Eagles Buffet in Tulalip Casino, WA

You know where are some of the best places to have buffets? It’s the casinos. In our vacations, we always seek out casinos if we wanted buffet. (Wanted to say that we do NOT gamble … we just like their cheap buffets).

There is a good one in Marysville/Tulalip area. It’s on the same stretch where the Walmart Supercenter and the Seattle Premium Outlet is. You might have guessed that the name Tulalip refers to the bands of native Americans (in Canada we call them First Nations).

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The Eagles Buffet at the Tulalip Casino is the best buffet we had ever been to in the Washington state. It was busy the weekend we were there. There were a lot of British Columbians too … as a matter of fact, I meet two separate friends there.

The queue was quite long but takes only 10 minutes for us to get a table. Sunday Brunch prices were $15 per adult.

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Arkensen and I went straight to the carving station. We asked for an extra thick cut of the prime roast. This brings us back to the memories of the TEN buffets that we had over on our summer vacation this year.

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The fried chicken was crunchy but the piece is so big. They should make smaller pieces for buffets. This is so big that it’s like half a meal already.

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Shari’s in Bellingham

We had seen many Shari’s restaurants in our travel along the Western USA. We see a lot of them especially in Washington and Oregon state … but never been into one. From the outside it seems very much like Denny’s. So, over the weekend we decided to go to the Shari’s in Bellingham for lunch.

One unique thing about Shari’s restaurant is their unique six sided building design which allows for maximum windows seating. It also allows the quickest path from the centrally located kitchen to the dining tables. I am impressed with the thinking behind the design.

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Shari’s is a family oriented restaurant which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Shari’s is named after the wife of the founder of the restaurant chain … her name was Sharon but not sure how it ended up as a Shari.

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Nanzaro was not a happy camper that day. He so badly wanted the iced coffee but we said no. Don’t you think he’s too young to have coffee on his own? And to make matter worse, he ordered Pepsi instead but they served it to him in a kiddy cup! He was so annoyed that that he quite sternly told the waitress, he does not want his Pepsi in a kiddy cup. Oh boy … he is in a rush to grow up isn’t he?

Suanne and I had the Arosta iced mocha and iced coffee. We love this. We had expected the Mocha to be rich and thick but surprisingly the Iced Coffee was equally rich too. This is way much better than McDonald’s Iced Coffee which we had learned to love so much.

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Shopping Jaunts To Washington State

Since I had been down to the USA for shopping the past three consecutive weekends, I think it makes me somewhat of an expert on this subject, don’t you think?

Anyway whether you agree or not, today I am going get on my soapbox and tell you my perspective of going down south for shopping. I really hope you all also chip in the entire education process of buying stuff in Washington, in particular Bellingham, Burlington and the Tulalip area. I will also want share about some of the stuff we had bought and hope that it will also spur you (if you are Canadian) to share with with me what to spend my money on my next trip down south. Somehow, I think you guys would love to read of this.

Our trips are centered mostly around Bellngham and Burlington. We sometimes drive even further south of the Tulalip area if we wanted specifically to go to either the Walmart Supercenter or the Seattle Premium Outlet.

We like the Walmart Supercenter. It’s a great place to pick up non-branded stuff. Their merchandize is not very exciting but at least it is huge and has everything you most likely need. In the Supercenter, they have a full supermarket line and sells also meat, diary product, etc even have a bakery, banks, hair and nail salons … the whole shebang.

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There is also the favourite Seattle Premium Outlet, which strangely is NOT located anywhere near Seattle. It’s a favourite place to shop for branded clothing items. We sort of got bored with this place. If you want to pick up a pair of $25 Adidas tennis shoes, this is the place to do it.

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Costco is also a great place to shop. Their merchandize is much more interesting and the savings seems a lot more better here. I prefer the Costco’s in Washington (I know there is one in Bellingham and another in Burlington) over the ones in the Lower Mainland. The ones in Richmond and Vancouver is a madhouse … too many people. Here, people shop at a slower pace. I like that.

I wanted to replace all four tires on my car. The Toyota service outlet in Richmond wanted $700 bucks for them. Know how much I could get it in Costco? $250! That is serious money we are talking here. You don’t have to go to Costco, you could try all the other tire outlets and you’ll find it way much cheaper in the States than Canada.

