Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Lifestylist Discovers Great Marketing and Food at the Paula Deen Buffet

Hey y'all! Just got back from Tunica, MS and the South Central Manufactured Housing Show. Part of what being a Lifestylist is all about is experiencing life to the fullest, and even though I went to view housing trends, when I saw that bus with Paula Deen's face on it beckoning me to the casino and her signature buffet, how could I say no?
The show and Ms. Deen's buffet are both housed at Harrah's  Tunica. I had stayed there in the past when it was The Grand Casino and let me just say the buffet was anything but grand, to the point that it may have been some of the worst food I have ever had. But love Paula, love her show, so decided I'd give it a go.
I went for lunch, and honestly I thought it was a great value. I think it was about $14.99, and I would have been happy if they just would have brought me up a sleeping bag and I just stayed there for a few weeks. I next to never do buffets because I don't like feeling like I have to over-eat to get my money's worth, and usually the food isn't that great quality. That was not the case here. I knew I was going to have to stay to bite sized portions if I was going to make my way to every station, but from the salads on everything was sooooo good I could have just eaten that! I'm very picky about fresh, and everything seemed super fresh and almost made to order. I wanted to try things that were Paula's signature dishes and they were even better than I had hoped. The cheese biscuits and hoe cakes were out of this world! And the Mac and Cheese.... I've had some great Mac and Cheese but this was one of the best.
There was an entire seafood selection that had mounds of shrimp, oysters and fried goodies, The Lady and Sons station had wonderful southern specialties including yams, fried green tomatoes, ham and fried chicken. And THEN there was a BBQ station and of course dessert. Had to try the Gooey Butter Cake and it lived up to it's name and reputation, but my favorite desserts were the peach cobbler and bread pudding. The only shortcomings for me were the fried pickles and the fact that they had Kool Whip for the dessert items! I didn't realize it wasn't whipped cram until I tasted it and it ruined the experience.
The Paula Deen brand was visible everywhere, and it should have been. Loved how they had recipe cards at some of the different stations so you could make some of the various things you tried at home, and while you were waiting there was a Paula Deen Gift Shop.
The restaurant was beautiful and definitely had Paula's southern charm and a very welcome feel to it. I loved every minute (and calorie) that I spent here, and may have to plan a trip back just so I can do it all over again! If you want to make a weekend out of the journey the casino also offers "Paula Deen Suites" that would complete the experience.

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