I don’t know when, but at some point, someone decided it would be a good idea to let people come to Las Vegas, buy a wristband, and then eat at seven different buffets during a 24 hour period as many times as they wanted.
This is kind of like Communism; it sounds really, really good on paper.
The last time I went to Las Vegas was seven years ago when I only visited for a choral directors conference with four other students who had little to no interest in eating anywhere that cost more than $5 or attending any shows and I didn’t really think it would be a good idea for me to traipse around the Strip, alone. Sometimes I make really good decisions.
So this time around I wanted to do everything I hadn’t managed to do, almost in response to that somewhat dismal vacation that started in a dirty, smelly hotel with a used condom in the couch and ended with me taking a shuttle back to my college town because my choir director lived in Salt Lake City, quite close to the airport. Stuff happened in between, but what I mostly remember is the stale, cigarette-flavored tuna sandwich I ordered from Subway while said director ate at the Bellagio buffet (or one much like it) with an old friend.
I wrote up a buffet itinerary around our schedule, which essentially consisted of “Ka” by Cirque du Soleil at the MGM Grand and a visit to H&M. So it stood to reason, in my mind, that we could easily visit five buffets in that 24 hour period, from dinner to dinner, to really maximize the experience.
This was wrong.
The average human stomach, I learned, cannot really hold more than four buffets worth of food in a 24 hour period. Dinner at Planet Hollywood was 86ed and then I was left wondering why I thought the wristband was such a brilliant idea in the first place. In fact, for as important food is to me, I made a number of rookie mistakes and I’m sorry to say the food wasn’t always the highlight. [A small, review-like note: don't bother hitting up the Village Seafood buffet in the Rio because it's an extra $15/person and you can essentially get all the same things at the Carnival World Buffet also at the Rio, which is magnificent with its teppanyaki and 70 dessert options.]
This isn’t to say I didn’t eat some really delicious food, of course. I managed to consume nine strips of bacon over the course of two and a half days and about ten desserts.
While it might sound cliche, I have to say the buffet at the Bellagio was unquestionably the best we visited during our stay. I found myself thinking the food wasn’t good “for a buffet,” but good in general. In fact, for the entire vacation I’d worked very hard to not have seconds so I could try as many different options as possible, but I had seconds on three items at the Bellagio. I mean, it was really tasty stuff. I determined, executively, that the Bellagio buffet would become a tradition for us every time we visit Las Vegas because there’s just no reason why it shouldn’t be.
I had this chocolate mousse cake at 9:30 am during brunch. It was 12:30 in the East Coast. That’s a perfectly acceptable time to eat chocolate mousse cake.
Really, the only disappointment I brought home with myself was how small my stomach really is, even when I’ve stretched it out as far as it can possibly be stretched. Had it been behemoth, I’d be telling you all about the SIX buffets we’d eaten at, but alas, it is not. So I’m only telling you about five.