Worst meal in a long time.


I hate it when take-out that’s normally fairly reliable (if reliably mediocre) just turns around and takes a dump on dinner.

This evening, the wife and I decided to order some Swiss Chalet. We haven’t ordered from them in quite some time (well over a year at any rate) because the last time we ate their food I became violently ill and had to take the day off work after spending my morning making deposits in the loo from entirely the wrong end of my body. I suspect ptomane or something, but it wasn’t at all nice and it’s the first time I’ve done that since the latter part of the 90s where I got it from eating KFC.

However, we tried again. My taste for Swiss Chalet had waned considerably after that last incident so I decided to opt for something entirely different than what I’d usually order. This time I ordered their new chicken shepherd’s pie with a side of corn, and the wife got an ordinary quarter chicken with mashed potatoes and a cucumber tomato salad. We both ordered their limited-time strawberry cheesecakes, because we’re both cheesecake fiends.

So the meal arrives, and we proceed to become increasingly disappointed in it.

Now, the chicken my wife ordered appeared to be fine, as were the potatoes and chalet sauce, as always – she’s also a chalet sauce fiend. The rest, though? Lemme tell ya.

  • The Chicken Sheperd’s pie was only a shepherd’s pie variant in spirit. The layer of mashed potatoes on top had been baked in such a way that it had formed a skin. A thick skin, one that I could have peeled off whole. The filling consisted of chicken chunks, corn, and chalet sauce. Chalet sauce! No gravy. This must be a cardinal sin somewhere. There was also a considerable chunk of ossified gristle hidden amongst the chicken. Yecch. Needless to say, this should have been renamed “quarter chicken leftovers with whatever we could scrape out of last night’s potato tureen. Oh, and we think a few corn kernels.”
  • My corn was cold. It vehemently ignored warm butter. Microwaves were made for crap like this.
  • My bun was soggy, having half buried itself in the corn, presumably because it needed to cool off. It also was made with no salt and no butter, and for the entire meal they provided exactly one small pat of butter. In a small way I suppose this was a good thing as I had to get out the low fat margarine, which was probably better for me anyway. But still. Soggy bun. Ew.
  • Presumably, the tomato cucumber salad had once been coated in dressing. Wherever it went, only the aroma remained in the container. As potpourri, it might have been functional, assuming you wanted a very small area to smell like oregano and vinegar. As a salad however, it was just this side of chowing down on the supermarket’s produce section.
  • The cheesecake – I’m still waiting on the forensics to bear out evidence that this was really only a close relative – was probably the most disappointing of all. Without hyperbole, it was about three inches to a side and just north of an inch high. It would have been cute if it wasn’t trying to strut around claiming it was a full serving. The ad made it look quite appetizing – fresh sliced strawberries with raspberry and chocolate coulis drizzled over a much larger-looking slab of vanilla cheesecake. Not being naive enough to expect it to arrive like that, I still had it in my head that it should at least somewhat resemble that. Instead, the chocolate, far from being a coulis, was in fact just their normal chocolate swirl cheesecake. The raspberry coulis, while I am sure it had once taken up residence on top of the cheesecake, had long since run off the cheesecake to seek refuge in the recessed drainage channels that surrounded the plastic container. The ones that render anything in them useless because nothing can fit in there with the intention of sopping it up. But at least there were real sliced strawberries. It should have been served with a miniature fork so as to at least try and give you the impression that you’re eating more than is really there.

So, yeah. Dinner was a bust with a capital “CRAP.”

So how was your dinner? Any tales of woe from the groaning board?

Swiss Chalet is crap; bland and overcooked. I can’t remember the last time that I actually went to Swiss Chalet anticipating a good meal. Maybe it just seemed tastier when I was seven.

I’ve never been to a Swiss Chalet, though there’s one in town. (I’m more a White Spot gal, but I wish they’d quit trying to upscale themselves.)

I will continue this avoidance practise. I am sorry that your dinner sucked.

I like their fries and chalet sauce, but I live directly across from one, and I know the fries will be hot. Otherwise it’s not worth it, really.

My parents love Swiss Chalet, and in fact took us there before we flew to Maryland to live. Helloo… you’re taking me somewhere with shitty food, the last meal I’ll have in Canada for who knows how long?

I have broken them of the habit. Now they’ll consent to Boston Pizza, at least.

Continental Airlines, nonstop Newark->Vancouver, summer 2005.
We were served a soi-disant “lunch” consisting of:

  • Plastic bagged mini-pizza-like object with no discernible cheese, microwaved to an inner temperature of ±750°F.
  • Potato chips.
  • Cookie.
  • Fun Size candy bar.

