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VIVA LA FRENCH MARKET BUFFET

New is generally better...right? When you visit the NEW---ORLEANS HOTEL and CASINO---on Tropicana Avenue off the Strip, you will find that someone has finally spent some time building a first-class facility that can cater to the locals as well as the tourists. The exterior is absolutely beautiful and inside the decor definitely takes you to that festive atmosphere that is only available on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter.

Now you know where Janae and I ended up as we sacrificed our afternoons there to report to you all about the ORLEANS BUFFET. Appropriately name the French Market Buffet, this "All-You-Can-Eat" attraction is located fairly deep inside the casino to make sure you get a look at all the Las Vegas style entertainment they have to offer. Because the word is out that "somebody knows how to cook at the ORLEANS", there may be a bit of a short line that moves quickly. The hostess gives you a choice of smoking or non-smoking....excellent! So we vote for clean air and are taken to a requested booth. The staff is busy but concerned about the customer's satisfaction. For this immediate introduction to the "French Market" experience, Bill and Janae give the ORLEANS staff a solid "B+".

Once seated, we are greeted by a cheerful food server who takes our beverage orders and points us to the cajun-chow-line. The surroundings of the buffet room tables are more like a quaint little restaurant. As you just make your way through a maze of closely placed tables and chairs, you soon come to a clearing in the room that reveals a feast that would make Huey Long move to Vegas from Louisiana. The food is everywhere and we couldn't wait to grab our plates. The salads are typical of good old Southern cookin' that can be found in and around New Orleans. It is not just "red beans and rice", but a variety of fresh veggie combinations, tuna and chicken salads, "Dixie-style" cole slaw and a choice of ten to twelve freshly prepared dishes to set the scene for those upcoming, delicious entrees.

Warning!!! Do not fill up on the salads...no matter how fantastic they look and taste. You will miss the focal point of those cajun chefs' menu......."richly-seasoned" cajun delicacies. Our particular favorites include the specially prepared pork chops, the burnt turkey breasts smoothered with cheese, exceptional fish of the day selections served with those ever popular "down-home" dainties called "hushpuppies"....which are mmmmmm good! Did I mention the fresh baked pizza and the excellently prepared, exquisite "deli-sandwich of the day"...like a Reuben--dripping with cheese? And how could it be called the ORLEANS without a foreign treat to most of us....strange looking crustacean creatures called "crawfish". Ok, you can have our portions. I am sure the little red-shelled monsters are great, but the ritual by which they are eaten is not a part of our dining procedure. Ask a friend from Louisiana or the chef at the ORLEANS exactly how this is done. It would weaken my stomach to tell you here, but in Louisiana this dining chore separates the men from the boys. However, our hats are off to the ORLEANS for always having fresh crawfish available....because any visitor from Louisiana would call this buffet a hoax without their "signature diet mainstay"! Oh, there's plenty of turkey, roast beef and ham being sliced if you continue along the cajun food-line trail. You will not go hungry, I..."geh...roen...tee". (English translation= I guarantee)

Back at the table, our food server has brought all the drinks we requested and we begin the feast. When food is this good, you tend to eat rather rapidly. But Bill and Janae are professionals at enjoying the meal at a moderate pace so as to consume more than we probably should. Our expanded clothing displays that I tell the truth. Yum-Yum! Whatever these ORLEANS chefs season this food with should be outlawed for anyone who is trying to eat smaller portions. Forget it....the more you eat...the more you want. But without notice, your tummy suddenly receives a message to "STOP"...no more. Rich food computes quite nicely to your stomach's software program.

But wait a minute, didn't we pass an entire bakery case and tables of extra pastries when we filled our plates the second time....okay, we couldn't resist....we confess, this food is sometimes even better "the second plate around". Yes, when a person is totally full and sitting there in a comfortable ORLEANS booth, there is no sensible reason to return for pastries and ice cream. Great! Let's go! So I walk a little slower to the car when we leave...big deal! Gulp! Gulp!....Apple pie...Cherry pie...German Chocolate cake...Cheesecake...Banana and Chocolate and Lemon merangie pies...NO! NO! Don't let me get near that case with all the dainty, decorative brownies, cupcakes and other cute, sweet "do-hickies"!!! Forget it...two pieces of pie and one bowl of ice cream each and ...."Excuse Me"...but we have had enough. And, Boy, was it good. What's the name of this place? Oh, Yes, the ORLEANS...I must remember the ORLEANS when we want to get something delicious to eat.

