The 2011 All-Inclusive All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Guide

November 17, 2011 - 4:19 pm | Add Comments

2011 Update: A while back I wrote this guide to help instruct and direct the avid eater on the best possible plan of attack on the ever so amazing wonder that is the All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet.

Each year around the Holidays I take a look at this guide and spruce it up a little as needed. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, now is the perfect time to revisit this gluttonous gastromical guide. As we sit down with family and friends to give thanks for what we are blessed with, let us also celebrate what makes this great nation so great. We are Americans and we must wear that title with pride! Here I present to you an updated version of the most thorough, comprehensive guide on how to get the most for your money. Eat on, my friends…eat on! Oh…and you can thank me later.

This is the definitive guide to becoming a seasoned all-you-can-eat buffeter. If you would like to gain knowledge of each and every aspect that lay between you and getting the most fulfilling meal possible you have come to the right place. You will learn with specific techniques the dos and don’ts that every professional smorgasbord eater must adhere to. Within these tough economic times it is important to make sure our dollar stretches as far as possible. This surely will help the pocket book and keep your belly full. The sections covered are as follows:

Types of Buffets
Objective
Preparation
Location
Pre-meal Setup
Strategy
Etiquette
Exit Strategy and Post Game

Disclaimer: This is for instructional purposes only and should not be adhered to by rational human beings. This is compiled from observations by the author and makes no claims of being 100% factual. Any action by the reader to follow suggestions is his or her own decision and any harm caused by said actions are the responsibility of the reader. Whether it be self-inflicted as in type 2 diabetes, heart disease or osteoporosis or by angry restaurant owners throwing you and your college buddies to the curb for eating all of their prime rib.

Being that this is all-inclusive some items may be considered satirical and some factual, due to this there may be conflicting points or seemly hypocritical statements, please keep that mind. Depending on one’s plan of attack on the buffet certain points will or will not be relevant.

If your health is no concern and being able to actually walk back and forth from your table to the buffet stations does not bother you then read on to learn the best, quickest way to find yourself in a motorized cart.

 

Types of Buffets

Chinese – Located in any town with a population over 500 there will be a Super, Star, King, Garden Something or Rather Buffet. Most all will have sweet & sour soup, egg flower soup and wonton soup. You’ll find typical American-Chinese dishes such as lo-mein, sweet & sour chicken, egg rolls, pot stickers, broccoli beef, General Tso’s chicken and fried rice all loaded with exorbitant amounts of MSG. Most will have a small selection of “sushi” which is really just some vegetables and imitation crab meat wrapped in seaweed and rice. To cater to the kids you’ll usually find French fries, pizza, macaroni & cheese, onion rings or spaghetti. The desserts are airy light “cakes” of chocolate, coconut or vanilla along with almond cookies and baked Chinese cookies. Oddly these will have absolutely no weight or sustenance yet will still add to your waistline. Jell-O is a staple as well as bananas covered in some strange strawberry sauce. They will typically have a soft serve ice cream machine (working or not). The more upscale ones will have shrimp, crab legs and possibly a Mongolian BBQ station.

Sushi – These are usually fairly expensive and come in two varieties. The first being a regular sushi restaurant that offers an all-you-can-eat sushi option which is made to order. You normally are allowed 2 to 3 orders at a time and once finished you’ll be allowed to order more. They will typically be very vocal about any sharing and any leftover rolls. There is a high probability that they will charge you for any rolls not consumed or may not allow you to order more until you’ve eaten what has already been made. They are notoriously stingy and keep a watchful eye. Some diners have been known to employ the shelter of salads or miso soups to hide leftover sushi pieces.

