Bellingham? Yes, I am so dedicated to my craft that there are no limits as to where I eat. In actuality, Wolvie and Italian Stallion were returning from their cruise/Las Vegas trip tonight and they were arriving at Bellingham International Airport. I decided that I wouldn't let a visit to Bellingham go to waste, so it was dinner at Old Country Buffet tonight. Ah yes, it brings back memories of my childhood when we would go down to Bellingham for some shopping and eating at Royal Fork. You went all the way to Bellingham for a buffet??? That's right! Back then, there were not many choices for buffets in Vancouver. The only one that I could remember was the Copper Kettle (which is long gone now, the Kingsway Canadian Tire resides there now). Actually, there aren't many non-Asian buffets in Vancouver in general. There are the usual hotel and casino buffets; but those are usually quite expensive. There's Uncle Willy's... but let's just not go there...
Whenever I'm shopping in Bellingham, I always seem to end up at Old Country Buffet in Bellis Fair. For those food snobs who scoff at places like Old Country Buffet, let me ask you this, "for the price you pay at Old Country Buffet, would you rather go eat fast food?" The answer is pretty rhetorical. Of course you won't find the fancy food you'd find at Vegas buffet; but remember what you are paying. Lunch only costs $10.00 and dinner is only $13.00. For that modest amount of money, you really get a good bang for the buck. And if you have a family, Old Country Buffet offers a variety of food in a family friendly environment. Yes, even my son will find something to eat here, despite his finickiness. And what exactly are you getting? Of course there is the requisite salad bar with your choice of spring mix, romaine or green salad. There is a multitude of toppings which include broccoli, egg, peas, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, olives, peppers, mushrooms and red onion. In addition, there are prepared salads such as bean, potato, macaroni and apple. For all the times I've eaten here, I've always been impressed at how fresh the salads are. Once you're done with the salad, there are 2 soups to choose from, usually a chicken noodle and a cream soup. Right next to the soup station is where you can make your own taco with all the fixins'. I'm sure some people love the Mexican food; but for me, it's all about the meat and I usually head straight towards that.
Tonight was "meat" theme night; thus there was a selection of roast beef, turkey, ham and steak at the carving station. At the same station, you'll find pizza, baked potato and fries as well. You know, for an inexpensive buffet, the meats are quite good. I never find that I have to deal with tough meat. Other hot food includes fish, fried chicken, meatloaf, corn on the cob, carrots, mashed potatoes (with gravy) and stuffing. The food at this station is pretty standard. It reminds me of home-cooking. Nothing hoity toity here; but good down home comfort food. Then there is what I call the potpourri station where you'll find roast chicken, spaghetti with meat or vegetarian sauce, sweet 'n sour chicken, fried rice, mac 'n cheese, ribs, string beans and hot buns. For dessert, there is a selection of cakes, cookies, hot cinnamon buns, apple crisp and pie. Furthermore, there is soft-serve ice cream and all the toppings to make a sundae. Lastly, soft drinks, tea and coffee are included as well.
Now I must reiterate that when we eat at a restaurant, expectations have to coincide with price and value. Obviously, Old Country Buffet is not fine dining and they never advertise to be. However, they do claim to be a family restaurant that serves up American comfort food at reasonable prices. This is especially handy when you have kids or you're just plain hungry. Especially in an economic downturn, value is often a very important factor when it comes to dining out.
- Wide range of food for the price
- Food is fresh and always refilled promptly
- Desserts are a bit weak