Val cannot live on slot machines alone. She needs sustenance. Something to stick to her ribs. And hopefully not to her ample hips. Let the record show that Val does not partake of casino buffets. It's not the price so much as the time it takes away from GAMBLING! Oh, and her "wise choices" eating plan, too. Let the record further show that in the week we have been back from Casinopalooza, Val has lost 4 pounds!
I don't mean lost 4 pounds from the day we got back until now. I mean I'm 4 pounds down from the day we left here to start Casinopalooza. I know it's impossible to lose 4 pounds of actual fat in a week. I'm not exactly training for a triathlon ("THANK YOU!" say Val's knees). It must be something about changing my routine, all the walking from slot machine to slot machine, and the lack of gas station chicken. Anyhoo...I'm not complaining. About the 4 pounds.
The Sis-Approved Hotel had a free breakfast buffet. I made a wise choice to stay away from the biscuits and gravy, waffles and syrup, muffins, toast, orange juice, hot chocolate, and sugared cereal. My breakfast of wise choice was a generous dollop of whatever eggs were on the steam table, bacon one day, sausage links the next, and shredded hash browns the day they appeared. Oh, and I brought my own packet of Great Value Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal.
Let the record show that the Sis-Approved Hotel had individual packets and cups of brand-name oatmeal. But I'd tried them at the Holiday Inn Express in Norman, and they were always tasteless. So I took my own packet downstairs in my pocket, poured it in a bowl, and used the hot water provided for the hotel oatmeal, or hot chocolate. There must be something in the water. Because even my own favorite oatmeal came out tasteless, with an odd consistency. Hick says it's the chlorine in their water. I am not aware of fracking in the Joplin area, so that's one soap box I don't have to climb up on today. Anyhoo...something robbed me of my tasty breakfast treat.
The first night, for supper, we grabbed a McDonald's burger between casinos. The second night, we used our $10 food comp at Downstream Casino. We went to the little cafe right off the casino, with some weird name. I should have known better. But it WAS free food. I chose the Steak Strips. Huh. You don't want to choose the steak strips at a casino cafe. When I got it, it was four one-inch-wide strips of what looked like chuckwagon patties.
You know what chuckwagon patties are, right? It's not just a Missouri thing? It's like a flat generic chicken-fried steak patty that's some kind of pressed meat that may or may not be a distant relative of steak. What a gyp! (As my non-PC mom might have said.) It made me wish I had ordered the Chicken Strip Basket that Sis had. Even though it looked exactly like the Walmart Deli fried chicken strips, mostly breading. Sis had FIVE of those monsters, because the guy who waited on her told her that the three-piece basket she ordered was the same price as the five-piece, and she could use her food voucher. Sis DID give me a piece of chicken, and Hick too. He said his burger was nowhere near as good as the one he had at Wyandotte Casino for lunch. The Ex-Mayor had a Turkey Panini, which looked better than all the rest of our free meals put together.
Anyhoo...all that's just filler. Here's the real story. I would have separated them, but...well...you all (perhaps a bit of an exaggeration) clamored for no more two-parters...so here we go with the meat and potatoes of today's story.
Our lunch on Saturday came around 2:30. I was feeling a mite peckish, not having consumed quite as much free breakfast as the others in my Casinopalooza party. Sis called the shots, though. So when we entered Wyandotte Casino, she put her nose in the air in search of food. "I smell something! I know they have a snack bar here. Let's go find it as soon as we get our player's cards." So we did, after taking a roundabout way counterclockwise through the casino floor.
We found a deli in the back left corner of that casino. Nobody was waiting in line. Only two people were sitting at a table eating. Sis didn't know what she wanted. We all stepped up to read the menu on the wall. Sis couldn't decide. She thought she wanted a hamburger and chili. What tripped her up was the chili. Thus commenced a game of 121 Questions with the minimum-wage late-teenager working the counter.
"Is your chili spicy?"
"I don't know. I've never tried it."
"Do people tell you it's spicy?"
"No. They usually just eat it. They don't talk to me about it."
"How do you make it? What do you put in it?"
"Well...our chili comes out of a can."
"You mean like Hormel?"
"Um...more like chili dog sauce."
"But is it spicy? I don't want anything too spicy."
"Do you want me to get you a sample?"
"Yes! That would be great. Thanks." So the minimum-wage late-teenager left the counter, and returned with an opaque plastic container like you might get salsa in at a taco stand, with a spoon sticking up out of it. That chili dog sauce was pretty firm. Sis took a bite. "Well...I guess it's okay. Tell you what. I'll just have a chili dog."
By this time, there were about ten people lined up behind us. Hick ordered his hamburger and my boneless wings, and we joined The Ex-Mayor, who had given up and sat down at the front table, separated from the gambling floor by only a waist-high wrought-iron rail fence, leaving Sis to pay for their order.
"What'd you get?"
"Well, I got the chili dog. Do you think it'll be okay? Try this chili." Sis pushed the little cup over to The Ex-Mayor. He took about half a spoonful for a bite. Then he made a face and grabbed a couple of napkins and used them to wipe off his tongue.
"That's TERRIBLE! You might like it..."
Hick had to get in on the drama. "I'm just glad she finally picked something."
And I couldn't resist. "Yeah. See all those people waiting? They weren't there before we ordered. I think a baby was conceived and born at the back of the line while you were making up your mind."
The buzzer-disc thingy activated, letting Sis know that her food was ready. She came back with a giant 1/4 pound hot dog covered with chili sauce. After the first bite, she let us know that it was, in fact, delicious.
Right then, a man I'd never seen before came up on the other side of the metal fence. He leaned over to get Sis's attention. "Hi. I'm Bill. This is my wife Judy. Come on over, honey. She just wanted to see what you got. And know if it's any good."
The weirdos in Oklahoma are pretty friendly, as long as you're not monopolizing their slot machine with two monkeys and a fake husband.