The second type is set up as a regular buffet and has many varieties of sushi (15-30 different selections) along with other Japanese and Chinese dishes. They will usually have different salads, miso soup, sweet & sour soup, crab legs, shrimp, varieties of fish, lo-mein, fried rice, sweet & sour chicken, pot stickers, egg rolls, pork spare ribs, tempura, calamari, udon and tofu dishes. The desserts will be tiny individually prepared portions of American cakes and tarts but will not necessary taste like their full baked counterpart. There will also be a few “Japanese” desserts which will include miso, green tea or tofu as ingredients.

American – There are several large chains across the nation serving American buffet. You may have seen one of the following: HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Ryan’s Buffet, Golden Corral or Ponderrosa. There are also a slew of smaller chains throughout the states. Here you’ll find a bevy of fried foods including fried chicken, fried shrimp, French fries, onion rings, fried fish, chicken nuggets, different fried vegetables and chicken wings. You can normally find overcooked steak, salty sausage and ham, crispy “pizza”, rubbery hot dogs & hamburgers, watery spaghetti and every type of picnic (pasta, potato, broccoli) salad under the sun. The desserts will be a range of puddings, stale cakes and bland pies along with vanilla and chocolate soft serve ice cream.

Mega – Mostly found within casinos and abundant in Las Vegas, the mega or supper buffet has hundreds of items from many different cuisines. The football field size dining rooms at least make you feel as if you’re burning off some calories as you walk back and forth from your table to the buffet. You will be able to load a plate with fried chicken, pizza, moo shu pork, pad thai and tacos that would make the International Olympic Committee truly proud. Trying to experience every dish that you would like to here can take an entire evening and for most is not possible due to stomach storage constraints. The desserts will range from cheesecake, baklava, crème brule, chocolate layer cake, éclairs, to pie, pudding and gelato. These are going to be the more expensive of all the buffets but the quality and selection will be the highest as well.

Another variety of the mega buffet is the seafood buffet, more popular along the Atlantic coast that will include every possible variety of seafood from clam chowder, clams, lobster, salmon, crab cakes, clam cakes, trout, crawfish, baked shrimp, fried shrimp, coconut shrimp, oysters, baked shrimp, shrimp scampi, stuffed clams and scallops.

Pizza – Broken down into two types. One being your local pizza place that will offer up a lunch time buffet with a few different varieties rotating but will of course include cheese, pepperoni and Hawaiian. There will sometimes be a small salad bar that will have droopy lettuce, olives, chickpeas, onions, pepperoncinis, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and you’re sure to find Ranch, Thousand Island and blue cheese dressings. The other type of pizza buffet is an actual buffet which will have a variety of tossed salads, roughly a dozen different pizzas, possibly pasta and a selection of dessert pizzas. These are normally extremely cheap but the pizza is normally sub-standard.

Salad/Soup Bar – This can be found in any type of restaurant almost as an afterthought. It will include two soups, either chicken noodle or New England clam chowder, limp iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, olives, shredded cheese, peas, carrots, cauliflower, beets, bacon bits, Ranch, Thousand Island, Honey Mustard and blue cheese dressings. You’ll also find warm cottage cheese and syrupy peach slices.

There is however a few higher end salad buffets that have a wide variety of tossed salad, fresh fruits, vegetables, soups, pasta, pizza and breads. The main stipulation of these buffets is the mysterious absence of protein in the dishes. You’ll find a disturbing lack of chicken in the Asian chicken salad or clams in the New England clam chowder. The meat sauce may be your best bet for protein as you can scoop out the meat pieces individually. Bacon bits and cheese can also be another form of protein. The pizza will have roughly 2.5 pieces of pepperoni per slice.

Ethnic – This will normally be a lunch only buffet and includes your various Indian, Thai and Mexican restaurants. This is a great place to get really good food at really good prices as it will be coming from a kitchen that specializes in that cuisine. The buffet will normally be setup as a temporary serving station in the dining room. The selection will be small but will include a few appetizer type dishes and several entrees. Dessert is not implicit here but can sometimes be offered, if so it will normally only be one or two options.