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According to my calculation, gasoline prices here are 40% lower than in Vancouver. Someone help do the math for me … I have a hard time doing the math. $2.60 per gallon in the States and $1.00 per litre in Vancouver. Costco’s gas are much cheaper in Costco than elsewhere (you need membership to fill up here though).

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Krispy Kreme in Burlington, WA

Armed with the Canadian passport, we went across the border again the following week. I don’t know about you but there is this something special about the Canadian passports and Canadian travelers. I seems to think that a lot of people in the world actually likes Canadians. We are the quiet, respectful kind of travelers and we don’t make enemies around the world! Almost …

I recall once that American travelers actually get maple leaf patches for their backpacks when they travel. This is so that people will leave them alone thinking that they are Canadians. Have you heard of that before? It was in the news about a year ago or so only.

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This time round, we tried going south via the Pacific Crossing. The radio was saying that it wait was “about 20-30 minutes”. They were just about 30-40 minutes off their estimated wait time … took us a bloody 1 whole hour to cross.

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And just my luck again for picking the wrong lane. With just a couple of cars in front of us, there was a problem. Not sure what it was but it sure took them a long time checking and cross checking the car … took them almost 15 minutes.

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I kind of like and at the same time hate the US highways. I mean, they are wide and well constructed but I sure hate to see them in Beautiful British Columbia.

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As we were in Burlington, I thought I drive past Krispy Kreme and see if they are making the donuts then. This Krispy Kreme location is where we had our first ever Krispy Kreme. Man … it was (and still is) the best donuts that I had ever tasted before.

There is only one Krispy Kreme in the Vancouver area — in the far flung city of Surrey. Before that store opened, we used to drive all the way to Burlington for Krispy Kreme. Oh yeah, I remember I once told the border guard that I am going over for Krispy Kreme and he found it funny.

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IHOP Breakfast in Bellingham, WA

Well, it finally happened. One would never have had guessed we’ll see this day in our lifetime — the Canadian Loonie is now equal to the once mighty US Dollar. Just a few days ago, it reached as high as USD$1.02 to CAD$1.

I did some checking on the Bank of Canada exchange rate website and found out a few interesting facts.

  • The lowest all-time rate was 62 cents US to the Canadian Dollar. That was just a short 5.5 years ago. It’s amazing how fast we had reached par.
  • The highest all-time rate was USD$1.06 to CAD$1. That was about 50 years ago. It’s just 4 more cents to hit the all time high. Wow!

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These days, Vancouverites had been making their way south of the border for a shopping spree. I swear that at least 20% of all the people I know had made a trip down south the past few weeks. We were one of those 20% of the people.

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Of late, we had been hearing horror stories of long waits at the border. One of my friend actually had a 3-hour wait(!) coming back. The news reported that the best time to cross is before 6AM. Well, we did just that … almost. We left home at 6:15AM and guess what … we should have left at 6!

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We quickly realized the problem … there is only ONE lane opened at the Peace Arch Crossing. And me being so smart, I picked the wrong lane. I took this lane that was much shorter — like they say … if it’s too good to be true, it is.

I guess those people on the correct lane were as frustrated over the long lines. I don’t blame them for thinking I am one of those queue jumpers. Honest to God … I am not! So, no one gave me any room to move into the right lane for 20 minutes. I did not think it was right to move forward. Sigh … we just waited patiently until someone gave us room to move in.

Let you in on a tip … an extra lane opens at 7AM.

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We stopped by an IHOP for breakfast in Bellingham. Frankly we were all very hungry as we did not even have a cup of coffee before we left home.

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We were one of the early birds in the restaurant and had practically the entire section to ourselves. By the time we left, there was a long line of customers waiting for a table. This IHOP apparently is newly opened. What I like most is the welcoming jugs on every table.

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Summer Vacation 2007: McDonalds Breakfast in Bellingham

Here it is everyone … our new series of our summer vacation this year. For the next few weeks, we will be blogging about our travel, and food adventures in our journey around Nevada and North California.

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We started off very early in the morning. It was 5AM when we started off from Vancouver and headed to the Bellingham, WA International Airport to catch a flight to Las Vegas — our first destination.

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There were just six cars ahead of us at the border crossing at Peace Arch. On our last crossing a few weeks ago, it took us 45 minutes to cross the border. This is kind of spooky … immediately after we passed our passports to the immigration officer, he actually knew the name of the hotel that we are staying in and the number of days we have bookings for! The only way he would have know it is that they have access to Expedia’s records … or maybe it was a lucky guess.

