Cafe Society

Five worst foods of 2012 -- and this year was already tough enough to swallow!

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5. Denny's fried cheese melt.

Denny's has produced some hellish-hell-hole dishes, drinks and desserts over the years, including but not limited to its entire Baconalia menu and its current lineup of Hobbit-themed items, but the fried cheese melt is so disgusting that every time someone orders it, a hobbit dies. It is Denny's signature oil-slick, grilled American cheese sammie with greasy, half-fried, rubbery mozzarella sticks crammed into it, served with a side of bathroom-tile fries and the awful marinara that rivals Ragu for its diaper-juice consistency and watery ketchup flavor. I was not at all surprised to see this on the menu at Denny's, though: I was surprised that it didn't make it on to the hobbit menu, since the menu lacks a dish called, "Dead, Hairy Hobbit Parts Being Devoured by Wild Shire Dogs and also fries."

4. Banquet Deep Dish Sausage & Gravy pot pie.

Yes, this is a real, actual food item, available at a grocery store near you. One of my friends on Facebook posted a picture of it, so I tracked one down to try it for myself (self-torture with edibles is kinda my thing). It's pretty much the same as every other Banquet pot pie: salty, plaster-like top with charred edges no matter if you follow the heating instructions or not, a waterlogged bottom crust that dissipates into the surfeit of separated gravy, and approximately one tablespoon of chunks of what is probably sausage. But it was missing a few things -- a slice of melted processed cheese on top, some off-brand ketchup, a wife-beater undershirt, an ICP's greatest hits CD and a 1970s model mobile home in which to eat it.

3. Guy's American Kitchen & Bar's Guy-talian nachos.

Unless you have been in prison without television or internet privileges, you have no doubt heard all about Pete Wells's review of Guy's American Kitchen & Bar -- Guy Fieri's new Times Square restaurant -- in the New York Times. The review was scathing, hilarious and composed almost entirely of questions. The part about Guy's Guy-talian nachos really stuck with me: "How did nachos, one of the hardest dishes in the American canon to mess up, turn out so deeply unlovable? Why augment tortilla chips with fried lasagna noodles that taste like nothing except oil? Why not bury those chips under a properly hot and filling layer of melted cheese and jalapeños instead of dribbling them with thin needles of pepperoni and cold gray clots of ground turkey?"

Between this description and the pictures I've seen of the nachos (they look like Marjory the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock) I am convinced that some questions don't really need definitive answers, and although I've never eaten Fieri's signature nachos, I can easily put them on a list of the worst foods of 2012 -- I mean, I've never been to prison, either, but I'm pretty sure I don't have to go to know how f*cked up it is.

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Jenn Wohletz
Contact: Jenn Wohletz