A sub-style of this would be the Brazilian (churrascaria) dinner. This will normally include a lavish salad bar with lettuce, vegetables, cheeses, smoked and cured meats and various dressings. The staple of this style is the practically endless meats served table-side ranging from sirlon, beef ribs, grilled chicken, various sausages, leg of lamb, lamb chops, pork tenderloin to pork ribs. There may be a small amount of side dishes available as well such as polenta or mashed potatoes. This is a meat lovers dream as there are typically a dozen or more varieties to choose from.

Occasional – These will be found at weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, memorials, birthdays, showers, grand openings, business gatherings, potlucks, holiday parties and can include a wide variety of foods and cuisines. Depending on the event and the group involved the selection and quality of food can range from pitiful to exquisite.

Breakfast/Brunch – Many hotels will offer Sunday brunches. These will include all of your typical breakfast dishes. You can get made to order omelets, scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes, muffins, breads, bagels, cold cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, granola, fruit, French toast, bacon, sausage, ham, potatoes and hash browns. Depending on the size and scope you may find shrimp, steak and other premium items. These will often be offered on special days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Easter.

Objective

There are many things to consider here. Some are out to “get their money’s worth” by ingesting the most amount of the costliest items. Others would like to sample small amounts of dozens of different dishes. While still others may want to eat as much of their favorite item as they can possibly do in one sitting.

My philosophy lies somewhere in the middle of all of this. I try to allot a large portion of my meal to high cost items, while sampling things that look tasty and also making sure that I get to those items that I know and love. This can be tricky to do though, especially at very large buffets or one that you’re not too familiar with. Using the prescribed techniques you will soon find yourself more capable of meeting this objective.

Preparation

Health prior to the meal should be a main consideration and is often overlooked. You’ll want to be free of any illness as this will only inhibit appetite and general well being. Sleep the night before should be at least 7 hours. I recommend getting to bed early as well as rising early so as to lengthen the time your body is awake prior to eating.

Meals leading up to the buffet have been debated for ages. My recommendations are a large dinner the night before consisting mostly of light breads and vegetables to expand the stomach. It is also advantageous to drink plenty of liquids, preferably water. This also varies greatly on what time of day your buffet meal is going to be. For a breakfast buffet your larger meal should be the lunch prior with a small dinner. The morning of I would suggest a very small meal containing some sugar in order to get your metabolism up and running. Eat nothing more throughout the day. Liquids are advised, preferably water, as almost a mandatory health concern due to the high sodium content you are about to consume.

Not necessarily the prettiest of subjects but you’ll want to make sure that your system is sufficiently void of all previous meals as much as possible. This is important that you have kept to your regular eating habits the days prior as to facilitate this. It is also not a bad idea to ingest a few Rolaids a couple hours prior to the meal.

It is a good idea to get in a nice workout prior to the meal as well. This is a great way to get your metabolism running at full speed and burn off some calories that you’ll surely be adding right back up. I recommend a large amount of cardio exercise preferably running, biking or swimming. This should be done several hours before as you’ll want some time for your body to rest.

We also need to consider proper attire. You’ll want comfortable shoes, running or walking shoes work best and even Uggs or Crocs will do. All clothes should be loose fitting, no buttons, belts or zippers. Sweatpants and large t-shirts work best. It’s important to have an expandable or elastic waistband. Wear items with intricate patterns or designs that will disguise spills and stains (unless you don’t mind drawing attention to yourself with the use of a bib). Wear clothes you don’t mind subjecting to dropped food and cooking odors. A point to keep in mind is that many establishments will raise their level of air conditioning to make diners uncomfortable, making them want to leave earlier. With this in mind be sure to bring a sweatshirt and dress in layers.

