Last Fall, Brendan, Mr. Semi-rad, and I were emailing ideas back and forth about adventures that do not meet the definition you would find in Outside magazine. These were adventures that the Ueli Stecks of the world would never consider and your average Joe would think is a waste of time. Things like a Grand Teton National Park road trip, 2 dudes, 1 Vespa. Or living on an inflatable island in the Great Salt lake for 3 days eating only egg salad sandwiches. Like I said. We were thinking outside the box. Of all the ideas discussed, one struck a chord. The Buffet of Buffets.
Every person that steps foot on the Strip has dreams of doing something BIG! Some show up to spend thousands in a game of risk. Others arrive believing they are going to have a weekend full of sexual exploits. Some want to overpay to shoot automatic weapons and drive exotic cars. By far the most common dream that is fulfilled is the ability to be in public in the middle of the day, sipping on a beverage of choice from a 36 inch chalice. Mine was to Buffet it.
Three things draw people to buffets in this country. The value, the quantity, and the variety. In just one place you can eat cupcakes and gelato first and finish with a salad and croissant. Or you can enjoy a feast of sushi, waffles, apple jacks and taquitos all on the same plate. The options are endless. The combinations are infinite. It is the blankest of canvases for the eater. There is a place in this world where you can compound the greatness of a buffet and multiply the potential of human consumption and digestion. It is in Vegas. Starting at $59.95 you can purchase a pass for the Buffet of Buffets. 5 all you can eat buffets, all within walking distance, for 24 hours. I do not consider myself a huge eater. In fact, I am not even a buffet connoisseur. But when it comes to getting my money’s worth, a buffet will not beat me. The house will not win this bet.
Brendan and I meet at 7:00 am on a Saturday morning at the intersection of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard. People exiting casinos are surprised that the sun is shining. The first person we see asks us “Have you guys been up all night?” It is apparent that she has been. We enter the Flamingo hotel. We pay our minimal fee for what we are about to consume. They give us our wrist bands and find us a table. We decide it is best to sit down and establish the ground rules. “What are we trying to accomplish here?” “What is our goal?” We spitball some ideas and agree that as with any adventure, we need to be flexible and willing to change our strategy as the day goes on. If we get stuck in our ways, we run the risk of failure and sucking the “fun” out of it. We establish our objectives.
– 3 full plates of food and 1 dessert plate at each buffet.
– Time is on our side. No need to rush. We are here for the buffets so lets spend as much time as possible in buffets
– 1 Mulligan plate allowed if needed.
– We snap a photo of every plate before consuming.
And so we begin.
Flamingo – We were all smiles. Small talk, laughing at our surroundings, and enjoying the people watching. Feeling really good about the day and optimistic we will be able to accomplish our goals.
Harrahs – I think we sat at our table for 25 minutes before even looking at the food. We have a lot of similar thoughts on adventure and content and what makes life worth living. It was easy to get lost in conversation. But I think we kept talking just so we could stall the consumption of more food. On the second plate I find Brendan wandering back and forth in front of the food options trying to figure out what to fill his plate with. Again stalling. It felt good to just move and let the food in our already full bellies settle. We finish with ice cream and hit the streets for a few laps around the intersection to try and burn some calories.
The Rio- Luckily the Rio is about a 3/4 mile walk away. At this point I was feeling maxed out. Doubting my abilities at less then half way through the challenge. We reach The Rio and feel slightly rejuvenated after our little walk. I try to boost my energy with a large Coke. Why not add an additional 250 calories to this situation. I jump into prime rib here. I want to make sure I eat the classic buffet items at some point today. Cream pie and ice cream for dessert and we leave the Rio feeling absolutely wrecked.
Planet Hollywood – Realizing it was getting late in the day and our pace was slowing to a lethargic crawl, we go straight to the buffet. While checking in I try to be friendly with Lynn, the lady running the register. “We are hurting. This is our 4th buffet of the day.” She responds with bit of a scowl and says “Please don’t get sick here.” We did not heed her request. Planet Hollywood became our crux, our summit push, the must make move on a class V rapid. And I bonked. I guess the opposite of bonk. I over consumed and under burned. Two plates in I found myself face down on the table wishing the demon inside of my gut would crawl out and end my suffering.
Paris – The final stretch. The pinnacle of our gluttony. I focused, kept my head down and powered forward. This was now business. We were long past pleasure. Finished it all off with a macaroon a high five. When it was all over I wanted to let everyone know what we had just accomplished. I just consumed 13,500 calories in one day. I spent 12+ hours in buffets. I set a goal and accomplished it.
As we sat watching the fountains of the Bellagio dance to the tunes of Frank Sinatra I envisioned a giant checkmark on my list of life accomplishments. Not because this is a bucket list item or that I have always wanted to eat way too much mediocre food. It was an accomplishment because it was an idea that became a plan, and then a reality. It happened. We did it.