Monday, August 10, 2009

A buffet gamble

Walk along 40th Road in Flushing, Queens at any given time and you'll find a row of charter buses, all waiting to ferry gamblers to Atlantic City or nearby casinos like Mohegan Sun and Turning Stone. The companies that run these buses also offer remarkably low-priced fares: typically ten or fifteen dollars per person for round-trip transportation, a meal at the casino's buffet, and a ten- or twenty-dollar voucher for table gambling money. As long as you refrain from losing everything you own at the casino after you arrive, you have a pretty good deal. (But if you do lose all your money, you'll still at least have a ride back!)

Taking advantage of one of these offers, my parents and I headed to Foxwoods Casino for an afternoon. Since none of us were interested in gambling at the tables, we traded off our vouchers (i.e. sold them to the guys waiting at the bus drop-off for people like us) and headed for Festival Buffet to eat lunch instead. The food is just as you might expect for a buffet in a casino—some items were good (the surprisingly tender slice of London broil, the shrimp cocktail, all things battered and fried) but most of them were mediocre (all of the food at the Chinese and Mexican stations, any attempt at seafood). Still, while sheer quantity doesn't usually make up for quality, in this case some combination of both factors made the meal decent enough.

Thus fortified, we spent the next few hours at the penny and nickel slot machines. Once we blew about twenty bucks we took the bus back and called it a day. What can I say? My parents and I may love a bargain, but gamblers we are not.

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