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Buffet Servings?

Not sure what happened when I posted this before..
but I was just wondering, how many times on average (not on a particularly starving day, or a day when you arrive at dinner already satiated) you return to the buffet and fill your plate?

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  1. As many times as it takes. I am always astonished (particularly on cruise ships) by people who load up their plate as if they were allowed only one trip to the buffet - they have salad, eggs benedict, fruit, potatoes, sausage, bacon, shrimp, crab legs, ribs, roast beef, ham, scrambled, omlette, waffle and who knows what else buried under that heap of stuff. Since I'm not washing the plates, I'll return to the buffet with a fresh plate for each item of food or a couple of items.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TomSwift

      I am a "like to mix my foods when I eat" type of person, so I load up my plate with heaps and heaps of food, because that's how I like to eat, not because I don't think I can go back. Usually I just like the food touching other food....y'know?

      1. re: canadianbeaver

        I know what you mean. Often (particularily US Thanksgiving) I'll load up so that the mashed potatoes, the gravey, the peas, the turnips, etc., etc. all touch one another and form an amalgam of goo that is SO satisfying.

    2. I don't do buffets much, but when I do I usually make 3 trips through the line. On the first trip I get small amounts of everything that looks good. The second time around I get larger portions of the items I like the most from round 1. The third trip is for dessert. I have been known to get an final sausage link with dessert at brunch buffets.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mpjmph

        That's my strategy as well. Although I feel bad about the stuff I take one bite out of and discard.

      2. The number of trips to return to the buffet are only relative if you consider how big the plates are and how much food is piled on. It's quite usual for the first plate to be large, but subsequent plates not as large in food weight. Also, some do not like to mix certain items on the plate.

        Personally, I'm not a buffet guy for the most part, but I do enjoy breakfast at a nice hotel where I am staying and when they offer a brunch type menu on weekend.....I'll admit to over indulging at those times with too much bacon and/or smoked salmon......but really, I'm more of a sampler type person and I like to try small amounts of interesting items....which sometimes means many trips to the buffet. I like to keep my selections separate and light, like tapas and not fill my plate. I believe you should take only what you intend to eat and never wast food if possible.

        1. Two ~~ First one is a small serving of everything the "looks" good..Second one is a serving of everything that "taste" good. ~~~~ I don't do the desserts!

          1. At least three.

            But never is the plate full.

            I appear to not be eating much...

            1. I would sya typically three.. maybe four, but not necessarily much food. Once for salad type items, 2nd for main, I might get dessert. But possibly a 4th plate depending on what if being served. Since I am vegetarian and most times there isn't as much offered for me I will often have full plate of lettuce based salad in there somewhere to keep me occupied/fill me up. And often times I have an option of side veggies for a main course so i don't really feel guilty going back!

              1. interesting.. I would have to agree with a lot of you.. I think I probably go up once for a sampling of good looking things, then return another time for my favourite items, then again for dessert (if it looks worth the calories)..

                1. If the line is actually moving and the plates are of a normal size (meaning big enough for an actual entree and not just an appetizer), I will take small portions and return a few times to make sure I am only eating what I want and do not waste food. However, I've found recently that some buffets only offer teeny tiny plates (probably for that very fear of people wasting food). I could make do- if the lines are reasonable. But at Aryhan's in Long Island, the line took almost 30 mins for one round- so I had to pile the plate so I wouldn't have to go back. Although the food was pretty good I would not go back because I did not like having to do that.

                  1. I typically go up 3 times- once for appetizer/salad, another for main course, and third for dessert. If there is a particularly good appetizer section or I want a bigger salad, I may go up a 4th to keep those separate. I don't eat a whole lot, so typically all but the main course plate will be a smaller size.

                    If lines are long, I may stick with one or two visits just to save time. I know on cruises certain parts can have long lines and it's worth it to get all you want from an area at one time instead of having to go back and wait for another 10 minutes.

