Bottomfeeder: Decisions at the Buffet Table

Get to know the strengths and weaknesses.

All-you-can-eat casino buffets can vary wildly in quality—not just from buffet to buffet, but within a buffet itself. Take the Muckleshoot Casino's Spice Bay Buffet. Consensus among a table of eight was that the crab legs were splendid, the eggs benedict was to be avoided, and the fried chicken and pizza were frozen-dinner-quality.But let's repeat: all-you-can-eat; if a couple dishes suck, so what? Take a bong rip in the bathroom and try, try again! The only difficult part was actually gaining entry to Spice Bay—for VIPs, that is. That doesn't make much sense, as VIPs are supposed to receive preferential treatment. Allow me to explain.My friends and I wanted to spend the day at Emerald Downs, but didn't want to drive—because we wanted to imbibe with impunity. Thanks to a Bush-enacted ban on public transit which directly serves private events such as those of the sporting variety, Metro's wonderful Pony Express, which once ferried bettors from Second and Pine straight to the track, has ceased to exist (ditto special Seahawk and Mariner routes). But the privately-operated Muckleshoot Express, which picks up passengers in the International District (where we boarded), Renton, and Kent, is still rolling, and the $10 round-trip fare also guarantees admission into the casino's "Players Club"—which is where our problems began.Once off the bus, those seeking to cash in on the promise of the Players Club must wait in a too-long line ("reminiscent of standing in the wrong line at the DMV" is how one traveling companion put it). At the front of the line, they must have their IDs scanned thoroughly, as though passing through a Secret Service checkpoint, before receiving a booklet guaranteeing, among other things, half-off at the buffet. But once you get to the buffet register with that coupon, they point you to another desk on the casino floor, where, unless you're lucky, you wait in another line to exchange the coupon for a voucher, which is redeemable at the register you've already been to.So is it worth it? Depends how much you like crab legs, I guess. What is worth the trip to Muckleshoot is the social interaction. There's nothing more life-affirming than helping an octogenarian widow with an oxygen tank get comfortable in front of her favorite slot machine (aka "one-armed bandit") for the day. Makes you savor those crab legs—and even the eggs benny—all the more.[Editor's Note: The management of the Muckleshoot Casino has affirmed to Seattle Weekly that it does not in any way condone or allow marijuana on the premises of the casino.]

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