Sunday, January 29, 2006

Regrettable Foods

From BigPhil, we bring to you today for your browsing pleasure: Lilek's Gallery of Regrettable Food. Relive the good old days when dutiful 1950's housewives aspired to impress their Leave it to Beaver families with delicious meals of pimiento olives, seasoned hamburger meat in aspic jelly and Mashed Potato Surprise!

In the spirit of these festivities, I present to you today:

Dave's Top 5 List of Regrettable Foods

#5 – Costco Bananas, LA/SF, CA
There are 3 things wrong with the bananas from Costco: they’re green, they stay green, and they come in 6-lb bags. When my parents came up to visit SF last year, they decided to bring some of their Southern California Costco bounty for my fiber-deprived soul. And so it came to pass that three pounds of lime green bananas came to reside on my kitchen counter. Three months later, they were still green. Two months after that, they were green and wrinkly. A month later, they were brown and wrinkly. Apparently, they drew the “Proceed directly to brown, do not pass yellow” card. Bleah.

End result: I threw them out. I never ate any.

#4 – Carnitas Brambory, Frankie’s Bohemian Café, San Francisco, CA
“We should go to Frankie’s,” Trevor said. “They’ve got this carnitas plate there for about nine bucks? It’s pretty sweeet.” So we did. However, I ordered the wrong carnitas plate – while everyone else got the regular carnitas plate with tortillas and traditional fixings, I ordered the carnitas brambory. It was a semi-crispy potato and zucchini julienne pancake loaded with sour cream and cheddar cheese. The meager portion of carnitas underneath said pile of lactose was merely an afterthought for the orgy of dairy products that awaited me.

I’m lactose-intolerant.

End result: the runs. I have, however, returned to Frankie’s multiple times for the real thing which is, in fact, pretty sweeet. Great burgers, too. Haven’t tried the other brambories, though; a bit scared.

#3 – Cajun-Grilled Catfish, North Carolina
I forgot the name of the restaurant we went to. But it was late at night, and it was the only one open. As I bit into a large chunk of my Cajun-grilled catfish, my molars encountered a tough, sort of squishy thing within the meat itself. It felt like a balloon of sorts that stretched upon mastication, then burst open with an audible pop, releasing a gush of fluid into my very shocked mouth. My thoughts:

  1. That felt like a cyst.

  2. I just took parasitology.

  3. Don’t tapeworms have a cystic stage in most animals?

  4. … shiiiiiiiiiit.

End result: spat out the mouthful of fish in question. Later found out that fish tapeworms don’t have a cystic stage, so it couldn’t have been D. Latum. Still, I don’t really care to find out what it was. And besides, the food on the rest of the trip made up for that one misstep in spades. Mmmmmm… ribs…

#2 – Pan Fried Razor Clams, Ivar’s, Seattle, WA
For some reason, the Ivar’s I remembered from my childhood did not age well into the new millennium. I ordered the pan-fried razor clams, which were gummy, chewy, smelled of rubber, and tasted like soap. The half-hearted breading drowning in a pool of its own oil didn’t help matters either. I was treating my cousin Clarence to dinner that night, and I felt terrible that I had picked such a shitty restaurant. Even the clam chowder, which had blown me away as a child, didn’t really do it for me. Maybe it was an off day for the kitchen…

End result: declined the doggy bag, left a good tip for the waiter, and suffered indigestion. Two days later, I went to Ray’s Boathouse and had some truly awesome seafood. Wow. Wowie wow wow wow!

And last but not least…

#1 – Hamachi Nigiri, Seattle, WA
Previously frozen, then thawed, then frozen, then thawed, massaged by warm hands twice, and then sliced and served to me as part of a bento box lunch special. Biting into this elegant morsel felt like sinking my teeth into a sponge that had been soaking all day in the seafood section at a Chinese market. WRONG. I sent it back to the kitchen and was given something else – slightly better, but still retaining a bit of the fishy sponge action. At this point, I was so hungry that I didn't care anymore. I ate it.

End result: my GI tract slammed shut like a book. For 2 days I couldn’t keep any food or liquid down, and I was inflicted with the worst case of food poisoning I have ever had to date. I ended up cancelling my flight back to SF and stayed an extra day just to recover. Lost 3-4 pounds in the span of 2 days. That’s one hell of a diet.


So there you have it, my own shortlist of 5 regrettable foods from the past few years. Happy Chinese New Year, everybody!


At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Phil Haack said...

After reading that, I'm never going to want to eat seafood again. The nigiri and the catfish - disgusting.


Carnitas, on the other hand - DEEEELicious.

At 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The restaurant (chain) to avoid in North Carolina is....


Hope this jogs your memory, David.

At 11:44 PM, Blogger simon said...

when were you up here in seattle? i've never been to ray's boathouse but i've heard it's good. i could have pointed you to some good sushi spots though.

dude, i need your mailing address.


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