I emailed Continental customer service suggesting they hire an in-house meal planning staff in place of the panel of inner-city 3rd-graders who had obviously chosen the food for my flight. They were sufficiently apologetic in rely, but I dunno whether they actually did it.

I hate Swiss Chalet. Their delivery is especially bad, as it’s commonly known that all the chicken or other servings that aren’t fit to go to the dining room (because people are likely to complain) get sent to delivery orders. Half the time it’s cold, the rest of the time it’s barely cooked in the first place. Absolutely terrible stuff. And somehow, this was the only rotisserie chicken place in town! So we just ended up picking things up at the grocary store instead.

I am so glad to be back in Quebec with the much better St-Hubert chicken, not to mention the millions of smaller rotisserie places around town. Finally, good food!

There are St-Huberts in Ontario, though they’re not nearly as common as Swiss Chalet. To be honest I’ve never been to one. However those are the only rotisserie chicken joints I know of. Plenty of fried chicken – the ubiquitous KFC, Mary Brown’s (yum!), and Popeye’s. Pity, too; this town could use some proper chicken.

I was hungry until I read the OP. Bleah, that just killed my appetite.

I’ve never heard of Swiss Chalet, though, so I assume it’s a Canadian thing? I certainly hope so, as I wouldn’t want to encounter one.

I don’t think there are any Swiss Chalets down here in the states. Would it be accurate to call it the Canadian equivalent of Denny’s?

In any case, it’s a chain. To paraphrase William Least Heat Moon in Blue Highways, 95% of what’s on the menu consists of “preprocessed food assembled in New Jersey” (or, in your case, somewhere outside of Toronto). It’s then trucked over to one of many chain restaurant locations where it’s mostly microwaved, fried, or grilled by its high school age staff. Your expectations have to be low going in.

That being said, you have my sympathies since it seems you and your wife’s meals didn’t even meet the usual mediocre standards of a chain restaurant. That’s why whenever I find myself in such a place, I always order something like a sandwich, a hamburger, or soup–basic things that are too simple for even the most inept teenage food preparer to screw up.

I want to apologize for hijacking the Swiss Chalet thread over to airline food simply because the header didn’t specifically mention Swiss Chalet. :rolleyes:

I’ve never had a bad meal at Denny’s so I hope not.

Yours was fine; I wasn’t really implying that I wanted to hear about bad meals from Swiss Chalet – anywhere is fine, even airline meals, though “bad” and “airline meal” is usually a package deal. :smiley:

Not exactly. Denny’s is a kind of general restaurant that serves decent breakfasts and, if my first and last meal there is any indication, Swanson TV Dinners on a plate. (I mean come on. thin slices of processed turkey, canned gravy, and powdered potatoes that taste like urinal cakes – it couldn’t have been any closer if it was served in a compartmentalised plastic tray)

Swiss Chalet is a Canadian chain that is pretty much all about rotisserie chicken. The majority of their menu items are one variant of chicken or another, though they do have a few off-theme items. They’re not bad – their signature is their Chalet Sauce, which is a kind of thin barbecue-type sauce whose ingredients I can’t quite identify except to say that cinnamon is involved. (It sounds strange but it’s actually not bad, you’d have to try it) I’d consider them a semi-higher class fast food joint, since they’re typically more expensive (average take out meal there is going to cost you $25 or more) but they’re still prone to the same sort of crap delivery standards the cheaper places are.

They’re not bad if you actually eat in the restaurant though. Just don’t order anything whose ingredients aren’t in plain sight. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the explanation about Swiss Chalet, Mindfield; I too was wondering what it was since I’ve never seen any in my area (MD).

Firstly, your previous “encounter” with Swiss Chalet should have put you off their food forever, imho. Any time food from somewhere makes you sick, you shouldn’t give them another chance - what, to make you sick again?! Yeesh! Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but still …

My beef with take-out places is that I’ll find one that makes good tasting food … for a while, then suddenly the quality takes a nose-dive. It’s like they had a good chef for a while, maybe they fired that chef and someone else took up the duty and just messed it all up. It’s usually a Chinese take-out, and the dish that is my standard is usually Singapore Rice Noodles. Maybe I’m being unfair because the preparation seems to vary from place to place and even from order to order. I had one place that made the best tasting Singapore Rice noodles ever, then all of a sudden the dish tasted all gritty and nasty, like someone had dumped a heap of curry powder in it. :frowning:

Another Chinese dish that I’ve had bad luck in trying to order is Chicken with Cashews. I had some once where the cashews had been toasted/sauteed with the chicken and veggies and it was in a brown sauce–delicious! But every time I tried to order it take-out, I got a white-sauced concoction that appeared to have cashews dumped in at the last minute - definitely NOT what I wanted. I’m not afraid to try new dishes, and do so all the time, but I wish that I could find another place that sold that version of that chicken with cashews!