                    1. It all depends on what's on offer! At Sweet Tomatoes I have my nice big salad first, then two small servings of soup, and then a nice dessert. At a buffet I'll usually make three passes - appetiser or salad, main course and then dessert... but if there's something particularly yummy I'll go back for more. it's not as if there's a 'one serve only' rule.

                      1. 3, and the plates are never overflowing. In Vegas buffets, I actually lose my appetite when I witness people making utter gluttons of themselves, as if they CAN'T go back, for any reason. Once, I saw someone who had what looked to be 100 shrimps on their plate, piled so high that a person -coulden't- miss it if they walked by. I personally don't care if the person eating is big, small, old or young. They call attention to themselves by the sheer quantity of food, as if they haven't eaten in a month.

                        I think when people come to a Vegas buffet, some just are overwhelmed by the choices on the line. and they've never seen anything like it- they just go a bit wild!

                        Salad/cold starters, hot food, dessert if it looks good, for me.

                        1. I go up once, and not to fill and pile my plate sky high.

                          I know what I like and I get small portions (not because I'm on a diet or anything) but because I want to enjoy it and be able to walk out. "

                          Dessert is separate but I'm not a big fan so I sometimes just skip it all together.
                          If I get two plates normally it's just for muscle shells or to put the seafood separate because they take up a lot of room and often I bring a platter for everyone at the table.

                          1. Things are getting blurred here. I think we need to make a distinction between a "brunch" buffet, on the one hand, and lunch and dinner buffets on the other hand. I suspect that our dining habits are different as between the two types, and no one is really specifying which meal they're talking about.

                            1. Ok, I'll be honest - a lot more than anyone here admits. So let's suppose it is Chinese.
                              1) Small salad
                              2) Soup
                              3) Crab legs if they are on
                              4) More crab legs so the waste plate isn't embarrassing.
                              4.5) Maybe some prawns and fish
                              5) Some chinese-y stuff, little bits of numerous things.
                              6) Maybe two more trips - I only put one foodstuff at a time. Always includes some curry
                              7) Fruit
                              8) Last bit of fruits depending on what was good in 7

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Paulustrious

                                I like your honesty.. and I think the more I read over your list I realize thats probably closer to my routine too.. I guess it depends what looks super good at the buffet or what is the specialty (ie. crab or lobster.. Obviously, I'm going to try to eat my fair share)

                                1. re: hungryabbey

                                  You can see I'm not a glutton - I skip desert.

                                2. re: Paulustrious

                                  I'm right there with you on the chinese buffet list. Just skip the small salad and replace it with dessert, last of course. Maybe add in a plate or two of sushi too if they have it.

                                3. I do not choose buffets; they choose me. If I go to a function where that is what is offered then I may make a reconnoitering trip if I'm hungry. A dab of this and that will tell me if I want to go back. It is rare that I do more than nibble very selectively at buffets. There are rare exceptions.
                                  I like to take a few things and go back frequently versus piling a plate high and it looking and tasting like I just cleaned all the dinner plates prior to putting them in the washer. I don't want all the flavors melding if there are any worthwhile flavors. Years ago when a friend would drag me to a Chinese buffet, he would pile his plate to the point of things falling off with all different kinds of dishes. Then he stirred it all together and piled on the soy sauce! Them's some good vittles, now!
                                  I despise waste and people who pile their plates high only to push them aside and go back for more, but different.

                                  1. If it is a brunch:
                                    1. cheese and grapes
                                    2.omelet, baby belgian, sausage, bacon, french toast
                                    3.more sausage or bacon, little pastries or rolls/biscuits with jam or honey
                                    4.mini salad, prime rib, turkey, fish and veggie,
                                    5. pasta dish, whatever meat was the best
                                    6.dessert plate with fruit

                                    1. wonton soup and crab legs
                                    2. shellfish, fried chinese items, asparagus, crab legs
                                    4. vanilla ice cream, little fried chicken pieces, fried dough

                                    don't usually go to dinner buffets, but if at a wedding or party that is buffet style, I will only go through the appetizer line once and the dinner line once.

