I’m Not Lovin’ It

pupu-platterWhen I set up Back to the Fridge, the purpose of the “Pizza Night” category was to help dieters deal with the perils of eating out. The thought was simple: armed with the right information, one could enjoy a meal out from time to time without falling completely off the wagon. Originally I figured this might entail tips like “don’t eat this” or “swap this for that” or “tell the waiter to take your food to a different table.”

But tonight I thought of another good way to save calories. What if, for one reason or another, you completely lose your appetite? It might be the food or it might be the atmosphere. Of course, no one wants to go to a restaurant and get totally turned off. But in the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, you can at least go home and think, “At least I saved myself a thousand calories.” Not to mention, now you can drink a six pack before going to bed.

I used to like curry. I even tried using it to flavor a batch of Chex Mix one year. It didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted, but at least I still liked curry. Some years ago, three friends and I went out to a restaurant for lunch. I ordered some sort of curry-dominated dish. As people continued to populate the tables around us, our food hit the table. I caught a whiff of a smell. What is that? I thought to myself. Of course, it’s not unusual to get odd combinations of smells in restaurants, as long as they’re not too odd.

I gave my platter a closer sniff. Hmmm… okay, just curry. The four of us exchanged meaningful glances, each thinking, “Okay, it’s not just me.” As the, um, “scent” grew, one of my companions finally asked the obvious question, “All right. Who ordered the pu-pu platter?” By now we were pretty sure it wasn’t the food, it wasn’t the atmosphere—it was the folks at the table next to us.


I don’t think we made it halfway through our respective lunches before asking for the check and departing. The lunch didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted, but I sure don’t like curry anymore. It’s probably been six years and I haven’t had it since.

So how about you? Any restaurant stories of your own? Have you ever, quite unintended, saved yourself from a bunch of unnecessary calories due to some unexpected disaster? Tell a small fraction of the world about it in the comment form below.

13 Responses to “I’m Not Lovin’ It”

Mara said
December 12, 2008 at 7:24 am

About oh, 15 years ago, my family went out for a Chinese food dinner. I was 13, and my sister was 8. I was a little adventurous and ordered chicken and broccoli. My sister was not adventurous and ordered chicken fried rice. She ate about half of it, and then found 3 or 4 dead flies in the rice.
Fried rice became Flied rice, and I can’t order it in a restaurant to this day!

Charlie said
December 12, 2008 at 8:38 am

On second thought, maybe sharing stories isn’t a good idea. LOL.

Tuscanystone said
December 12, 2008 at 9:38 am

I’ve had cardboard in my McD apple pie and didnt eat another one for 20 years or so. I’ve had spiders in my prepared peppered steak. I’ve had food poisoning from meatballs, cod and frankfurters (not in one sitting!).

Now food poisoning is definitely a good way to save on calories!!! lol

Tusc 😉

honi said
December 12, 2008 at 12:17 pm

I had a chef salad at a HoJos in Atlanta .. and was sick from both directions through , Ga, and parts of S.C. I was a teenager.. and now at 46 years old I am proud to say I have never had another CHEF SALAD EVER!!!!!

Charlie said
December 12, 2008 at 12:43 pm

honi, I read that as, “I was sick from both directions: Georgia and South Carolina.” I thought, “Hmmm… well there are two euphemisms I’ve never heard.”

Cassie said
December 12, 2008 at 1:05 pm

I broke up with a guy I was engaged to in college, and was not able to keep anything down for 9 days. Finally, on day 10, my roommates ordered Domino’s pizza and forced me to eat a slice – ’cause who can resist pizza? I threw that up too…and the smell of Domino’s always brings me back to that gut-wrenching semester…

Cassie said
December 12, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Also had a bad experience with hot wings that somebody cooked in a deep-fryer in their garage for a Super Bowl party…unfortunately, 3 days of food poisoning was not enough to keep me away from wings since then.

johngl said
December 12, 2008 at 1:50 pm

I had totally forgotten about that pu-pu platter experience. Thanks for waking up some old brain cells!

Jerry said
December 12, 2008 at 4:05 pm

I once found part of a painted fingernail in a cantaloupe half at a Howard Johnsons. When I brought it to the waitress’s attention, I checked out her hand and realized it was broken off from her fingernail. I didn’t get sick because I didn’t eat it…. the nail or the cantaloupe.

Over the Cubicle Wall said
December 12, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Piece of a rubber pencil eraser in a hot dog from a street stand.

Lyn said
December 12, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Two weeks ago we ordered Indian food. We all ate heartily. The next day my nephew warmed the leftovers and found two HUGE clumps of “something”… something rotten and black looking with HAIR. OMG, I feel like throwing up even now just THINKING of ever eating that stuff again. UGHHH!

Kim said
December 13, 2008 at 5:46 am

My parents had a favorite steak house they liked to take my sister and me to when we were little. At one point, I became obsessed with eating chicken. I saw “chicken fried steak” on the menu at the steak house, and I ordered it. To this day, I’m not sure if it was bad gravy or bad steak, but something about it was BAD, and I threw up for two days.

Needless to say, I’ve been off the chicken-fried steak (and mostly anything fried and smothered in gravy for that matter) ever since. Just thinking about it makes me feel all hurly.

Oh, and I’ve also left a restaurant because the waiter or another patron was sporting some seriously rampant, mutant B.O.

Biz said
December 14, 2008 at 7:32 pm

Ha! I forgot about the finger nail incident Mom!