A review from the archive:
I have never stepped foot into a casino. Twenty-eight years on this planet, and I have never done Vegas or any of the local casinos that dot the reservations of Oregon. Until an ice-packed Highway 18 brought my journey to Lincoln City from Portland to a dead halt in front of Spirit Mountain Casino at 8:30 AM. After an hour hunkering in my rented Prius in the parking lot, I finally ventured over the snow-covered space to the front doors.
My first surprise was that the smoking ban in Oregon doesn’t apply to the reservations. The main gaming floor still reeks with a smell I had happily and quickly forgotten. Thankfully the non-smoking areas are fairly well identified, so I was able to make my way over to the venerable Cedar Plank Buffet. So far as I can tell, I am the only individual under the age of 50 in the entire place. Did I mention it is now 9:30 AM on a Monday morning? A snowy Monday morning in March?
I do not have a Coyote Card. I am not even sure I know what a Coyote Card is. Is it a Casino brand credit card? A pre-paid card (although that probably wouldn’t be a good business plan for a casino)? Whatever it is, the Coyote Card is the most popular form of payment to enter the pantheon of casino eating, the most notable of which is the Cedar Plank Buffet.
After several minutes of darting about the maze-like buffet, which beckons you in with signs “to start anywhere!” I finally settled on a biscuit with thick gravy then tore into another line for a slice of bacon, picked up some industrial looking scrambled eggs and then discovered they serve fry bread with honey-butter in its own little corner of the American station.
It’s a buffet at a casino. There were certain expectations I had going into the experience. The Sysco eggs and meat, the gravy thickened to a lumpy paste left my stomach feeling a bit turned. I was hoping the fry bread would redeem the meal, and it did. Part of it may be that it is hard to screw up fried dough. Drop dough in a vat of oil and miracles happen (sometimes donuts, sometimes beignets, sometimes fry bread). But it really was the honey and melted butter that made it.
So far as I know, Sysco does not do fry bread much less honey and melted butter sauce. And if they do, please be so kind as to not inform me. Because it was perfection.