An important side note here is the time at which you choose to eat. You’ll want to make sure that there is a high volume of other diners at the buffet so that the food items are rotated often. Some would recommend getting there upon opening as the items will be freshest. This is not a bad idea but can cause some issues if they open too early. You may find items sitting awhile from 10:30am-11:30am and I surely would not suggest eating anywhere within the 2:30pm-5:00pm window. I would recommend a 12:30pm lunch start and a 5:30pm dinner start. This will guarantee the freshest items. Of course you’ll want to avoid times when the crowds are too large and items are frequently out but a buffet should be able to handle their volume of diners. I would err on the side of too many other patrons rather than lukewarm, stale food.

You may also find that if you arrive just before the “changing of the guard” or the breakfast to lunch, lunch to dinner time-frames you’ll not only pay the lesser dollar amount (typically $2 to $3) but may also have a wider variety to choose from. There might still be Belgian waffles from breakfast that you may now couple with lunch’s fried chicken, or pizza from lunch may now sit next to dinner’s lasagna. I must state that this tactic can backfire as the old items tend to be stale and cold lessening your appetite. This will also immediately put you on the radar of the proprietor and their staff and may get you undue heat resulting in ejection from the restaurant much sooner than anticipated. Due to these pitfalls I caution on using this technique.

Because of the length of the meal it is important to bring adequate entertainment as well. A newspaper, crossword puzzle or Sudoku works well as does a book. These items can be read or done while eating if you’d like. I’d discourage use of portable games as they may become dirty or sticky with food residue.

An often overlooked point is dining partners. Obviously it is never advantageous to bring children or the elderly along but I know many buffet meals are family occasions and this cannot be avoided. With that in mind however, it is most efficient to dine with likeminded individuals. You should seek to gather a group that has the same objective in mind as you and is willing to put in the expected work (scouting, preparation, etc.) and time in order to achieve it. Do not bring others who have time constraints, will judge for over consumption, will belittle the environment or other patrons, get bored easily and especially those who are not even planning on eating. You’ll want the strongest support team that you can muster and as everyone knows, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.

Be sure to have the allotted time blocked out accordingly. Have no plans scheduled within 3 hours of the meal. You will not want to be rushed and you will also want to insure adequate time for your body to recuperate. The meal itself will certainly be a few hours. If you find you do not have the appropriate time commitment available, simply reschedule to a day or time when you do.

Location

Car – You want to find the closest possible parking spot to the exit to limit the walking distance to the car. This most often will be a handicap spot and if you are legally allowed to park there you probably don’t need to be reading this. Find the next closest spot and park in a manner where you will not need to reverse from. The best way is to back into the spot, this will come in handy when your stomach is protruding to the steering wheel. It is also a good idea to set the seat back at least an additional notch.

Seating – You of course will want to sit closest to the buffet to limit distanced walked but there are some things to consider. Stay away from high traffic areas such as soda machines, bathrooms and highly walked aisleways. Also there is the decision between table or booth. Although booths can be more comfortable it makes it difficult for the people on the inside to enter and exit. Here I would recommend a conventional table. It’s also easier to arrange or rearrange seating as you see fit to accommodate your group. This is a critical thing to consider as well. As I only truly advise dining at a buffet with like minded and physically equivalent individuals this shouldn’t be an issue but it is sometimes the case that you’ll find yourself with less than superior eaters. Be sure that they are placed furthest from the buffet and in a seat that will not block others from coming and going.

Pre-meal Setup

Take the necessary time to cover the next few steps, these more often than not are skipped or not heeded properly. Although the wonderful aromas emanating from the buffet and the promise of succulent dishes await you it is important to resist until full setup has been accomplished. This can mean the difference between an amateur and professional level execution of the perfect buffet meal.

The first point should be to handle the payment if possible. A good majority of establishments will have you pay when you enter so this may not be an issue. If you find this not to be the case however, attempt to pay as soon as possible. Explain to the staff that you’ll be getting the buffet and nothing else and that you’d like to take care of payment. That way this will be out of the way and you will not be searching for your server when you’re finished eating.

