5 Insane Dining Experiences From Across the Country
These restaurant, cafe and bar experiences from across the country go beyond finding a hair in a salad or a rookie server. They’re completely wrecked.
Notice that none of Houston’s restaurants are on the list. That’s because Houston knows what’s up.
Where you bean?
Last month, after a night of camping near Charleston, West Virginia, I found a so-called “hip” indie coffee shop in WV’s capital city, but the terrible Americano I received was so diluted that I could nearly see the bottom of the cup through the translucent-like brown water.
An hour later, I stopped in Huntington, the home of Marshall University, which equals at least one cool, non-corporate coffee shop. Or so I thought.
I found a place that had multiple choices of espresso. After telling the barista what I liked in an uptight coffee, she brought over some beans that were contained in a sleek glass vessel and allowed me to smell.
This place is serious. Or so I thought.
I found a seat in the adjoining room and quickly got lost in a work task. Thirty-five minutes later, I realized I had never received my drink.
“I know you never got your coffee, but by the time it had brewed, it was cold,” said the flustered barista, who had a refund waiting at the counter. “I’m sorry. Here’s your money back. Please come back sometime because the coffee here is really good!”
Wait, what? How about just make me another one? Or at least walk a few steps over to where I’m sitting and tell me what had happened (and not waiting until 35 minutes after the fact)?
I was so flustered by the weirdo encounter that I didn’t protest. Instead, I went to the car, grabbed the half-consumed brown-watered coffee I had purchased in Charleston and brought that inside to drink.
Starved after doing dumb tourist stuff in Hollywood years ago with a friend who lives in Los Angeles, we found a fast-casual-type place on Melrose Avenue. At the counter, we ordered a chicken dish, paid, received our change and turned to find a table, when the cashier stopped us.
“We’re out of chicken”
“We’re out of chicken.”
In order to illustrate the ridiculousness of this scenario, here’s the one instance where we’ll name the establishment: California Chicken Café.
Texas Monthly magazine cover
A few months ago, while in Fort Worth for a wedding, a friend and I found a place along the redeveloped Magnolia area to eat. We sat on the outdoor patio and shared a picnic table with two other diners.
It took about 15 minutes for the server to swing by. I ordered a beer and then waited. And waited.
About 15 minutes later, the server told me that they were out of that particular beer. I ordered a different one and we also placed a food order.
Ten minutes later, the server returned with a half-pint of beer instead of a full 16 ounces. “The keg just blew,” she said. “Would you like something else?”
“Excuse me,” said one of the customers, who sat at the other end of the picnic table, to the server. “When will our food be coming?” From what I could deduce, they had ordered food shortly before we arrived – some 40 minutes previous – and it still hadn’t come to the table.
“We were in Texas Monthly and so we’ve been slammed,” said the server. “It’s a small kitchen.” The diners seem to accept this explanation and went back to chatting over their beers.
In the end, our food arrived and we ate that food, which was just okay and definitely not magazine-anointed worthy, before our dining companions got their dinner at all.
“Fame” comes at a cost, I guess.Next Page
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Houston dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.