I was having a late breakfast instead of lunch because jet lag had driven me to eat early the previous night. Having paid for the all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast, a closer inspection revealed that smoked salmon, eggs and fruit were the only things I could eat.
So I ate salmon and eggs until no more remained, methodically working through the neatly rolled salmon rolls, one plate at a time, while the manager eyed me with a mixture of suspicion and concern from behind the bar. He could see I was a pro.
Next stop, LA, where I hit the jackpot.
Whilst my own hotel did not have a buffet (I was outraged), the nearby Universal City Hilton had an impressive seafood buffet, I was told.
This turned out to be no exaggeration. There was top quality sushi and sashimi, lobster thermidor, perfectly grilled salmon in several different sauces, crab claws, oysters and of course the obligatory prime rib. There were also many other stations: when you get lost during your first visit, you know it's a serious buffet.
I hit the Hilton twice in two days. Unfortunately, on day two, I was in such a hurry to launch an attack on the stations I'd not done justice to the night before, that I forgot my camera. So I had to use my inadequate Blackberry to capture the meals.
Day 1 at the Universal City Hilton - not taking full advantage of the seafood options
Day 2 - crab claws, sashimi, lobster thermidor and various other meats
In part 3, Vegas - the buffet mecca. Buffets so large, they provide motorised vehicles for diners. Vast, underground facilities into which, over the years, people have disappeared never to return...
The Great Buffet Abuse Tour - Part 1
The Great Buffet Abuse Tour - Part 3: Vegas Begins
The Great Buffet Abuse Tour - Part 4: The Weakening
The Great Buffet Abuse Tour - Part 5: The Collapse