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The Secret Handshake

The Hunger Games: SLC's Endless Buffets

by Colin Wolf
Posted // 2011-11-30 -

If all-you-can eat buffets are any kind of barometer for our nation’s economy, then Salt Lake City is the damned 1%. In other words, SLC has an endless buffet of endless buffets. There are way too many to choose from. So what happens when your city has too many bottomless food troughs? You throw on some sweatpants and organize an all-you-can-eat 3-stage glutton bowl.

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(Fox Screenshot)

So, in an effort to eat ourselves to death ala Pizza The Hut, my barber Philthy and I went head-to-head last week slaying all-you-can-eat buffets such as Chuck-a-Rama, Simply Sushi and Golden Corral. The challenge was simple: Eat as much food as possible. He who eats the most in total weight after 3 lunches wins … or loses, however you want to look at it.

We decided to do this for one reason, and one reason alone -- we were both really hungry. There was no prize for the winner, no accolades were given; it was simply a competition for the sake of competing. However, at one point I suggested to Philthy, “If I win, you have to give me a free haircut. And if you win, I’ll give you a free haircut.” Unfortunately, we couldn’t agree on a prize.

So why Golden Corral, Chuck-a-Rama and Simply Sushi? Because not only did they fall into our budget, but more so because they were the only places that didn’t hang up on me when I called. The following are abbreviated phone conversations with the three all-you-can-eats…

Chuck-a-Rama:

Secret Handshake: Is your place really all-you-can-eat?

CR: Well, it’s not exactly all-you-can-eat. You can’t just sit here all day and eat everything.

SH: So, it’s not all-you-can-eat?

CR: It is, but if we think you’re taking advantage of us, then we’ll ask you to leave.

SH: Okay, then I need to tell you something …I’m an abomination. I’m more legend than man. If I show up for lunch, are you going to kick me out?

CR: No, as long as you don’t sit here all day.

SH: Great, see ya tomorrow.

Golden Corral:

SH: Is your place really all-you-can-eat?

GC: Oh, yeah.

SH: So, you won’t kick me out if I’m eating all your food?

GC: No! You can sit here as long as you want.

SH: All day?

GC: All day.

SH: Okay, but I need to tell you something … I’m a black hole of culinary refuse.

GC: That’s fine, come on down.

Simply Sushi:

SH: Is your place really all-you-can-eat?

SS: Yup.

SH: You don’t discriminate against people who can eat an unholy amount of sushi?

SS: No, of course not.

SH: Okay, I need to tell you something … I’m a dolphin.

SS: Um, well … you can still eat here.

SH: Sweet! See you in a couple of days.

Clearly, this competition was going to be a beast, so we came up with some ground rules:

1. The winner is determined by overall food weight consumed from the three stops.

2. No puking. If a competitor spews, he forfeits the last two plates consumed.

3. Once eating commences, no going to the bathroom or leaving the restaurant.

4. The event is not timed; rather, it’s an endurance test. Therefore ,each lunch isn’t over till both agree it’s time to leave.

5. No salad.

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Before I started this thing, I thought I was going to Kobayashi the shit of these buffets. But in reality, my stomach was not ready for three days of rapid-fire food punching. You see, since I’ve moved to SLC, I’ve been on a steady diet of ramen noodles, Hot and Readys and Alive multi-vitamins.

My stomach had no concept of the carnage that was about to be unleashed …

Day 1: Chuck-A-Rama

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First off, this place is pretty nice and has a huge assortment of meat, hence the name Chuck-A-Rama. But when choosing a name for something, I don’t understand why you would call it _____a-rama -- the interchangeable adjectives/jokes are endless. I mean, come on, I think it’s fair to say that this comes to mind for most people…

The Benevolent Order of Antelopes had it coming.

However, the food isn’t that bad. Well, actually I have no idea if the food is any good or not because that afternoon I was a steamy, hung-over mess.

Me_hungover.JPG

In fact, after I got my second plate (which consisted of mac-n-cheese, a mini burrito, peach cobbler and a cinnamon roll) I thought I was gonna “Lardass” all over the place. The food fog was too much for my frail condition. I refused to puke, and tried with all my power to suppress the reverse colon explosion that was building up below. I stretched out in the booth an immediately thought of this …

I stared at my plate, hoping that it would somehow crawl off the table and kill itself. But I was comforted by the fact that Philthy was also struggling.

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He said he was hungover, but I think he was just pandering, or perhaps he was self-handicapping. Either way, he powered through a few plates and eventually started bitching, “Man, pizza was a bad choice. Pizza was a baaad choice.”

Philthy_hungover.JPG

Overall, Chuck-a-rama is a fine establishment, it’s clean and it’s the goddamned Wal-Mart of buffets. But for the two of us, this was a poor showing. After a couple of hours, we both threw in the towel.

Total food in pounds:

Wolf: 2.0

Philthy: 2.4

Day 2: Simply Sushi

Simply_Sushi.JPG

When I got home from Chuck-a-Rama the day before, I passed out in a food coma for a solid 16 hours. I was feeling pretty good, and both of us were excited to eat here. If you've never been, Simply Sushi is pretty damned tasty. We sat at the bar and took down long-cut rolls, miso soups and hamachi while Planet Earth was playing on a flat screen above us.

Philthy started getting sweaty and he slowed down after a couple of rolls, complained that the smell of fish was crushing him. I didn’t really give a shit, so I ignored him and watched a polar bear try to eat a baby walrus. The stupid bear kept trying to bite this walrus’ ass. He struggled with it, got tired and eventually gave up. I looked back at Philthy and couldn’t help but think that there was some sort of irony here.

Total food in pounds:

Wolf: 5.36

Philthy: 4.36

Day 3: Golden Corral

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We purposely came here last because … well shit, it’s Golden Coral. This place is like a Shoe Carnival -- it looks strikingly similar on the inside but instead of a huge variety of shitty shoes there’s a huge variety of shitty food. However, you should go at least once in your life because when you walk in there’s a huge display telling you to check out the 8th wonder of the world.

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It’s called the Chocolate Wonderfall and it's not what you're probably thinking …

I'm sorry, but unfortunately it’s just a 3-ft. chocolate-fondue fountain. As soon as we spotted the thing,we hypothesized that somewhere, at some point, someone has probably stuck their dick in that thing, so we avoided it. Please, watch this clip and honestly say you’re not thinking the same thing.

Besides chocolate architecture, this place has everything; there’s Mexican, Chinese, Italian … shit, it even has an American-food section with mini grilled cheeses. I felt like a fat kid in a candy store, or, eh, a fat kid at a Golden Corral.

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We both went pretty big here and got more and more creative with our plates. But after my last plate of gummi bears and quesadillas, I was done and so was Philthy.

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The plate combinations here are endless.

Total food in pounds:

Wolf: 4.77

Philthy: 2.06

Over the past three days, neither one of us did as well as we had hoped. Perhaps our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. But deep down, I know I love food, I love buffets and I love free lunch from City Weekly. I'm just thankful that it’s over now and we never have to do it again.

Overall Total:

Wolf : 12.13

Philthy: 8.82

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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