also have a very strange relationship with food. I get sick of things SO easily and then suddenly they gross me out hardcore, and I can’t even stomach the idea of it. I may actually talk about the food thing in the near-ish future because it’s totally based on anxiety and I’m realizing my food choices that I can gag down become less and less the more out of control of my environment I feel. Needless to say, I can eat about 4 things on any given day at the moment. Strange, yes. Frustrating, SUPER yes.

      1. I get really bad food anxiety too. But mine sounds different from yours…. I get so anxious that what I will eat will give me a stomachache, that I feel safer eating only the stuff that I know doesn’t bother me (I wouldn’t outright call them “safe” foods, but.. yeah, they are “safe”). And I get anxious if I have no idea where my next meal is coming from. My body freaks out if it’s not fed protein every few hours. If I miss a meal by an hour I get headaches. It’s ridiculous. So I over-think whether or not I’m going to be able to eat, and then I give myself a headache or a stomachache or both. (It also makes me the worst partner in the world to travel with. And when I shoot weddings I always have Clif bars and almonds and dried fruit on me.) So knowing where my meals are coming from, even if I have to choke them down (which sometimes happens, I admit) is better on my psyche than just winging it. :\

        I also want to add that I make my meals for myself. My husband is a picky eater and eats a lot of “kid” foods (ham and cheese sandwiches, Cheetos, goldfish, apples, that sort of thing) with an emphasis on milk and cheese, which I [physically] can’t deal with, so he’s on his own for most of his meals. I find that it’s easier to just deal with my own food issues than to have to deal with his, too. So I can see how complicated it would be to have to plan for both you and Kamel.

    1. OR terrible service. I’ve worked in the service industry. I always busted my ass. Sometimes you have bad days, but I would have never full on ignored people!

  2. bad food in a restaurant is one of the most frustrating/depressing things. you go in with such expectations–! even if you don’t think it’s going to blow your mind, you think it’s going to be tasty and easy, and the waitstaff will take care of you.

    after my bike to work event on friday, we went to this pancake house, just totally tanked of energy because we’d all gotten up really early and spent the morning on our feet. this was like 10:30am on a Friday, at a pancake house ok. not exactly rush hour. first we waited like 10 minutes for a hostess to even appear, and then when they seated us we sat for another 10 or 15 being completely ignored. we ended up having to flag someone down, and thankfully it got better from there because even though she apparently was not our server, she went ahead and took our orders, brought us coffee pretty fast, and the food was basically good. I would have gone totally APE on someone if the food had come out like your translucent chicken.

    I aspire to be one of those people who can plan meals for the week on Sunday.. still every evening we’re like “what should we have for dinner?” hence many a meal of mac n cheese and black beans…

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