That’s what I’d call worst meal worthy - a reliable place that suddenly goes down hill. :frowning:

Believe me, I was perfectly content to write them off entirely, but the wife, she finally managed to guilt me into it, after having thought about it and reasoning that, if I don’t get what I got last time and get something completely different that maybe I might like as a compromise, it could work. Plus, for some reason I have a feeling that the thing that made me sick was their grilled vegetables. I have no proof of this, it’s just my gut reaction and the fact that of their entire menu, that’s what I developed the most significant aversion to.

My beef with take-out places is that I’ll find one that makes good tasting food … for a while, then suddenly the quality takes a nose-dive. It’s like they had a good chef for a while, maybe they fired that chef and someone else took up the duty and just messed it all up. It’s usually a Chinese take-out, and the dish that is my standard is usually Singapore Rice Noodles.

Ugh… sounds like some bad chinese. Oddly enough, though I’ll agree that take-out places that take a nose dive are definitely high on my list of beefs, my worst luck to that end has been pizza places. I’ve been through more than half a dozen in the last 15 years or so. They all start out awesome when I start ordering from them, and then suddenly I’ll get a pizza whose toppings have all slid over to one side of the pizza, or one that’s horribly overcooked, or undercooked, or had the cheese ration cut in half, or any of a variety of pizza sins.

On the other hand my chinese take-out has almost always been consistent.

Actually, my worst at-the-establishment experience would have to be Taco Bell. Since they’re right over at the mall I live directly behind I sometimes go there to grab something quickly and take it home. I must be a glutton for punishment though because at various times (usually an hour or so before closing, when they want to get rid of the dregs) I have been served:

  • The powdery, crunchy end of the refried beans
  • No refried beans at all because they ran out and didn’t bother giving me an option for something else
  • Icing instead of sour cream (yes, icing. Like you top a cake with. I don’t even know where they got it from, since nothing on their menu calls for it)
  • Bad tomatoes
  • White onions instead of green (it makes a big difference)

I also stopped ordering their nachos supreme because they stopped salting their chips. Saltless chips! Whoever heard of such a thing?

Needless to say if I do order anything from them I watch them like a freakin’ hawk when they make it. I’ve had to tell them how to make my order more times then I can count. They are flat-out morons over there. And it’s just that branch; others I’ve eaten at were just fine.

One of my favorite dinners at a local place was their hamburger steak. It used to be ground chuck (or maybe sirloin), hand-formed, grilled, and served with sliced raw onion on top.

They’ve switched to some pre-packaged meat that has no flavor, and no more raw onion slices.

The other disappointment is the mashed potatoes. I don’t expect a place that serves the same kind of food all day to have real potatoes, but there are decent instant potatoes out there. These aren’t it. They’re this close to something that could be fed through a tube.

And speaking of real potatoes, those Country Crock potatoes aren’t bad. Why can’t restaurants use something like that? Mashed potatoes are more than a support for gravy – they’re good all by themselves, if they’re made right.

That reminds me of my favourite fast-food burger joint: Wendy’s. It’s the closest thing to real, fresh ground beef without going to a grill.

Denny’s are like that. As I said, they taste like urinal cakes and feel watery and gritty. They’re horrifying.

Betty Crocker make great instant potatoes. They actually taste like proper mashed potatoes and are just fine with a little salt and butter. They’re still not quite the real thing, but they’re close enough to be an acceptable substitute.

Looks like Swiss Chalet is Canada’s Boston Market.

The nearest St-Hubert to where we lived (In Hamilton) was in Toronto…a good 45 mins drive away. Not really worth it. Now we have one 15 mins away (walking)! There are also Scores restaurants in the area (never really tried it though) and, as I said, the local places which are usually just as good if not better.

The thing I like best about St-Hub is actually the little bread the comes with the chicken. It’s salted and toasted and oh-so-yummy. It’s just different from everywhere else.

Sadly, we’ve had rotisserie chicken twice in the past week, so I can’t justify ordering some now!


I just returned today from a short fishing trip. We checked out of a motel early, and I was hungry as hell. Stopped at a Perkins for breakfast: fried eggs, hash browns, and sausage. The other guy just had coffee.

Wise man.

At checkout the cashier asked how the meal was. I told her it tasted like the eggs and hash browns had been fried in cod liver oil. She said she was sorry about that and that she would “comp” the price of the beverages.

Big deal. I only had water.

So I got a discount on my friend’s coffee.

I added the comped amount to the tip.