Friday, May 08, 2009

Curiosity Killed My Appetite

There are certain things you should do at least once in your life. For example, I've seen the Grateful Dead live in concert, I've taken a trapeze lesson, I've hiked Tuckerman Ravine, and I've gone skydiving. I'm not sure that eating at Old Country Buffet (in the Watertown Mall) is in the same league as those, but now that I've done it, I can safely say that I will not be doing it again.

Yes, last night I went with one of my coworkers to the OCB after weeks and weeks of discussion. It started casually one day when we both mentioned that we had never been but had always been curious about trying it. The mass-produced food, the clientele, the unhealthiness of eating from a sort-of communal trough — how could we have resisted for so long? After that, no amount of convincing could talk us out of it — and plenty of people tried. We even downloaded the nutritional content and that didn't sway us. Nor did the fact that there was free Chinese food at the office before we left. We were determined to go, and we did.

It's sort of a scary thing knowing the nutritional content of the food you're about to get before you eat it, but we looked at the meal this way: It only cost us $11.69 each, and we knew this would probably be the only time we ate there, so why not try as much as we could? After all, I had already put on some looser-fitting pants as a precaution. I won't say who specifically ate what, but here's a sampling of what was on our plates: mac and cheese, a taco, fried shrimp, rolls, steak, barbecue pork, beans, carrots, roasted chicken, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, nachos and cheese, popcorn chicken, and spaghetti. There was even a "mystery meat" at one point (although, that may have been eggplant). Suffice it to say, all the major food groups were represented. For dessert we had chocolate cream pie, cookie pie, Jello, cheesecake, apple crisp, fudge, chocolate bread pudding, chocolate cake, and a rice krispy treat. If you're really interested in the calorie or fat count, you can click on this link and add it all up, but I'm sick just thinking about how much we ate — aren't you?

Admittedly, the food was not as bad as we anticipated it would be — though some items were definitely better than others, and it should be noted that our expectations were pretty low (it's not like we expected a Las Vegas–style buffet or anything). And we wished there had been a greater selection of food (What? No corn dogs? No salisbury steak? No grilled cheese sandwiches? And most egregiously, no chocolate pudding with that gross "skin" on it? What a bummer). We also probably could have eaten more than we did, but as Ros said at one point, "I decided not to repeat anything because I figured it would just repeat itself on its own later." That just about says it all right there.

So yeah. Cross this one off the list. No need to do that again.

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Blogger Quackamagooska said...

Awesome. You guys took a hit to make the play. Now the rest of us don't have to. Can you follow up with a description of the people you saw there? The website has a link called "How to Buffet." That seems as redundant as having instructions on WetNaps (oh, wait.)

Highlights include:

# Our price is all-inclusive! (just in case you weren't sure what buffet meant.)

# You can begin to eat as soon as you are seated. (waiting is for the skinny.)

# For safety reasons, children under 10 should be accompanied at the buffet. (because they might get eaten.)

# Coming Soon: Gastric Bypass surgery consultation with every fifth visit!

May 08, 2009 9:26 AM  
Blogger Martin said...

Truthfully, we saw all kinds of people there. Overweight, average weight, skinny. American, foreign. Young, old. A mix of races too. As a result, I couldn't really make any sweeping generalizations about who else was there with us.

That said, there were two highlights of the people we saw: One was a skinny guy whose plate was piled a few inches high with food. I can only assume he ate it all. Another was a mother and son. The kid took a piece of pizza and then put it back. His mother scolded him and made him take it anyway, even if he didn't want it. I stayed away from the pizza after seeing that.

May 08, 2009 9:45 AM  
Blogger nancypearlwannabe said...

Dude, I have been trying to convince people to let me try OCB for YEARS. There's one near me at the Ghetto Glen mall in Everett and every time someone asks what I want to do I respond with OCB. I'll keep trying though.

May 08, 2009 9:46 AM  
Blogger Rhea said...

You beat me to it. I've always wanted to try this place. I've been to Amish smorgasbords in Ohio and Pennsylvania, so I guess I've had the REAL country buffet. But I want the fake one! I want the one at the Watertown Mall.

May 08, 2009 5:10 PM  
Blogger Not Whitey Bulger said...

I tried the ODB at Walpole Mall once. It was OK. I'm probably made myself worse meals many times in my life. Years ago I would have gone back on occasion, but I have no need for excess calories these days - I already have a surplus clinging to my waist.

May 08, 2009 9:16 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Martin, it's always good to hear from a non-Midwesterner about our gastronomic conventions. The buffet is definitely an experience you grow up with, or you don't...still, the reflections are entertaining. I've lived in MA long enough to see the disgusting side of this particular phenomenon. OCB is an institution where I'm from: "You been to the new mini-mall yet?" "Hm, do they have an OCB yet?" "No" "Then NO!"

May 10, 2009 10:22 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

I am not a fan of Old Country Buffet which would probably explain why I got such a big kick out of this. The only buffet I know of that is truly awesome is at the Dunstan School Restaurant up in Scarborough, ME. All of the food is truly fresh, homemade and delicious. They have seasonal hours. So if you are going to be in that area and want to check it out be sure to google it. And maybe call to get the hours.

May 10, 2009 11:32 AM  
Blogger Ribbit said...

been there once. agree that you don't need to do it twice.

btw, nancypearlwannabe, Ghetto Glen Mall is in Medford.

May 11, 2009 6:58 AM  

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