Bodily fluids, expired foods, and vermin are all kinds of thing that you hope doesn't touch or even go near your food. You hold on to the hope that health inspectors are doing their jobs and restaurants have no choice but to maintain high health standards. No dice. These are some of the ways your dining experience is pretty fucking gross.
1. Spit In Your Drink
If only it was a myth that pissing off your server can get a loogie in your drink. Unfortunately the legend is true. I've witnessed this, and it's just the most nasty thing that someone can do. You're not going to notice it if it's swirled around well in a drink or a soup dish, and while you're enjoying that flavour, little do you know that it's been seasoned with spit. Hopefully your aggressor doesn't have a cold.
2. It’s Not Really Vegetarian
Non-vegetarian restaurants are usually really terrible about being nice to their vegetarian patrons, and 9 times out of 10, that poutine you ordered with vegetable gravy stock is probably from the same animal stock vat as all the others. It's just not cost-effective for smaller joints, and owners seemingly don't give a shit. Hopefully your server will quietly give you a heads up, but its safer to make a different dinner choice.
3. It’s All Decaf
A lot of restaurants usually switch their coffee to decaf past 8 or 9 p.m., and serve their unknowing caffeine-fiending customers the same swill as the decaf cravers. It's sadistic, but no one wants to clean two pots.
That "fresh" coffee has probably been sitting there for hours anyway.
4 Soup of the Day
Leftovers are a restaurants worst nightmare, and the Soup of the Day their saviour. Why? Because that "surprise" melange of indecipherable mushy vegetables is likely made up of leftovers from the last day, in an effort to avoid waste. Super gross.
5. Leave Those Lemons Alone
No one washed those lemons, and they were probably cut a few days ago. And that server that handles your money and fixes his/her hair during the shift, and clears your tables? That's who cut those lemons, and didn't wash hands before either.
Trust me, you don't want lemons in your drink.
6. Someone’s Been Eating Your Fries
You don't see what happens in that kitchen, and the staff gets hungry. There's food around constantly, and sometimes servers and kitchen staff pick at the food they're preparing because they just can't resist. Someone's probably picked a fry off your plate before you got to it, and someone probably double-dug a fork in that apple pie in the back before they cut you a piece.
7. Of Roaches and Rats
Your bartender being strange and eyeing the counter too intensely? Subtlety moved a newspaper/glass in a way that makes no sense to you? Yeah, there's probably a cockroach on the bar they don't want you to notice. Get the fuck out.
A lot of restaurant kitchens tend to have rat problems, and the place I worked at was pretty casual about the chefs having to kill rats on the reg. Killing rats and cooking your grub? Um. I will pass.
8. Your Floor Burger
When they're not killing rats, your chefs might just be experiencing a butterfingers moment and dropping food on the kitchen floor, accidentally. When this happens, 90% of the time, they pick it right up, cook it some more, and put it on your plate. Hopefully there's no rat droppings that attached themselves on and the heat burned all the grimy bar germs. Hopefully.
10. Fruit Flies in Your Liquor
A lot of dive bars are terrible at keeping their liqour bottles protected from fruit flies, and these sneaky bastards get right in there through the nozzle, only to get caught and make their way into your drink. I once had one appear as I poured clients some shots, only to have to pull a sneaky bottle swap so no one ingested the tiny thing.
11. Cooks Smoking in Your Food
You wanted your burger smoked, right? A little bit of tobacco infused into that meat? This rarely happens, because hopefully the owners of the place have some kind of head on their shoulders, but I've definitely heard stories of cooks smoking as they flipped burgers, and continuing the prep the rest just after flicking that butt away. I assume you like salad tossed with cigarette fingers?
Working in the service industry and seeing/hearing this shit makes me want to never eat out again. It's true, though: if you love the food at a place, don't ask questions, and definitely don't ever work there. Got some of your own nasty experiences to add?