Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Buffets in Victoria

A few new, and possibility exciting, buffet dining experiences have been created for us recently.

Here's a list:

SpiceJammer $12 (Thursday Lunch Only)

Went here a few weeks ago and it was about as blahzay as most Indian food tailored to a western palate is: Brendan actually overheard a waitress say to another diner, "We don't make anything too spicy, because we know some people can't handle it?" Oh, so you purposefully make your food more boring than it's supposed to be? Thanks for not exciting us too much, I really fucking appreciate it.

I brought my camera along on this trip, but totally forgot to take pictures. They only had about four or five dishes, and none of them were daal. The hottest hot sauce for the pakoras did make me sweat a little, and was pretty tasty, but everything else was fairly tepid. Total disappointment.

India Curry House $12 (Monday-Thursday Lunch Only)

This other local food blog gives India Curry House decent marks. The writer is Indian, so there is hope this place isn't the waste of time that most other local Indian buffets are.

Al-Sultan Restaurant

No idea on the pricing or what part of the day this buffet is available, but I'll guess it's a lunch thing, and probably around $10. I have pretty high hopes for this one.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Black Press Best of the City 2010

Here is the list of best "all you can eat" options in the city, as originally printed in the Black Press Best of the City 2010 guide:

1) Raymond's Restaurant
2) Oak Bay Marina Restaurant
3) Purple Garden Restaurant

This actually isn't such a bad list, as Raymond's has gotten better recently, but Zap Thai is still MUCH more satisfying. You could argue for Aura, May Gold, or The Empress curry and dessert buffets making the list too (maybe even La Tenampa if you expand the catch area), but you really can't be too mad at Black Press readers for this one. Put Zap Thai in there, and this list becomes a good representation of the quality and variety of all-you-can-eat options in Victoria.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fountain Restaurant | 4-2680 Blanshard Street | 250.381.3318

Weird nonsensical Chinglesh posters hanging behind fake apple walls.

The dinner buffet might get it done here, but its lunch hour cousin is all Lady and the Tramp style alley-garbage dinner without the romance.

These comments made while dining pretty much sum it up:

From Bruce: "How do you fuck up corn?"

Me: "I've never had Jello that actually just tasted like gelatine. There is nearly no orange flavour in this. It's like they just added food colouring."

You can pretty much apply any variation on these comments to A LOT of the other items. Some of the big ticket items (fried rice, chow mein, ginger beef) are passable, but otherwise it's all pretty bafflingly bad. I actually spat out a gyoza before biting all the way through it. The mango ice cream was essentially the only thing I wanted to go for seconds of.

I've heard dinner buffet here is better, with many more items, but our lunch really was depressingly bad. Unfortunate seeing as I've never had any qualms with Fountain's delivery meals. Suffice to say; this isn't the triumphant return to the buffet game we were all hoping Fountain would serve up.

EDIT: Went back and tried dinner buffet on June 6th. A few items definitely make it more worthwhile (jumbo fish sticks, dessert rolls, crab), but overall I still think it's a bit of a loser. Especially at $18 on the weekend. I do believe there is potential for improvement though. Give it another month or two and it might be worth return trips.

Price for Lunch: $9
Rating: 2.8/5

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pizza Hut Buffet | Duncan, BC | 5852 Trans Canada Highway | 250.748.4690

Aight, so it's been like three or four months since we made the spiritual journey to the hallowed Hut, but there weren't a lot of items, so I think I can still give it a decent review.

Let's start with how teeny-tiny everything is at this buffet: plates less than 2/3 the size of standard buffet tableware, pizza cut into strips not even fit for the appetite of a self-doubting teenager, and somewhat shallow serving dishes really. The portion sizes aren't really a problem—I mean just eat more right? It is a buffet. The problem is the plates are so completely incompliant with the pursuit of gluttony, that you're forced to fill up two plates every trip, and you're up and down every five seconds like a teenage dick. WOULD IT KILL YOU TO GO LARGER THAN A SALAD PLATE? Geez it was frustrating.

