Welcome sinners and saints to another edition of the Monday Confessional. This week we tackled the question: What restaurant do you refuse to eat in and why? The world is full of choices, but invariably, you’ll end up out with friends and despite a bevy of opportunity to get your grub on at any of several delightful establishments serving a wonderful selection of delicious food, your idiot friends somehow always suggest a place you hate. Here’s a small snapshot of the places CJS staff and readers don’t like to go.
E Dagger: For the longest time, I refused to eat at Chili’s. The reason? I drank too much Dr. Pepper and threw up in the booth when I was 11. Naturally, I blamed it on Chili’s. Fast forward 8 years and I’m dating a girl who won’t shut up about their chicken enchilada soup (it’s not even on the menu, you have to ask for it), so like every other pussy whipped dork on the planet, I dragged my ass back to Chili’s and found their food not only non-vomit inducing, but downright adequate as well. The above mentioned soup is terrific, and their queso is outstanding. Tremendous! Chili’s is back on my good side.
The nexus of the shitty food universe in terms of the Denver bar scene has got to Croc’s. Affectionately called “a trash can” by our buddy Mackenzie, every time I end up downtown, I somehow find myself at this dump and I never know why. The Mexican food sucks, the drinks are fairly cheap (it’s one semi-redeeming quality), and at about 9:30 it turns from vaguely reprehensible restaurant to shitty dance club. I have no idea why every night out downtown always seems to incorporate Croc’s when a far superior choice on every level – Pat’s Cheesesteaks – is right downstairs from Croc’s, but it does. And because I’m tired of complaining about it, I usually go along. So, whatever, I guess.
However, the place I currently refuse at all costs to eat is the Old Spaghetti Factory downtown. I remember going here as a kid and thinking the food sucked then. If the robust seasonings and eye popping flavor of Chef Boyardee are too much for you, then the Old Spaghetti Factory will be right up your alley as they plop a lifeless pile of overcooked spaghetti in front of you covered with tomato slop that tastes like it’s been transported by helicopter from any shitty elementary school cafeteria in suburban America.
I hate this place. I hate the very idea of this place. It’s made to look like a historic building, but it’s not. It’s a chain. There are 35 of these things across 14 states, all of them slinging the same crappy food in the same stupid ambiance with the same bratty kids running around all over the place. The one in Denver smells like stale beer, vomit, and emasculated fathers. It costs you 10 bucks to eat food you could have prepared yourself. There’s no parking. And worst of all, it’s right by my office so CJS Regular Ferris, and Twodogszk’s girlfriend always bust my ass wanting to meet there for lunch. The answer is the same now as it will forever be: Hell fucking no.
Lee S. Hart: I refuse to eat at Jack in the Box. This used to not even be an option as it wasn’t around Colorado for a long time thanks to a tasty outbreak of e.coli. But then they came back. They built one near the K-hole’s I worked at. For seven years there was nothing close enough to get in the 30 minutes meal breaks we had. Then they opened this shit hole. I decided I would give Jack in the Box three chances to make me believe in eating there. Chance one was a special opening they had for only the nearby businesses, e.g. K-hole’s and Home Depot. This experience seemed fine. The food was alright, the service wasn’t bad, and they had Strawberry Fanta.
The next trip I took someone’s advice and tried their two tacos for 99 cents. That was a mistake. I’m willing to bet the Jack in the Box tacos are nothing more than the rejected Del Taco tacos. Yeah that’s right, I am under the impression Del Taco makes tacos that do not meet Del Taco’s already low standards, but still looking to make some money from them sells them to Jack in the Box.
My third and final visit to Jack was the breaking point. The service was slow, they were out of ketchup, and the food still didn’t taste great. On top of all of this I always felt wrong about being in there. I can’t explain it. I just felt dirty or immoral, kind of like I feel when I go into a porn shop. I always hoped nobody I knew saw me going in there.
I now understand, at least the second part, of when Primus sang, “Hang out at the Jack in the Box, but eat at Taco Bell.” So I eat at Taco Bell.
And now we turn it over to three of our readers with their own restaurant refusals. Lady E gives a shout out to Senor Limon who’s still busy cracking skulls, Deuce wonders about the ridiculous profit margins of one lousy place, and Augie.Maestas does not share the affection that Eric Cartman does of a certain metro-Denver landmark. Read on and enjoy!
Lady E: While Senor Limon has professed his hatred in the past for McDonald’s and love for Burger King, I need to reverse his eating decisions for myself. I cannot stand Burger King, I refuse to eat it, even when it is the only option, like in the Vegas airport. I would rather steep my hangover in an empty stomach until I get back home than eat Burger King. And why? I got food poisoning once, and every time I’ve eaten it after that, I feel sick as a dog. No need to compound the already topsy-turvy stomach full of alcohol with disgusting fast food that will likely give me food poisoning too.
Deuce: I usually like all restaurants. I can always find something I want to eat, but there is one that I can’t stand, not so much because of the food, but because of the gouging that goes on there. Souper Salad is the most overpriced place I’ve ever been to for what it is. This is what they’re telling you when you sit down…. “Here’s some salad fixings we didn’t have to cook, we just poured it into some bowls. Also here’s some soup we just poured from huge cans/jars into warmers. And lastly, potatoes, the cheapest side dish we can buy by the ton. And your total is $8.95, oh you wanted a drink? Well, your total is $11.50.” Really? You could have bought all these items at the grocery store for a family of 4 and spent less than $11.50. I realize that all restaurants charge more than just the cost of the ingredients, that’s how they make their money. But in this case, with the extreme lack of preparation needed, this lunch should have cost 6, maybe 7 bucks and they’d still be making 100% profit.
Augie.Maestas: Let me tell you of one place I will never eat at, however, when someone from out of town comes in, they always want to go there like it is the best think since Mac and Cheese. A place that is not only dirty, but you can get better food in the frozen food section at your local grocery store. A restaurant that only has two things on the menu you can eat and not get sick. A place where little kids throw up and use the bathroom in a cave. A video arcade and half naked dudes jumping from cliffs.
The atmosphere is great though…but the food is the worst you ever had and you wonder why you even ordered anything…oh wait, that is because it is mandatory to order food before you sit down at your table.
I will not ever eat at Casa Bonita again, even if that means I don’t get to enjoy the atmosphere ever again. I will order my sopapillas and virgin strawberry daiquiri somewhere else.
Why Augie is ordering a virgin strawberry daiquiri at all, we don’t know, but yes, Casa Bonita is generally terrible. Although somewhere Butters thinks it’s the end of the world and Eric Cartman is dying a little bit inside. One additional place to avoid at all costs if you’re traveling to Vegas is without a doubt the Rumjungle. Dagger wrote about it in his Vegas field trip article, and Hart bitched and moaned about it in a different Confessional, but we can’t emphasize this enough: The Rumjungle is an overpriced hangover in a glass and if you go there, you’re begging for trouble. CJS has warned you.
Switching gears slightly, let’s tackle this week’s Confessional topic. It’s one so easy it’s bound to be difficult as hell. We saw this question on the AV Club a couple of months back, and felt compelled to pass it along to our readers. What is your favorite song? You’re not allowed to name 5 of your favorites or even 2. Define it any way you want, but answer it honestly – What is your ONE favorite song? Simple as that. Send us a well-written paragraph at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your ONE favorite song. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Hart & Dagger
11 May 2009 CJS Staff