The ORLEANS gets an unbelievable...."A" for the quality and wide selection of extra special food with an unforgettable place in your heart and an indelible mark on your taste buds. Dining in New Orleans is something that Bill has enjoyed many times before and he will testify that the cuisine in the ORLEANS French Market Buffet is authentic....and the truth is it may be shipped in by jet everyday from either Gretna, New Orleans or Slidell. Who cares? Let us tell you, folks...this is a great experience for your appetite. Treat yourself to one of the best bargains in Vegas....at the ORLEANS buffet. And check this out...the Lunch is only $4.45...Dinner is $7.45. We give the ORLEANS another "A" for money well spent by patrons of their French Market Buffet. BRAVO!

BILL AND JANAE COOKSEY RATE THE ORLEANS' BUFFET WITH A MAGNIFICIENT GRADE OF "A-"....THAT'S ABOUT THE HIGHEST RATING WE GIVE. WE MIGHT HAVE GIVEN THEM AN "A", BUT IF YOU KNOW CAJUN CHEFS....YOU MUST LEAVE ROOM FOR THEM TO STRETCH OUT AS THEY STRIVE TO MAKE TODAY'S ENTREE JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE TASTY THAN YESTERDAY'S. AND WE DO NOT WANT TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HINDERING PROGRESS IN THE CAJUN CULTURE THIS CENTURY. OKAY...IF YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL THEM....JUST BETWEEN YOU AND US....WE'LL GO AHEAD AND GIVE THEM AN "A"...BECAUSE IT'S G-O-O-D EATIN'!!! AND IT'S TOO GOOD FOR YOU TO MISS!


LATEST UPDATE: DINNER'S GREAT! 12/1/97

There was something "fishie" about the French Market Buffet on the Monday evening that we popped in for the weekly "Seafood Special Night".

Now guys are supposed to be big fans of all kinds of special vittles from among the creatures of the deep blue sea. And Monday night is a big night for "The Guys", especially in a Las Vegas Casino. The Sports Book is running full steam with "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" on every screen about to take control of all the "Real" men. So who do you think the Orleans Hotel wishes to attract to their fabulous facility? Who else? THE GUYS!!!

We arrived right at four o'clock as they raised the curtain on the Stars of Davy's Locker. As usual, the hostess seated us in a special non-smoking booth. And we were off to the surprise lineup of seafood goodies. Let's see, there were raw oysters (mmmm), raw shrimp, of course- the ever resident red crawfish, seafood norberg (is that what it's called) it's creamy with crab and obviously other underwater treats, catfish in assorted preparations, salmon,....oh...I can't forget those hushpuppies, and ... many of the other regular house specialties for those who are land-lovers. The salads, desserts, veggies and all the other lovely Orleans menu additions complete a meal fit for a king....or should I say a Louisiana Native "Born On The Bayou"! And in case you could possibly think they could pull this off without the signature title of the Hank Williams' classic...."JAMBALYA"...forget about it!!! It's there...and it's hot and lacks no spice...It's pure CAJUN!

The highlight of the evening was the entertaining manner in which Janae extended her adventures into the world of "uncharted waters" in respect to adding new foods to her menu lists. If you email me, I might agree to send you her personal comments about "oysters on the half-shell", "how to eat raw shrimp", .....and "the unknown fish-dish". But what do you expect from a girl who was born in Nebraska and raised in Phoenix....not exactly overpopulated seaport areas. However, Janae loves good food...and you never have to ask her twice if she wants to go to the Orleans to eat.

Our waiter, HUGO, was right there with our beverages from the beginning of this delicious meal, in keeping with the regular good service from all of the Orleans food servers we have experienced before. Coffee, tea or colas....you don't have to choke down the chow. The Orleans staff is obviously informed to treat the buffet patrons like GUESTS! Bravo...Orleans...You've done it again! Bill and Janae take their hats off to Captain Vince Russo for his French Market voyage into "Seafood Heaven". It's $9.95 and well worth the opportunity to stretch your Sea-Legs as you load up your plate, ....Ahoy Mates, this Super-Seafood Ship sails into the Orleans Hotel every Monday evening. You defintely have permission and our recommendation to COME ABOARD!!!