My love of all-you-can-eat buffets started when I was around 8 years-old. I have fond memories of going to Old Country Buffet almost every weekend when my mom was in dental school. I also remember eating M&Ms while she dissected a cadaver. The 90s were a different time for kids, but I digress... I've tried the same restaurant as an adult, and really wish I hadn't. Those memories should have stayed locked in my childhood. It's kind of like re-watching a show you really loved as a kid, and then scratching your head as to why you ever held the show up, just to watch it fall from it's pedestal and break into a thousand pieces. Sorry, "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"
My taste buds have outgrown the under-seasoned heaps of Old Country mashed potatoes and mac n' cheese that I used to slop onto my plate, but I still love a buffet. I love the variety, and the price, and the ability to eat as many pates as I want, while the servers whisk away all evidence of my guilt. It's lovely. We're lucky enough to live next to a Casino with a pretty glorious buffet spread. If you can wade the 100 something yards, through a sea of smoke, from the front door to the restaurant, then you're in. I'm talking about the Eagles Buffet at Tulalip. You can see pictured above, the prime rib with some horseradish, mashed potatoes, broccoli, macaroni and cheese, and some house-made kimchi to round out the plate. Yes, I still get mashed potatoes and mac and cheese, but now it's fancy (ish). With the introductions out of the way, let me introduce you to last night's plates.
This is how I start my buffet dining experience, with a salad, but not just any salad. I like to put everything on there. My Father-In-Law does the same thing, so we've started calling it the "Prettyman Salad." I make a bed of whatever greens I want, in this case spinach, and then pile it with all the savory things I want. I actually got a compliment from the lady behind me in line last night. She was a tad jealous. Then I smother the whole thing in dressing, typically bleu cheese, and sometimes add Sriracha for added flavor.
2nd course is my adult go to, prime rib, with some horsey sauce. I have a little bit of sweet potato tater tots, some grilled veggies, and a chocolate and beer braised beef rib. The prime rib was delicious and butter soft, as usual. The tater tots were a bit mushy, grilled veggies were crisp and delicious, and the rib was tender, but a bit bitter from the chocolate and whatever chile they used to spice it. Overall, a good 2nd plate.
At this point I usually head for the Mongolian Grill station, but I didn't. Big mistake. Instead I went to the "Chinese Food" bar, in quotes because it's Americanized. No shockers there, but it was also extremely salty. To the point that I didn't really enjoy my 3rd course. I got the following: pork egg-roll, veggie egg-roll, pork dumpling, chicken dumpling, kung pao beef, stir-fried veggies, and some noodles (plus soy sauce, which I quickly stopped using). Talk about a salt bomb in my mouth! Next time it's back to the Mongolian Grill with me.
I had to counteract the last plate with a final dessert course. I really wanted a brownie sundae, but brownies were nowhere to be found. So, I got a scoop of the Killer Whale ice cream (similar to moose tracks if you know what that is, and I topped it with a frosted chocolate cupcake. I overheard my son asking my husband, "How does she eat so much." To which he answered, "Have you met your mother?" Yes, all of those years competing with my step-father for who could eat the most plates of food has led me to this place in my life. Thankfully, I don't eat like this everyday. Thankfully, sometimes I do.
I'm a not-for-profit worker that loves food, both healthy and indulgent. I've eaten the 12 egg omelette at Beth's Cafe: toast, hash browns, and all. Take that Adam Richman!