                                    1. And then we have the worst of them all. This is the Italian Wedding antipasto buffet. This is usually full of wonderful things. The last one I was at had smoked salmon, parmesan, lobster tails, buffalo mozzarella on tomatoes, pickles, deep fried prawns, calamari and so on. Truly good. A feast by anyone's standards. It's a minimum two-trip buffet.

                                      But then they stab you in the back. Next arrives two types of pasta. And no - it's not a choice. Then comes the fish. Then comes the main course. Tenderloin / chicken. Once again not a choice. Desert, coffee, wedding cake. For those that feel a little peckish the 'outside-the-room' buffet starts about ten, including a selection of cheese, deserts and other slimming snacks.

                                      ps - the Greeks are just as bad.

                                      Signed: a mangiacake.

                                      The final thing that astounds me is the first thing that happens. As you walk in they give you a cookie and shot. The cookie seems as appropriate as two bridegrooms.

                                      1. It all depends on a) hunger quotient b) quality of buffet c) there is no other criteria

                                        The secret to any good buffet is NOT to use the little dessert plates they provide but instead to use the big regular food plates...mmm dessert.... ;-D>

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          Good buffet=oxymoron. When has there ever been good dessert at a buffet? Jello, cold tasteless cake, pudding. Yum

                                          1. re: Scargod

                                            I quite like the buffet at the Bellagio and here in LA the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel/Dana Point and the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills both have good Sunday buffets.

                                            1. re: Scargod

                                              The Hyatt at Lake Tahoe (Incline Village) has good buffets in both their high-end resto, Lone Eagle Grille, and their cafe. A friend of ours actually started with the desserts at the Lone Eagle Grille :) No Jello, etc.

                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                >>"Good buffet=oxymoron"<<

                                                They're the exception rather than the rule, but good - even great - buffets are out there. Some high-end restaurants with accomplished chefs will put out a spread, often for Sunday brunch. And there are plenty of foods that work well on a buffet table - iced oysters on the half shell, roast meats, anything braised. Fresh pastries, bread pudding, fruits.

                                                That said, I generally avoid buffets (and similar AYCE things like churrascarias). The real danger isn't that the food will be bad; if it is, just don't eat it. The danger is that the food will be too good - better than my self-control.

                                                I recall a brunch many years ago at the Greenbriar Inn in Boulder, CO. Unlimited quantities of very tasty food and a bottomless glass of cheap but drinkable sparkling wine. Another sip of wine stimulates the appetite just enough for one more bite of food, which leads to one more sip of wine, and so on. And then the pastry chef brought out some new stuff that was irresistable. The rest of that Sunday is a stuporous blur.

                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                  Yes, there can be some good buffets. As I said above, "There are rare exceptions."
                                                  If you pay a lot these exceptions tend to be more common.
                                                  I think the majority of people are going to AYCE for volume for the $. I just will not do a buffet because I can pack the food away, regardless of the price or quality. Then there are the buffets at functions which are often mediocre. Low quality, dumbed-down and overcooked are my three biggest gripes.
                                                  That said, I am not perfect. Ask Pass about when we were in Vegas. There was a lot to choose from and some was edible. It was still a bust, in general. Waiting 3-1/2 hours for horrible oysters on the half-shell. At least they had some crab. And the barely tolerable wine flowed freely. That for $17! For example, our dining out often averages $45 per person and we go away full and happy with no compromises, no regrets (and we usually have food to take home for another meal.

                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                    You stood in line for 3-1/2 hours??????????? Holy crap! I wouldn't stand in line half that long if THEY paid ME $17 --- or even $117! Pass should have taken you to the Wynn where he slurped down three dozen oysters. It was probably more like $75. But as you say, you generally get what you pay for. Poor you :(

                                                2. re: Scargod

                                                  the desserts at the Bethlehem Hotel Sunday brunch are excellent! So many choices and all VERY good, and I have a VERY discriminating taste especially for dessert. My MIL calls me a sweets snob.