Believe it or not, I really don't mind shopping. In fact, I am a bit of a deal-hunter. I used to prowl Redflagdeals, Slickdeals and Techbargains quite often until this food blog has taken over my life. Therefore, I am no stranger to shopping at outlets. I regularly visit the Woodburn Outlets just south of Portland and the Seattle Premium Outlets in Tulalip. Having visited Woodburn only 3 weeks ago, it didn't stop us from heading down to Tulalip on the Labour Day weekend. With our Nexus passes, we merrily bypassed the 2-hour lineup at the border and headed south on I-5. Our plan of attack was to snag a choice parking spot at the outlet and wander over to the Tulalip Casino. No, we weren't going gambling. Besides, I'm a terrible gambler. My poker face is as subtle as my reaction to good food. We headed over to the land of one-arm bandits and smoke to grab an early lunch (I guess brunch). You might be wondering why we didn't shop a bit first and eat at the food fair. Well, it's already $7.99 for a plate of food at Flaming Wok, the buffet is only $10.99. So if I was intending on eating crappy Chinese food for $7.99, why not pay $10.99 for that and 4 times the amount of food! Besides, you'll be much more comfortable sitting there while stuffing your face. I've been to this buffet quite a few times and I want to share some of my pet peeves about buffets:
- If you do not cut into a lineup at a store, do not cut into line to get that meatball
- Do not take a plate, touch it, inspect it and decide it's dirty and place it back on the plate stack in front of somebody
- Do not pick one-by-one, the best piece of rib in front of everyone
- Do not take all the shrimp when there is a lineup behind you
- Do not eat so much that you have to puke in the washroom for the next person to see
- Do not take a mound of food on 3 different plates, it's a buffet, there will be more food
- Do not secretly place food in your purse, it's against the rules and frankly it's disgusting
- Be polite, don't grunt like a caveman, even though you are gorging like one
Alright, let's get this out of the way first. You will never confuse the buffet at Tulalip Casino with any of the nicer Vegas spreads; but remember, you're only paying $10.99 ($9.99 on weekdays). The buffet makes up with quantity and selection where it may lack in quality. I'm not really into these types of buffets which are devoid of any seafood (except Tuesdays); but for $10.99 and with no immediate competition, I'll eat it. Starting at one end of the buffet is the Chinese food station. I give it to them that there is an actual Asian person wok-frying the food. However, it doesn't taste anything like the dish it is supposed to be. Some of the dishes include Egg Drop Soup, Spring Rolls, Potstickers, Fried Sui Mai, Fried Rice, Noodles, Orange Chicken, Vegetable Stir Fry, and General Tso's Chicken.. Whatever the case, I never touch this part of the buffet anyways. Moving along, you'll hit the Italian pasta bar. There are choices of ingredients for a quick pan toss. Honestly, I don't hit this part of the buffet either. I think it's the "Chinese" values instilled in me. I was taught from an early age that things like pasta, mash potatoes, rice and the such should be avoided at buffets since they are only fillers. I guess that's why I also skipped the breakfast items. There is the usual selection of sausage links, sausage patties, bacon, potatoes, scrambled eggs, French toast and pancakes.
Moving over to the next cluster of food, we find chicken fried steak complete with country gravy. I absolutely love this stuff; however, every time I eat it, my stomach doesn't do so well. Therefore, I skipped this as well. Finally, at the next station, I started to put food on my plate. This station consists of onion rings, wings, pot roast, mash potatoes, stuffing and gravy. The items here are pretty standard, however, the pot roast is actually pretty good. Just make sure to go easy on the gravy, it's quite salty. Totally disregarding the "Chinese" buffet strategy, I grabbed some mash potatoes. Hey, I love mash potatoes! Directly next to this station is the hot carving section. It includes fresh rotisserie chicken, a whole ham, salmon fillet and roast beef. I'm not sure what I have against baked ham; but I never seem to get any at a buffet. I also avoided the salmon because it's always overcooked. I did get some roast beef and at least this time, it was cooked perfectly medium rare and quite tender.
Moving on, past the carving station is another pretty decent spread of food. It includes ribs and fried chicken. I particularly like the ribs because they are both tender and sauced-up real well. I usually get a whack load of these. Since I'm there, I take the obligatory piece of fried chicken. Predictably, the fried chicken is overcooked; but I eat it anyways. I'm not sure why I didn't get a picture of this section. It could be that I was probably too interested in eating the ribs and forgot to take a picture. Continuing on, the next section includes a couple of pizzas, which I bypassed as well. The following portion of the buffet was actually added a year ago. If you have ever been to the Mongolie Grill, this will look familiar. Behind the spread of veggies, noodles, meat and sauces resides a large round Mongalie grill. You merely pick your items (a la U-Grill) and it is cooked fresh for you.
In the middle of the buffet resides an island where the soups, salads, desserts and ice cream reside. There are the usual mixed spring greens, romaine and lettuce with your choice of various items. There are the requisite pasta salad, potato salad and carrot salad as well. I didn't take a picture of this section partly because it was so busy and also, it's salad. I eat meat! *Grunt* There are 3 soup choices, usually a clear broth, a chowder of some sorts (today it was seafood chowder) and chicken noodle. Lastly, the dessert section is quite extensive and it includes an ice cream bar. There isn't much of a selection, but it's good for the kiddies and also includes all the toppings.
Beverages are also included with the buffet. Choices include juice, pop, coffee and tea. Honestly, the food at Eagles Buffet is quite average. You got some decent stuff mixed in with not-so-good stuff. But for $10.99, it is a good value considering that there are very few dining options around the Seattle Premium Outlets. Add the fact that you will pay at least $8.00 at the food court anyways, the buffet is a no-brainer (assuming you want to take time out of your shopping). If you can go in with reasonable expectations for $10.99, then you will come out thinking you got good value and a bit full.
- Pretty good selection for the price
- Includes beverages
- Some of the food is iffy
- Lots of smoke from the Casino side