Sunday, October 05, 2008

Shamelessly Working The System To Your Advantage: Buffet Edition

I am the Queen of all I survey. Well at least I am down at the local all-you-care-to-eat buffet.

Just so you know, I had nothing to do with voting down the cherished "all-you-can-eat" buffet phrase down in favor of the current and more politically correct, all-you-care-to-eat. That took place long before my ascension to the Royal Buffet Throne. I would never have tolerated such mealy-mouthed buffet lingo insolence from insubordinates that still follow that whole archaic "Democracy" thing. Thank the Golden Corral Goddesses above for allowing me the blessing of a plastic sneeze guard to separate myself from those lesser-beings.

Anyway, you don't become the Ruler Supreme of a Buffet Monarchy without learning a few valuable face stuffing tricks along the way.

As my magnificent crew of mini-Infidel rapidly age, they're finding themselves mired within a frightening land outside the relative comfort of Kid's Menu pricing. I've had to employ trickier and trickier techniques to keep them fed in the luxuriant manner they've become so accustomed to.

By royal decree, there shan't ever be generic brand Macaroni And Cheese served to Her Buffet Majesty's precious offspring. After all I am raising future heirs to the Royal Buffet throne. Only Kraft original makes it past the food testers and onto our dinner table.

So, here's our top secret smorgasbord strategy laid out so that even the most casual of buffet patrons can follow it. Think of this as a sort of Buffet For Dummies instructional post.

Most buffet pricing changes abruptly at 4:00 P.M. They signal the transition between lunch and dinner by hauling away the petrified weenies that've been loitering around the buffet steam table all day (Sorry, Gramps) and swap them out for some freshly grilled steak and other carnivorous yummies.

Buffet King Papi and I synchronize our watches for exactly 3:50 P.M. before gathering up our brood to make a sweeping entrance into the restaurant. That way, we can stroll to the register a mere moments before the dinner pricing kicks in.

It's a real adrenaline rush.

We're literally living out that lame adage of getting steak on a hamburger budget.

Another tip is to ask the grill guy to slice open your steak before claiming it as your own and bathing it in steak sauce.
On a recent goodwill sojourn to visit my loyal subjects over in Buffetland, my well done steak looked chargrilled on the outside like this:

But after slicing off a chunk, it was revealed that the interior was more reminiscent of a nice honkin piece of steak tar tare.
I'd like to give Golden Corral the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were simply trying out a new entree choice by combining recipes?
Steak Char Char on the outside with a nice raw Steak Tar Tar on the inside.

You know how most Chinese Buffets plop down gigantic golden Buddhas in their entryway to guard against potential Kung Pao thieves? Well, I hope to one day position a line of Buffet Queen Elastic statues in the atrium area of my favorite buffet places. My specifications call for wide, outstretched arms that will welcome the masses of hungry people searching for a great pants seam-ripping dining experience.

Elastic: Buffet Queen And Patron Saint Of Buffets


Jill said...

Thank you for the nifty buffet tips. So far we have one of our offspring who is too old to eat for kid prices. I never thought of the "get there right before the price changes" strategy.
We usually go to the Golden Corral (or golden cow as our kids call it) for breakfast.
My most favorite part of eating at that particular establishment is that (after looking at the other patrons) I feel quite slender.

Jami said...

Oo, right before the pricing changes. That's brilliant! Shiny! Profoundly moving!

Steak char-char/tar-tar. Very nice. I actually like my steak to be lightly broiled. Tar-tar insides. Mooing, so to speak. Mmmmm! Ooooo!

J-Mom said...

They had to cook that steak so fast, seeing how you got there so early for dinner time, they weren't able to cook it all the way through!

We still fall in that range of kids prices. Then we don't usually show our faces to the buffet without kids eat free coupon, and the little one still counts as a free eater.

I hadn't been thinking about how my kids are going to grow out of my cheap plans. I guess we'll be eating out early soon too! And we'll be looking for any tips available on getting the most out of our eating out!

Chell said...

Buffets rock. Full stop. End of story. :)

Nancy Face said...

It's after midnight...I'm stuffing my face with my SECOND big slice of cheesecake left over from the wedding reception, and reading about buffet strategy!

Life is good. So is food.

Sketchy said...

Buffet! Now that's a restaurant I haven't searched out since moving. Must put that on the list, find good Buffet restaurant. Eat at 3:50 pm...

hmmm, maybe we could have a big late-ish breakfast then we'll be hungry enough to eat Lu-nner at just shy of 4 o'clock and then we'd only have to cook and or buy 2 meals for that day!

Missicat said...

ahhh...the buffet! I am one of SEVEN kids so I definitely understand all that you write...

Methodical wormer said...

3:50. I LOVE it!

Physcokity said...

As long as I can have a mini fountain version of this statue I shall be satisfied.

Do buffets have gift shops?

(hehe I wrote *git* shops, but then remembered the "f")

Elizabeth-W said...

I'm going to have to think about this a bit more. I'm liking the idea :D

Amber said...

Hmmmmm...buffets. But you are not the patron saint. My best friend in college was The King. Chuck-a-rama was his favorite. He had it down to a science. We would go at 3:30 p.m., pay the lunch price but guess what? At 4 p.m., they brought out the prime rib and so we ate dinner on a lunch tab.

Ahhhh, good times!

Jean Knee said...

that raw meat with the raw yolk on it makes me want to spew.

jams o donnell said...

What excellent tips EWBL. Sadly my favourite buffet place shuts after lunch then reopens at 5.30. No transition sadly!

Suburban Hippie said...

I thought you steered clear of these places because of the lack of hygiene.

I grew up eating buffet food for many of the same reasons you bring your gang... it isn't my favorite now because of oversaturation. The exception being The Bellagio in Las Vegas... oh so good.

Hey It's Di said...

And all this time I thought those older folks were going to dinner early because they were OLD. Really they had a smart strategy to get the best price/food! OK, maybe it's because they are old.

I am so trying this out! Up-Chuck-Arama here I come!!

Hey It's Di said...

I'm visualizing Those Elastic Statues and teamed up with a buffet. . . it sounds like heaven to me:)

Lisa said...

So not a fan of raw or even slightly raw meat.

As a kid, my favorite nights out were at the Pizza Inn buffet and at Bonanza-total buffet. We get dessert?! That was awesome!

CaLM RAPIDS said...

Nat's in Benj's class! Wahoo! A mini infidel to keep those kiddos on their toes. Want to be room mom?

Former Room Mom Elastic! said...

Calm Rapids- NO! I've done my time as a Room Mom back in the day. Once, in a total fit of madness, I was the room mom for TWO of my kids because nobody else had signed up. Oh yeah, and I was pregnant with one baby and still nursing another and working at the same time.

I'd need to get plugged into an I.V. full of Red Bull energy drink to attempt doing something like that now. Ah to be young and full of irrational volunteerism.