Drinks should now be acquired. I recommend the consumption of water and nothing else (hot tea is also acceptable). Seeing that it is a buffet you’ll have a large variety of offerings available to you and I understand it may be difficult to withstand other options. If you find yourself wanting soda I would suggest very small amounts, the carbonation will act in a stomach expanding capacity. Keep in mind that you’re here for the food not the drink. Bring all drinks to your table that you’ll need throughout your meal.

This is also the time to gather all necessary extra napkins and utensils. You will not want to be having to search these out in the middle of your meal. Find them now and bring them back to your table. You may also want to get and designate a plate for trash items such as chicken and fish bones or items that didn’t make the cut. This is a personal preference but may help when there are offending items in direct contact with better quality food on your plate.

Lastly are your sauces and condiments. This is the time to scour the buffet for all your sauce needs. This can also be done in conjunction with your initial buffet walkthrough. Sometimes this can be difficult as not all buffets are setup to accommodate this easily. The best bet is to grab a dinner plate and several sauce cups or small bowls. You can now fill them with dressings (Ranch, Thousand Island, Honey Mustard, Blue Cheese, etc.), condiments (mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup) or sauces (BBQ, soy, wasabi, tarter, cocktail, hot sauces, horseradish, steak sauces, etc.). Many sauces will be grouped with the dressings but you may find certain ones scattered about, especially ones that are intended for an individual dish.

Using soup bowls, you can also take this opportunity to gather large amounts of nacho cheese sauce, gravy, au jus, sweet & sour sauce, or pasta sauces. Any butters, or toppings that you might use a lot of (bacon bits, sunflower seeds, shredded cheese) can also be procured during this time. As mentioned previously you can do a small scouting report of the buffet items and layout during this process.

Strategy

If you have not already done so, now is the time to do your initial scouting. This takes discipline and some patience but will pay off in the end. Be sure to walk the entire length of the buffet including the dessert area. Sometimes you’ll find hidden and unexpected items. Take note of all dishes that you would like to try. With knowledge of the layout and items at handle you can now plan your attack. Some things to consider on your first go around is what items have been freshly placed out and which will be available during your subsequent trips. Make note of the costliest items as well as the most popular.

Grab a dinner plate, this is a must, always use the largest plate they offer, there is no need to use anything else. No salad plates, bread plates or smaller dishes. The only exception would be bowlable items and those should always be placed in the largest bowl (usually the soup bowl). Bowls can be at great vehicle for certain dishes such as nachos, where the cheese sauce would normally interfere with other items on a plate. The use of a bowl is quite often over looked.

Using the large plate gather samples of the items you would like to try the most that are the freshest. Keep in mind those items that may run out quickly as in cocktail shrimp, crab legs and other high priced goods. Take advantage of what is available when it is available; do not assume it will be there when you return. Be cautious of piling too many items on one plate. Leave adequate distance between items otherwise they will all meld together and begin to taste the same. Take as many plates as you need, skilled diners can fill three or more in one trip.

Do not feel as if you need to eat every item that you’ve placed on your plate. Waste should be limited but if a particular dish is not to your liking there is no need to eat any more of it. In this same vein, take only small portions until you know that you’d like more. This goes for everything at the buffet including soups and carved meats.

Some would discourage eating breads and soups or salads altogether. This is not a bad technique and I do advise this with small exceptions. New England clam chowder can be considered a higher priced item and can actually be quite good at a number of establishments. Chili can be added to hot dogs, hamburgers, spaghetti, potatoes or fries. You may find breads that you do not happen upon in normal dining such as cornbread, yeast rolls or naan. These can be eaten sparingly. There is never a need to eat steamed rice (shrimp fried rice in small amounts is acceptable), dinner rolls or the like, this is completely unacceptable.

The same thing goes for salads. There is no need to make a salad plate but often you’ll find nice pasta salads, cole slaws or carrot salads. These make great additions to hamburgers, hot dogs or tacos as well. Again use discretion and do not take up valuable stomach room needlessly.

