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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Buffet at the Golden Nugget

Las Vegas made the buffet famous! Most casinos have a least one restaurant that serves a buffet of some type. Some are larger, more elabourate than others and the food quality will differ from buffet to buffet. Buffets start around the $12 per person mark or less and considering they are all you can eat, they are a good value for your food dollar. When going to Las Vegas be sure to buy a copy of the current American Casino Guide as there are two for one coupons for many of the buffets as well as coupons for a lot of other savings. It is $16.95 but will easily pay for itself within the first day or two. Be sure to get a player's card for each casino and always show your card to be rated if playing table games. Many casinos will comp your meal depending on your table play often including your partner as well. Finally, before going to Las Vegas do a good deal on online research for food options. Many casino restaurants have their menus online but what you will also find out is some casino restaurants offer a special that is not on their menu or advertised other than by word of mouth. This will help you devise a food budget for your trip and get the best value for your food dollar. We have made several trips where the only money we spent for food was at one casino offering an unadvertised special that I will post on one such special shortly.

Shrimp

Vegas buffets generally include salads, seafood, meats, poultry, vegetables, fruits, deserts and breads. A bottomless non-alcoholic drink comes with the meal and some buffets offer complimentary wine. Peel and eat shrimp seems to appear on just about every buffet. The shrimp is always good size for dipping in shimp cocktail sauce. Lemon wedges are usually offered along with the shrimp. While most of the dishes are self-serve there is a meat cutter for the roast beef, turkey, prime rib and steak. Yes, they do have all you can eat steak buffets as well but usually on certain days. There is also all you can eat seafood buffets on certain days. I'll post on both of these later. Some buffets offer a variety of cuisines as well and some of these can be quite good. The dinner buffet at the Golden Nugget Casino is $17.99 per person on weekdays and $20.99 per person on weekends. The Buffet also offers a breakfast ($9.99) and lunch buffet ($10.99) Monday through Saturday with a brunch buffet ($17.99) on Sundays. The Las Vegas buffets usually offer a variety of cuisine as well giving you the opportunity to try other dishes.

Ribs with Collard Greens

The Buffet was quite varied and I did not take enough pictures to show it at its best. The decor is quite pretty with a lot of mirrors and lights. The seating is very comfortable and the service is excellent. I started off with a tossed salad made with salad greens topped with cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, thousand island dressing, sunflower seeds and black olives. My entre was meaty barbequed ribs in a tangy sauce, green beans, carrots and collard greens. Now green beans seem to tolerate buffet conditions well but carrots do not. It's hard to get carrots on a buffet that are not water logged. These carrots were borderline but the beans were nicely cooked with still a bit of crunch. I decided to try collard greens that one of our friends insisted was just fancied up spinach.

Collard greens are a member of the cabbage family, closely related to kale. They are popular in the southern states, often being referred to as mess o' greens because of the quantity. Collard greens are usually simmered slowly with a piece salt pork or ham hock to smooth any bitterness. They are served with fresh baked corn bread to dip into the pot-likker, the resulting highly concentrated, vitamin-filled broth. I have not seen collard greens in the stores here so will be adding them to the garden this year. I'm a bit late planting but it's been a cool spring so I still have plenty of time. This is one side dish I am going to make at home, tweaking until I get it similar to what was on the buffet. Texturally the collard greens differed from the often served steamed spinach or Swiss chard and unlike both which usually get a little butter and salt only, the collard greens had other flavours going on. Bright flecks of carrot dotted the collard greens along with bits of onion. I'm sure they were cooked with ham hock too. They were also seasoned somewhat lightly Cajun so that will be the trick to figure out. Once I figure out a recipe that works I will post it here.

Strawberries

Las Vegas is likely one of the only places a person can drink alcoholic beverages 24/7/365, always free flowing as long as you are gambling. Non-alcoholic beverages are also free flowing compliments of the casino. The problem is alcohol is a dieuretic as are tea and coffee. This is a bad combination in Las Vegas because your body is already losing a lot of water because you are in a desert. Folks forget that. It is essential when visiting Las Vegas to drink at least eight 8 - ounce glasses of water daily. Increase that amount if you are above average weight or height. For that reason our drink choice tends to be water with meals and we load up on both salad greens and fruits since both contain a good amount of water.

Strawberries and watermelon are two items that are commonly found on the Las Vegas buffets, likely because folks like them. They are an excellent refreshing choice for adding both nutrition and water without adding a lot of calories. So when you are in Las Vegas skip those tempting, calorie laden deserts and opt instead for a bowl of fruit for dessert. You body will thank-you :)


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