The Cuisine Scene
The Potrero Canyon Buffet
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa
you enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne with your meal? Perhaps
you’d rather have a Bloody Mary. No matter your preference, you’re
served your choice with the Sunday buffet at the Morongo Casino.
love buffets. I don’t know if I died of starvation in a past life or if
it’s because I lived in Northern Minnesota for several years where
lye-cured fish and three different flavors of Jell-O were considered a
smorgasbord. Whatever the reason, a well-prepared food line is
beautiful. The casinos do them so well, and I’ve visited several. I
happily pass up the gambling tables and slot machines to head straight
for the buffet.
Sheila and I tried the Potrero Canyon Buffet in Morongo, and Rudy, one
of the supervisors and our host, greeted us. He led us to a booth and
was so gracious that I wondered if he'd always been that mannerly or if
his gray hair was evidence of a lifetime learning how to make people
feel important. But if this early encounter with a Morongo employee was
an indication, Sheila and I were in for a nice experience.
learned that while the regular buffet lasted from 10am to 10pm, the
breakfast items in the Sunday brunch ran until 3:30. However, they
offer a glass of champagne, a Bloody Mary, or a Mimosa punch, made of
champagne and orange juice, all day.
we were seated, Chef Duc Le, along with Sous Chef Amine Boussaksou,
told us they serve an international cuisine of American, Chinese,
Italian, and Mexican dishes, plus accompanying sides. Chef Le also
likes to create dishes and they both enjoy taking a standard food and
changing or adding to it to make it just a little different. Chef Le
proudly worked his way up in the industry and Chef Boussaksou holds a
degree from the Cordon Bleu Institute. While they talked, I could see
each valued the other’s opinion, which I translated to mean a good
working relationship and good food for the customer.
Sous Chef Boussaksou & Chef Le
I strolled the huge buffet line, I found it difficult to decide what to
try. In addition to the prepared Chinese dishes including soups, Chow
Mein, and Potstickers—which looked like miniature fried pies but had
been prepared with meat and vegetables—BBQ pork, Cashew Chicken, Fried
Rice and Spicy Orange Chicken, the buffet had a hot wok station. In
that area, you select fresh vegetables from two rows of veggies along
with your choice of meat, and the cook stir-fries the dish while you
wait. Talk about fresh. Before strolling to the next section, I took a
Potsticker, a small circular pastry dough folded over stuffing and
fried. I’d never had one and I found it similar in taste to an egg
I didn't want to get too full because the Italian section was ahead
with fresh pizza and several pastas, including the Special of the Day,
Cheese Tortellini in Marinara Sauce with bell peppers. Some of the
other selections were Linguini Pesto with pine nuts and mushrooms,
Cioppino and Mussels in a tomato sauce, and Italian Green Beans.
the American section, the fried chicken called to me, so I took a small
drumstick, but I eyed the country fried steak and garlic mashed
potatoes. The Catch of the Day was Mahi Mahi, and alongside that was
Meat Loaf and Beef Bourguignon. I'd never had Beef Bourguignon, so I
opted for a helping. It was lean, fork-tender, and delicious. I’d have
salad section had the standard vegetables and fruit, plus some goodies
such as Crab Salad, Cole Slaw with pineapple sections and sunflower
seeds, and a platter of chilled smoked fish. A big bowl of chunked
papaya and oranges sat on the end.
The carving station offered Rotisserie Chicken, Ham, and Prime Rib with horseradish and sherry au jus on the side.
the Mexican sections, I saw Roasted Jalapenos and Chicken Empanadas,
which, like the Potstickers, looked like miniature fried pies, only
they were made as a dinner side instead of a dessert. Beans, Chili
Colorado, and Beef Machaca with a reddish Pasilla Sauce sat in that
section as well as Peel and Eat Chilled Shrimp. If I hadn’t already
sampled so much, I would have loved the chilled shrimp.
two vegetable dishes were my favorites of the evening, the Spinach and
Artichoke Soufflé and the Squash Medley. The warm soufflé was cheesy,
yet firm with eggs, cream and bread crumbs, and the artichoke gave a
slightly different flavor to the spinach. The zucchini and yellow
squash medley was tender and tasty with a surprising bite. Cajun
seasoning, Chef Lu told me with a smile. I loved each so much that I
sacrificed dessert for another helping of each.
Sheila’s favorite was the Cheese Tortellini and Egg Flower Soup.
those of you who do not wish to bypass the desserts, you have quite a
variety to choose from. Two cases held different varieties of pies,
cobblers, and cookies, plain and chocolate dipped, biscottis, pineapple
upside down cake and Crème Brulee. The brulee with crusted brown sugar
on top was Sheila’s favorite, and I couldn’t resist just a taste of the
pear-shaped upside down cake. Topped with whipped cream and a cherry,
it topped the evening.
of rain poured down when I collected my car, but the valet took a
moment to place my briefcase in the back seat so Sheila and I could
slip into the front. Another example of rare old-time
Lunch: $11.95, 11am-3pm
Dinner: $18.95 4:30pm-9pm
Seafood Dinner: 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. $25.95
Saturday All Day: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. $21.95
Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. $21.95
Children 5 and under eat free / Age 6-12: $7 / 13 and up full price
Valet service is $6.00.
The Potrero Canyon Buffet
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa
49500 Seminole Drive
Cabazon, California 92230
Located just off I-10 in Cabazon