Speed of eating is a hotly debated matter as well. Some state that you must eat as much as possible before your brain registers that you are full. I do not subscribe to this philosophy but if time is your game there are a few caveats that you may run into. You will not necessarily have the luxury of getting the items at their freshest and when they are available.

You may also find several frequent patrons to be road blocks to your success. The elderly, for instance will certainly get in your way. Running kids can cause havoc as can the guy who can’t decide which gravy to put on his mashed potatoes. The excessive hoarder can dampen your plans as well, drying up all rations of fried shrimp or crab legs. As goes for the overweight diner who loads everything up on one plate stopping at each serving tray slowing your progress. It is acceptable to go around slow diners as long as there is room on the other side and you will not be needing to reach back towards the skipped individual. A powerful technique here can be the “accidental” elbow bump in order to encourage them to move on. It is also important to steel yourself from others use of this maneuver.

Once you’ve sampled all the items that initially looked appetizing and you know which ones you’d like more of it is time to get adventurous. Prior to loading up on your favorite items, this is when I recommend taking a culinary detour. Use this time to mix and match things you wouldn’t normally be able to do.

Try some things you’ve never thought to try, it is after all a buffet and allows you this freedom. Maybe try a soft taco with cole slaw, or gravy and cheese on your fries. How about chili on your meatloaf or potato salad on your pizza? I’m not saying these particular combinations are for everyone but take a chance to broaden your palate.

You can also make items that they don’t necessarily have like taking fried chicken off the bones and adding hot sauce if they don’t have buffalo wings. Or adding cheese sauce to spaghetti if they don’t have macaroni & cheese. It will also give your taste buds a cleansing before venturing back to items you’ve liked but want more of. I find it important to alternate tastes between plates. If your first plate was mostly fried items, make your second fresher vegetable heavy dishes. If you had a high amount of Chinese items on one plate now sample the American items. This will keep your taste buds stimulated and awake and lessen possible fatigue.

Once you’ve finished your mad scientist plate it is now time to fill up on the big ticket items and ones which you really enjoy. Get five slices of the roast beef if you’d like, stack up the ribs, or load up on the crab legs. If you really enjoyed the ham, go get more. Make a Thanksgiving plate of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce if you want. If the General Tso’s or Seafood Delight was particularly good go grab some more. This the best time to “get your money’s worth” and this may actually span 2 or 3 plates.

It is equally as important to note the items of low quality as it is to remember the good items. No matter how good those pork spare ribs look you know that they’re tough and full of gristle. Even though pizza still looks good, if you tried it and it was no better than a burnt Tostino’s do not heed the siren song. If it was bad the first time, odds are it will be bad the second time. This is not the time to give it the benefit of the doubt, skip it altogether.

Throughout your meal be sure to keep an eye out for freshly stocked items. You’ll want to take full advantage of this. Do not be shy or hesitant to mention to staff that items are out or cold. Do this each opportunity you have while at the serving tables so that they’ll be available on return trips. You can designate individuals for certain items and give them the responsibility to inform others at the table when they are fresh. This is also a good job to employ bored children with you happen to have them with you.

Also do not be intimidated by owners or servers who seem to glare at your eating technique. Keep in mind that they are truly only in awe of your abilities. Typically their bark is worse than their bite and will only stare at you from a distance.

Once you have eaten all of the items you would like and you feel you have now “gotten your money’s worth” it is time for dessert. I recommend first getting a soup bowl (or the largest available bowl), filling it with ice cream and returning it to the table. Now get a full size plate and load up on the desserts that interest you. Get the carrot cake, along with the cheesecake and vanilla pudding if you’d like. Have the bread pudding, the blueberry pie, the pumpkin pie and the crème brule. You can also make a sundae if you’d like and I would recommend placing a brownie at the bottom of the bowl and using fruit from the salad bar to complete this treat. You imagination is your only limitation. One thing I would hold off on is either cookies or cones of soft serve as these items (singly) can be acceptable as a parting dessert to take with if asked for properly.