I asked how he knew … and he told us that he works for the US government and the US government knows everything. He gave us a wink and sent us our way. What do you think? Was that a lucky guess or he actually have records like that.

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We couldn’t think of anywhere else other than the McDonalds nearby the airport that is opened before 6AM. We had decided to skip lunch and then hit the Las Vegas buffet for Lunch-Dinner.

Now, for Breakfast-Lunch you call it Brunch. What do you call Lunch-Dinner? Lunchner? Dunch? Dinch? LOL!

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It was just standard fare we had … Suanne and I shared a Big Breakfast … or at least I think it was the Big Breakfast. It consists of some scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage and biscuits. I’ve never knew why they call the patty like thingy a sausage. Shouldn’t sausages be long?

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Arkensen and Nazaro had theier McMuffins and McGriddles. (more…)

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Old Country Buffet in Bellingham

With the strong Canadian Dollar these days, everything in the US seems like a bargain. Just a couple of weeks ago, we found cheap airfares from Bellingham to Las Vegas (and Reno). We tried booking tickets from the website but to our dismay, they wanted to charge something like $60 in total for convenience fees. However, if we were to buy the tickets from the ticketing counter in the Bellingham airport, we will save the $60 bucks. So, being so stingy that we are, we decided to take a short drive down Bellingham to get the tickets and at the same time pop by our favourite buffet … the Old Country Buffet at the Bellis Fair Mall.

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We had eaten here countless times the past few years. We like this place a lot. It’s clean, efficient and the food is quite OK. Arkensen and Nanzaro loves this place because they can eat all the fries, fried chicken and spaghetti they want. I know … they still haven’t gotten the idea of going for the right stuff yet.

If I recall correctly, it was much cheaper the last few times we were here. Now, they have what they call “Saturday and Sunday, Dinner Whole Day”. That means that they charge the full dinner price no matter what time you’re there. Arkensen and Nanzaro has to pay full adult price … and that adds up to almost CAD$50 including tips.

Here are some of the stuff Suanne and I had between the two of us …

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Suanne and I always try to grab a plate from different stations and share between the two of us. That way, we get to try a smaller bit of everything.

From the “Meat” station, we had the carved roast beef which was really tender and succulent. There is also ham, baked chicken, corn beef hash and fried fish cutlet.

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From the “Entree” station, we had the fried chicken. We love their fried chicken — they were large, and very crispy. We also had some baked fish.

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From the “Vegetables” station, we tried some spaghetti, fried shrimp, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, and some cheesy spinach.

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Lychee Buffet in Bellingham, WA

Updated: 31st Jan 2015; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

With the Canadian Dollar getting so strong against the US Dollar, we thought it is a good idea to pop over to Washington state to buy stuff and to stuff ourselves silly with buffet. Buffets in the US is always so much more bigger, better and cheaper than what we normally find in Vancouver.

Bellingham is the closest US city to Vancouver, which is just 15 minutes drive from the border. Bellingham is a thriving little city and I heard over the radio that it is the 6th fastest growth small city in the US … all of this is attributed a lot to it’s close proximity to Canada. Much of the economy of Bellingham is due to the cross border shopping and business.

We had always went to the Old Country Buffet in the Bellis Fair Mall but decided this time to look for another place. We found the Lychee Buffet just off the I-5 at exit 253. The address is 819 Lakeway Drive.

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Lychee Buffet is a chinese style buffet. We went on a weekend and they have the Seafood Special Buffet then. The crabs, oh the crabs … all you can eat! We had a fun time cracking the crabs and peeling the prawns (did I say the prawns?) with our hands. Nice, really nice, dipping it the cocktail sauce.

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There must have been at least five different selections of prawns. The prawns were no tiny-weeny types. There are also oysters and clams. Did I forget to mention salmon too?

Anyway, there were at least 30 different dishes on the main buffet bar. All in, I felt that there must have been at least 80 different dishes in all.

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As always we ended regretting eating buffet. We stuffed ourselves so full we can hardly sit upright. Arkensen was so full that he did not even take his ice-cream. I am sure we have put in an extra kilogram or two by tomorrow.

The quality is not too bad but they were not great either. Well, at least they don’t look and taste like they have been left under the heater overnight — looking dried.

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