Back and Gone Again

Travel the Southeast.

Mastering The All You Can Eat Buffet

Buffet

While Oprah loves bread, I’m a bit less specific. I love food, all food, except mayonnaise, mayonnaise sucks. Traveling as much as I do I get to show that love at several new places each week.

I come from a family of foodies. For example, my father will drive three hours for lunch at his favorite BBQ restaurant. Often I pick hotels based on the nearby food choices. A meal out isn’t always about the price, as cliché, as it sounds the whole experience plays into it as well. A burger at Tucker Duke’s in Deerfield Beach can be as enjoyable as a filet served by a waiter wearing skinny pants at Todd English’s Bluezoo here in Orlando.

The all you can eat buffet has its fans as well as its detractors. For instance, my wife would rather go hungry than dine at one. Myself, I look at it as a challenge, so I use a strategy.

The following is all BS, ………  Buffet Strategies

Buffet

Do some recon – When doing presentations, my number one rule is, know your audience. No difference here, except that you need to know your buffet. Are you heading over to Golden Corral where the food is as varied as the dress code? Alternatively, is it Fogo de Chao with their gluten free options and ten piece place settings? Websites like Yelp can provide insight such as do they only serve crab legs on the weekend or if they offer Hibachi.

Peruse before you choose – Walk the tables and see what’s up for grabs. Don’t fill up your plate right off the bat, the good stuff is in the back or towards the end of the buffet line.

Bread is not your friend (See above) – Bread is a buffet’s best friend, not yours. It’s cheap to produce, can sit on a buffet table for hours and will fill you up. Filling you up, which in turn keeps you from filling up on the better offerings.

Sample, sample, sample – I love orange chicken and I’d love to fill my plate with it, but then I’d be missing the point of a buffet. Use the buffet experience to expand your food horizons. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. So be a little piggy and nibble your way through the offerings.

Soda – Stick with water or iced tea. Carbonation can make you feel fuller than you actually are. This will decrease the food damage that you can deliver.

Don’t show up too hungry – Isn’t the point to eat as much as possible? It is, but if you show up famished, you’ll have a tendency to fill your plate, with the first thing that you see, bread. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Buffet

Don’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case a buffet by its building. Last month I was in Centreville, MS and stopped for gas at Vine’s. Vine’s is a typical southern gas station, lots of pickups, lots of neon and a faded sign advertising fuel prices. I went in for a Slim Jim and a Blue Monster only to discover that Vine’s held a secret. A wonderful meat-lovers buffet, ribs, fried chicken and the creamiest mac-n-cheese that I’ve ever eaten. Save room for warm cobbler and vanilla ice cream. All this for less than $13.00, and I would’ve missed it based on how the building looked.

Buffet

 

There’s a great comedy bit by the late John Pinette that’s well worth watching, I know I can relate to it. I’m also here to tell you that there’s a limit to how much “all you can eat” really means. Several years ago Sonny’s BBQ was running an “all you can eat” rib special. My boss and I pulled up a chair, tucked a napkin in our shirts and commenced to chowing down. At about the same time we found out that “all you can eat” means precisely 42 ribs, not 41, not 43 but 42 ribs. We got cut off, not the first time that’s ever happened to me. Usually, it involves booze, not ribs.

When it comes to all you can eat buffets as if there’s any other type, it easy to get distracted from your mission, so stay strong!

 

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