After dessert it can be possible to squeeze in a little bit more. If you’ve gotten a second wind or find that there is something you would like just a little more of this is your time to do it. You’ve paid the price of admission so if it fancies you go for it.

Etiquette

  • Practice patience, you’ll be faced with many obstacles but time is your friend. You’ve brought your entertainment so there should be no need to rush.
  • Use a new plate each and every time you go back to the buffet, no exceptions.
  • Always pay for each person dining, do not mooch of another’s plate or allow them to do so from yours.
  • Always use the serving spoon. Never use your fingers or your utensils to grab an item from the serving table.
  • Do not speak on your cell phone while at the serving tables.
  • Do not eat at the serving stations no matter how difficult this may be, always wait until you are seated at your table. This includes finger food items such as chips or popcorn chicken.
  • Never return an item to the serving trays. Once you’ve placed it on your plate keep it there.
  • Do not use a serving utensil from one item for another. Ask staff if there is a missing serving utensil.
  • Do not stare at other diners, this may be hard as you’ll find your share of people who should be embarrassed to be there but if followed properly this guide will get you to that point yourself.
  • Don’t forget to be courteous to other diners and staff. Use “please” and “thank you” as you’ve been taught.
  • Allow others the right of way, especially women, children and the elderly.
  • Waste as little food as possible. It is acceptable to not eat items you dislike but attempt to only bring back food to your table that you intend to eat.
  • Do not place dirty plates on tables other than your own.
  • Do not fill a single plate with any one item for the whole table. Additionally do not remove a serving tray or plate from the buffet (this has actually been known to occur).
  • Never ask for a to-go container, you should have eaten enough anyways.
  • Make sure that your children know the above rules and follow them as well
  • Always leave a tip.

Exit Strategy and Post Game

As mentioned earlier you should have already taken care of payment. The point here is to get home and into a comfortable environment as soon as possible. Ask you server if it is alright if you may take a cookie, brownie or ice cream cone to go with you and employ this tactic. Sweet in hand, return to your table andleave a tip, I recommend $1 per hour per diner. Now exit gracefully as the triumphant buffet master that you are. You should have the closest possible parking spot to the exit and be able to waddle right to your car.

A good point to be made is if at all possible, do not be the driver. Your body will want nothing more than to sit and digest its lavish feast. You will not want to be thinking and making life decisions like whether or not to go through a yellow light. Allow someone else to take the steering wheel giving you the relaxed comfort of the passenger seat.

You’ll want to be sure that you have no further commitments for at least 3 hours and preferably the remainder of the day. Although it may be hard to resist napping at this time I would suggest staying awake for a couple of hours in order to give your body the best ability to begin digestion. During this time it is also important to consume adequate amounts of water as to lessen the effects of excess fat, sugar and sodium and to possibly stave off the inevitable food coma and hangover. It is also a good idea to employ whatever antacids or stomachs aides you deem necessary. A good night’s sleep will surely be in order once your body has had a few hours to recuperate.

Lastly, but maybe most importantly it is now time to take a break from buffeting and go back (hopefully back) to healthy eating immediately. Your body can only take eating like this in sporadic fashion. This is the time to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you followed the above properly you will have no such cravings for unhealthy food for at least a month anyways. Take this month long sabbatical to mediate, exercise and cleanse your body. Once you are back in tiptop shape you will then be in the right frame of mind and body to begin the beautiful journey of all-you-can-eat buffeting again.

Now head out there with your new found knowledge and give all those buffet owners a run for their money. Personally I tend to feel sorry for the mom and pop places….every so often you’ll see a change in ownership and I know I’m partially responsible for that. With that in mind why don’t you start at the fabulous Rio Carnival World Buffet and maybe we can make a change in that whole “the house always wins” thing.

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