Friday, February 26, 2016

Buffet Confessions

Adorable breakfast pastry islands at Oru (at the Fairmont Pacific Rim)

As always, the siren song of "AYCE" is much more enticing than the reality of the meal.  As much as I know this, I still answer the call and enjoy myself at buffets.  I confess to going to the little buffet in the Grand Villa Casino in Burnaby.  As casino buffets go, this one is tiny both in square footage and in number of selections, but it is also a bit cheaper.  Dinner is $19, and if you get a loyalty card for 10% off, it's $17.10 plus tip (seniors have a bigger discount).  Things can be a bit hit and miss, but I think it's still a pretty good deal - I can enjoy a reasonable roast beef dinner with any combination of salad, soup, a couple of Chinese dishes, a few other meat and pasta dishes, bottomless pop (they have one of those 100 flavours machines), bottomless tea/coffee, and dessert.  I've been a few times now, and service has always been excellent, with very prompt dish clearing to keep things feeling clean and dignified.  Online criticisms include a limited dessert selection, so know that there are usually only a few choices there, but they do have a soft serve machine and fruit salad.  By the time I get to dessert, just a few options is plenty for me.  And in general, for me, there gets to be a point where having more options just means more things that I can't try because I don't have any room.  I prefer this little one to the larger, more expensive buffet at the River Rock Casino in Richmond.

I have another confession to make.  I am a hotel breakfast buffet fiend.  When I travel, I love staying at a hotel with a buffet where I can leisurely wake up with coffee and hot breakfast items.  I will even splurge ocassionally and visit them here in town for no particular reason.  While it's a bit of a monetary and caloric splurge, it makes for a nice lazy weekend treat.  Plus I usually skip lunch afterwards.  My favourites in downtown Vancouver are Currents at the Westin Bayshore (in Coal Harbour) and Oru at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.   I prefer the Westin Bayshore, with its relaxing atmosphere, ample newspapers, giant windows making the space light and airy, and great selection of items in their "super foods" buffet.  Everything that I've had there has been tasty.  It is $28 including coffee and juice, and they usually have little smoothies out in shot glasses too. You can order from your server made to order eggs/omelette/waffles/pancake whereas at Oru there's an omelette station where I've had to wait in a bit of a line on a busy holiday weekend (but I probably could have asked the server now that I'm thinking of it).  The food quality is very high at Oru, but it is more expensive.  Breakfast on weekdays is $36 and "brunch" on weekends is $38.  Both places have exceptional service.  I would rate both higher than the buffets at the Hotel Vancouver and Hyatt, but bear in mind that Oru is more expensive than both of these.  There's a new Cora opening on Robson Street, so it may be a while before I check out any other breakfast buffets.

I have always been too scared to go to Uncle Willy's near Metrotown, but I have been told that I should try it because of the fried chicken.  I know I won't be proud of that one either, but I might as well give it a go one of these days (and confess afterwards, of course).