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A tale of two SFV Buffets...

JeffS | Sep 3, 200202:59 AM

L.A. Buffet
California City Buffet

As it turned out, this was a buffet weekend. Went to a buffet restaurant last night, and wound up going to one tonight as well. We weren't as hungry yesterday, but today this turned out to be the first meal of the day for all of us.

Sunday night: L.A Buffet: (Nordhoff across from Northridge Mall, next to Good Earth; I can't count the number of restaurants that have opened in this location and failed, from coffee shops to mini-brewery... But they might actually succeed with this concept. We noticed it two weeks ago on our way to Abe's and decided, "what the hey..." - we ran into some friends who apparently did the same thing, and they seemed happy with the food as well.

Bear in mind, I don't expect gourmet food in these places, but after two different visits, the family and I think this is pretty good, and quite
a good value...

This was a "Labor Day special"; $9.95 for adults, $5.69 for children. Drinks extra (forgot to check for wine/beer license). I noticed that Friday and Saturday's dinner prices are a little bit higher...

How about Sushi, Chinese food, and Mongolian BBQ in one restaurant? And a regular salad/fruit/jello/pudding bar a la Sizzler.

Of note: Crab Rangoon, salmon, lobster rolls, pot stickers, siew mai, won ton/hot&sour/egg flower soups, orange chicken, duck, bbq chicken on a stick, Hong Kong Pork, squid, spare ribs, General Tzo's chicken, meatless (I think) lo mein which wasn't bad either - plus they have a minimized Mongolian BBQ (no do-it-yourself oils (I think they add a little) but they have you add "wine", no flatbreads (but I discovered puffy "rolls" that were similar), but tasty and cooked well - You basically have a choice between garlic, curry, or "Mild" - and I noted that the chef was making sure the griddle was very clean.

My wife says the salmon was very good. We don't eat sushi, so I can't vouch, but it looked okay - california roll, maguro, octopus, something else (maybe fatty tuna?). Not ultra desert-oriented, they had pound cake with toasted coconut, almond cookies, another kind of light pretzel-shaped cookie, and a soft-serve chocolate/vanilla machine with various sprinkles (jimmie's if you're from Philly) - similar to Sizzler too. Oh, and the jello, puddings, and fruit of course. I was too full to try it, but it looked like they'd done an approximate "taffy banana" kind of thing in a bowl, with red candy-looking stuff on top of bananas.

Ok, now for tonight's buffet: the California City Buffet - $10.69/adults, $.80/year of age for children to age 11. Includes sodas, coffee/tea, milk, and even horchatas. (these are Dinner prices - Brunch and Lunch prices are cheaper). CSUN students apparently get a discount according to a sign on the door.

This place, (NOT in California City, which would have been about 118 degrees today, ok, so that was only eight degrees hotter than the valley!) next to Chili's on Reseda north of Nordhoff (I think this place used to be "Bullwinkle's" or something) has been there for a while, and so we finally decided to check it out. A bit more "international" than the LA Buffet (though there was more chinese-style than I expected, otherwise I'm not sure we would have tried it right after the other place), but not quite as exotic either. Salads, jello, puddings, egg-flower and hot&sour soups, a decent orange chicken and a very tasty boneless BBQ chicken that was somewhat similar to the on-a-stick stuff at LA Buffet. Plus, a nice prime rib, pizza (okay - passed Tina's critical test) mashed and roasted potatoes, carrots, corn, rolls, beef ribs (the way Rina's Mom used to make it, marinated in vinegar - I'll try it next time), crab (I didn't taste it), fried rice and lo mein (fried rice was fine, wasn't in the mood for the lo mein after the night before).

This place was not bad, and the thing the kids and I really liked: lots of desserts, nice and small: cheesecake pie, pecan pie, pumpkin, carrot cake, chocolate cake, strudels, fruit tarts, cream puffs, cookies, and two machines serving choc/van soft-serve and vanilla and strawberry frozen yogurt (no jimmies, just choc. syrups).

I'd have to say that the L.A. Buffet is slightly better, to our tastes anyway... but an occasional visit to either place will be fine (but probably not one after the other like this weekend!)

I should also note that the L.A. Buffet must be doing well, because Good Earth across the driveway (which has been there as long as *I* can remember) has put a large banner up announcing buffet meals in the same price range. Maybe someone will try it and report?

Oh, and across Reseda from the CCB - "Edokko Buffet" - never noticed it was a buffet before... anyone have experience with it?

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