The buffet situation here does get significantly better once you get over the baby plates, and dig into the dishes. Though no specialty crust pizzas are offered, the traditional 'za (pepperoni and ham and pineapple being the main options) is what you would expect. It might not bring you to a higher plain of existence (you'll need to order a few stuffed crusts for that), but it still gets the job done. The Caesar pasta salad is a surprisingly compatible companion as well, which is more than can be said for the god-awful lasagna mess. Dump some marinara sauce on a bunch of fusili. Inspired thinking Pizza Hut. Somewhere in a studio apartment a shirtless, stained-gut bachelor is totally pissed you stole his recipe.

This brings us to the breadsticks and the dessert pizza. Though Auggie probably would have made the trip to Duncan for the 'sticks alone, I have to say both Fazoli's and the Olive Garden do it better. I guess I was just hoping for softer bread mostly.

The dessert pizza, however, is the type of buffet item that comes along once in a lifetime. The type of dish that takes a common indulgence, and turns it into the type of food airline crash survivors talk about while they're drinking urine, and resorting to cannibalism while wishing the knowledge of having a loving family at home really was as nourishing as human ass flesh.

The cherry and apple dessert pizza is like Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, but waaaaaaaaaaay better. Like if a toaster strudel fucked Cherry Valence, and they had little food babies. A little trashy, but with a hint of sweet sophistication lying just underneath the surface. A true buffet triumph.

I know it's sacrilege, but I think I ultimately prefer the Mexican buffet across the parking lot. Pizza Hut buffet is still a very special place, but not quite worth the reverence of other chain giants like Sizzler: now there is something special (review coming I hope).

Price: $9? (Lunch Only)
Rating: 3.5

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Salty's Fish and Chips | 8-3960 Shelbourne Street | 250.590.6162

There is a time in every addict's life when he/she is deafened by the thud of his/her health and dignity hitting the bottom of the barrel. I came all to close to crashing through the bottom of the pit a couple weeks ago at Salty's.

What compels a man to have three pieces of fish and chips for breakfast, when he knows a breaded breaky cannot provide the comfort he seeks? I was walking a tightrope at Salty's—trying to consume just enough grease and oil to feel triumphant, but I went too far. Gourging on fish and chips can place you in a fog of regret at the best of times, but going into it ten minutes after getting out of bed completely gassed me.

The light breading of the cod tricked me into thinking I was going to have an easy ride: not so. About halfway through my third piece I was labouring. Other food addicts know the feeling—eating is no longer about pleasure, it's about persevering towards a respectable performance.

There are a lot of fish and chips options in town, and Salty's may not be the best, but you could do a lot worse (I'm told Pluto's is a significantly more blech AYCE experience). However, the fish at Salty's tasted like it was probably frozen at some point in its journey to my plate, and this didn't make eating all-you-can-eat style any easier.

This would have been fine as a lunchtime meal, but after three pieces and half a plate of Mcain's style fries; I was seriously considering an Alaimo style swearing off of any further attempts to try and eat my way to piece of mind. Another helping of chips (yes it's not just the fish that is AYCE) and I could have ended up doing something drastic... like chasing a dream, or getting involved in sports, or whatever else people ditching vices do.

However, it was obvious that my post-Salty's hangover had not been the I've-lost-my-septum-because-I'm-blowing-my-mind-on-yak-every-night-and-yesterday-it-got-too-much-so-I-tried-to-hang-myself-in-my-parents-garage-but-I'm-fat-and-the-moosehead-I-was-using-as-a-brace-got-ripped-out-of-the-wall-and-now-I-am-rethinking-my-teenage-wild-girl-lifestyle type of realization that others have had. Days later I was in a car on my way Pizza Hut Buffet in Duncan—and it was glorious.

Food is still the best vice of all, and I'm not giving it up. If Salty's helped me realise this, perhaps it's worth a trip for you too.

Price: $12
All-You-Can-Eat is only available Tuesdays

Rating: 3.3

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Guide

A while ago the Eating the Road blog penned what is by far the best step-by-step strategy guide to attacking buffets that I have ever come across. The guide was recently updated for 2010, and I didn't post it before, so here it is.