Monday, May 2, 2011

Buffetting in Las Vegas

  

After more than 30 years in Sin City, I think I've had just about every level and quality of buffet there is. I even remember the cheapie one way back in the early 50s at what became the Hacienda Hotel, then Mandalay Bay.

So, I kind surprised myself when I suggested to my wife that, instead of going to The Egg and I for breakfast - a very nice place with good food and service - I suggested we try the buffet at Boulder Station Hotel and Casino out of Boulder Highway - a real local's place.

It wasn't bad at all. And, the price was certainly right. We paid $6 and change for the both of us! (Of course, we used the tips I give out about how to get the most for your money in Las Vegas in my book Lost Wages in Las Vegas.) The _normal_ price is $13.99 per person, or $27.98 plus tax.

As it turned out, the food wasn't all that bad. Of course, there are only so many ways you can cook eggs, bacon and sausage. Small waffles and pancakes and a variety of toasts and other breads. There was also a large selection of breakfast cereals, both hot and cold. But, it went beyond that. To the far right was the Dessert area with a wide variety of regular and no sugar added pastries. Next was Mexican food, although most of the food we think of as Mexican actually comes from places other than Mexico. My wife liked it because it had a dish called menudo with grits and cow innards that I've never liked. There was another with American, along with the usual carving station of turkey, ham and roast beef. Much to my surprise, it had homemade gravy to go on top of the scalloped potatoes.

As usual, there was the Italian section with lots of pizza. In case you didn't know, Pizza DOES NOT come from Italy. It started in a restaurant in New York City. There was another section with eggs to order, then another with several types of Chinese food.

Need I say that NONE of it was all that warm. The probem with steam tables and heat lamps is that it only keeps stuff tepid.

The next was the salad and fruit table - at least that was kept cold. Several types of lettuce, all sorts of stuff like tomatoes, onions, peppers, hard-boiled eggs and six different dressings. Also a pretty good choice of fruits to include lots of melons.

And the decor isn't all that bad. Lots of tables but booths to keep it from being a big, open barn. The attendants were efficient and it didn't take very long to get seated, even with lots of people in line.

Just a couple of asides. This multi-station buffet started out at the Rio and that particular place topped all the voting for many years. My personal favorite was the one at the Fiesta Casino out on Rancho when George Maloof owned it. He's now at the Palms but we haven't tried his yet. I have a feeling it's probably good.

Over the years, I've only tried one buffet downtown at Binions and a couple on The Strip. Didn't like any of them. I'm certain there are lots of people who have their own favorites both on and off The Strip.

What bothers me most is, what on earth do they do with all that food the pigs who grab up plate after plate then leave it to be taken away? I'd be willing to bet it could feed hundreds of family every day just from ONE casino. As there are FIFTY-SEVEN of them,  that means one heck of a lot of food!

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