Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm Afraid This Means Goodbye

At 6:30 PM last night my husband and I had dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants. By 1 AM we'd agreed we could never go there again. This makes me very sad indeed, but it's how we've always reacted to bouts of food poisoning -- we cut the offending dish/place off cold turkey.

Our harsh approach first took form back in 2001, when one of two meals we had in Bali led to my husband being freakishly sick for several months (look forward to that full story in a future book!). We'll never know for sure, but we think it was either chicken satay or this crazy beef-heavy Balinese feast that did him in... I partook in the former but not the latter, so I've always been convinced it was the beef feast. Either way, my husband's never touched chicken satay since. Same goes for scallops, which he had a bad experience with on Cape Cod in 2003. And pretty much anything else that makes either of us nauseous afterward. No second chances!

Last night we both ate the same thing: the "avocado crostini" starter (pictured above) -- I had one of them and he had the other three. Then we both ordered the pumpkin pasta -- which is so, so, so good, and is the main reason why we've returned to this place again and again over the years. It's pumpkin-stuffed ravioli with pine nuts and squares of butternut squash and this great, barely there brown-sugarish sauce. My husband finished his plate and I took half of mine home to warm up for lunch today.

That's not gonna happen now... because a few hours after dinner, as Badlands was drawing to a close (we're going through a big Terrence Malick film phase and had popped that DVD in as soon as we got home), I pretty much passed out. Meaning that I literally could not stop myself from falling asleep, it was as though I'd been hit with the proverbial ton of bricks. When I woke up a few hours later, I felt feverish and faint. So I pretty much just went back to bed after telling my husband about what was going on.

The next time I woke up it was to the sound of somebody throwing up in the distance. (Kind of like waking up to the sound of the ocean, or birds in the rainforest... or NOT.) When I came to my senses I realized that my husband had gone to our downstairs bathroom and was sick. Eventually he returned and mumbled, "We're never going to that place again."

So there you have it. I sadly dumped my leftovers into the trash this morning and am kind of mad at myself for insisting we go to that place last night. My husband hadn't been into it because we were just there last week when Miss M was visiting us from NYC. And now we'll never go again. Boo!

Is this how you guys handle bouts of food poisoning? Will you ever try the restaurant and/or meal again or would you rather take no chances?

- e


Cathy Fitz said...

We react the same way as you do - that's it, no second chances. And, PLEASE, give the name, or at least a hint, of the restaurant so I won't go there myself. Are the initials "S.T." on Halsted? Have you considered writing a review on Yelp?

PS: I'm a big fan of yours, E (but not in a "Misery"-stalking way. ;)

Erika (aka "e") said...

Cathy - You are correct!

I thought about calling them just as a heads-up in case others were reporting the same thing and they needed to narrow down the culprit... but then I didn't. I'm definitely not going to write a negative review because it really is a great restaurant and we've had no issues for years -- any place can have a bad night or just have one thing go a little bit off. Plus, even though it does seem weird that both my husband and I weren't feeling well afterward, I didn't really experience full-blown food poisoning symptoms, and he's got SO MANY weird digestive issues ever since Bali that I'm not sure a "normal" person would've gotten sick.

Maybe all of my years waitressing at The O.G. (aka The Olive Garden) back in the day has made me sympathetic to restaurants! (We had an outbreak of food poisoning at the OG I worked at and they shut down for like a week and we had to clean everything from top to bottom -- threw out TONS of stuff, it was insane.)

I didn't put the name of the restaurant in the post because I honestly didn't want to dissuade anyone from going there. I'm cursing myself for insisting we go last night because I feel like it was just bad luck and if we hadn't gone then it wouldn't be on the Banned List now! : (

And thanks for being a fan of my writing! That is always nice to hear. I will be on the lookout for chicks wielding sledgehammers just in case, though. (Kidding!)

- e

krnic1972 said...

When I was 14 I got food poisoning and had to spend 3 days in the hospital. I didn't go back to that restaurant until about 20 years later and didn't eat the hamburger. I totally agree with you on the whole boycotting of bad experiences.

Marc said...


I know i basically always ask you about off topic lost stuff on this website, but are you pretty pumped that Evangeline Lily is casted in the new Hobbit movies? Thoughs?

Sherylm said...

I think most people react like you and your husband...I can't even think about wild rice since I got sick after a dinner party with my parents' friends when I was about 13 or 14. The problem is, however, that, in fact, the food poisoning did not necessarily come from your last meal. Food poisoning can take several days to a week before symptoms appear so while you do throw up your latest meal, it may not be that food which was the source of the problem. That's why in such cases, like the recent one in Germany showed so clearly, it is so hard for authorities to pinpoint the source of food poisoning, except in those rare instances where everyone at a party or a dinner at a restaurant all get sick at once. So while you might not be able to return to that restaurant because of the yuck factor, you are right not to give the name since you might be unjustly maligning them.

Was your husband tested for intestinal amoebae after the problem in Bali? They can stick with you a very long time and since they are not very common in the US, doctors often overlook that possibility.

Anyway, I hope you are both feeling better soon.

Kelly, UK said...

To never go back again seems a bit harsh to me (is 'a bit harsh' an English expression?) I would go back again after a while - not as long as 20 years! But then I was pregnancy sick almost every day for 9 months for both of my pregnancies, and it doesn't seem such a big deal to me anymore. Then again, I haven't had food poisoning ever, so maybe that's worse?

Alisha Rene' said...

I ban it like the Pluto bans the sun from warming its cold, cold heart. Happened to me for my birthday dinner roughly 7 years ago, Never been back since.

maikib said...

where was it?? sucks that it was a favorite place-- but i'm with you. one bout of food poisoning, and that's it for me. it's i'd rather have a cold for months than even one night of food poisoning. it's the worst.