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San Diego Worst Meals of 2006

Saw the "Worst Meal of 2006" thread on the Los Angeles board and thought it would be fun to start one for San Diego. How about SD Chowhounds, what's the worst meal you've have this past year? Doesn't necessarily had to have been at a restaurant.

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  1. Mardi Gras Cafe on Midway. I'd been to the MGC a few times before to get a somewhat acceptable Oyster Po'Boy (not great, but any Po'Boy in a storm...). Last time I made the unfortunate mistake of trying their Jambalaya. Awful. I can do better starting with Rice A Roni. And their sticky tables are disgusting.

    Some close runner-ups:

    The new Hawaiian chain fast-food place on Sports Arena near Rosecrans. OK, I get it, loads of white rice with loads of bland liquid smoke-flavored mystery meat for a cheap price. If I didn't care what I ate and wanted to weigh 400 lbs, I'd eat here 3 times a day. As it is, I'll pass. I'm a huge Moko-Loco fan, and I'm not even tempted to bother trying it here.

    Bud's Cajun (next to the Waterfront) - a disappointment relative to its rep, though an improvement over Mardi Gras Cafe. Do all Cajun restaurants think it's cool to have sticky tables? I may not be able to do better starting with a box of Rice A Roni, but it'd be a close run...

    3 Replies
    1. re: mikec

      Sigh, I guess that's the problem when you try to do a yearly overview in mid-December, there's always a chance that something better or worse comes up. Kindof like voting for the NFL Pro Bowl before the end of the season.

      Anyway, maybe not the worst "meal" of the year, but definitely worst dish of the year, yesterday for lunch at Vagabond: Their Chinese Calamari appetizer. WTH were they thinking? Were the busboys cooking? Horribly rubbery overcooked Calamari with what seemed like a whole head of garlic cloves (without the papery stuff removed?), a whole package of dried chili peppers with enough sugar to put a diabetic into immediate shock. Served by itself without any rice to somewhat ameliorate the heat. Awful. Inedible.

      If this is an example of what they're going to do in their rotation, this (if it hasn't already) will become a big pass.

      1. re: mikec

        I had the calamari appetizer for dining at Vagabond and it was actually one of the more successful dishes on the table. It wasn't rubbery and the garlic/chili hit not bad. Unfortunately, a couple of the other dishes weren't so great and I was wondering who was in the kitchen cooking. Vagabond is a much needed addition to that neighborhood, but it think it tends to be a bit inconsistent.

        1. re: DiningDiva

          Sorry to hear you've been disappointed. I've been there about 6 times, since they opened. Been pleased with each dish I've tasted, including the calamari appetizer. I guess any place can have a bad night.

    2. World Curry in PB. That was an entertainment coupon meal and I went there a few times before over the last years and it wasn't great but this time it was just really, really lousy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: honkman

        Really? I'm sorry to hear that. It was really good when I lived in SD, about six years ago. I loved their Japanese curry. I'll agree that the service was spotty.

      2. AR Valentien.

        No complaints about the food. We were a party of 2 celebrating our 50th birthdays. It was an early Sunday evening and the place was half empty. We were seated in a side room with two families with 5 kids between them. The kids were badly behaved and the parents oblivious. The noise escalated throughout the evening. Our waitress pretended it just wasnt happening and then tried to make light of it after the families left (at that point we were halfway through our entrees). She became defensive when I expressed my dissapointment at the seating: "we dont discriminate". Then the manager came over and tried to pawn us off with some dessert wine. He was also defensive and repeated "we dont discriminate". I think the hotel should avoid issuing judgemental statements, but whatever. I wrote a respectful letter to the hotel explaining my dissapointment at the experience. Never heard squat and I will never go back to AR Valentien.

        1. Blue Fire (Grill?) in Carlsbad. We went during Restaurant Week, though I don't really know why. (Fortunately, that wasn't our only reservation for the week.)
          I just remember the food being "blah." I can't imagine paying full price to eat there. As it was, $30 was far too much. I will say that their dessert trio included an nice green tea creme brulee, but that was the only high point.

          1. Maybe its just not my cup of tea -- but the dduk bok ki (stir fried rice cake) at the Korean restaurant in Zion market. Think ultra-dessert-sweet chef boyardee sauce. Panachan passable though.