The Buffet at the Fullerton Hotel – Thanksgiving it was not

We should have pictures of the Thanksgiving that wasn’t. After all, our friends aren’t holding back posting pictures on Facebook of the food they gorged on last week! What is amazing is the lack of photos showing the combination of Twinkies and cranberry sauce. After all, if the Twinkie ever goes away, why not enjoy it with a favorite Thanksgiving pairing, i.e. cranberries! It is healthier than the deep-fried version of the Twinkie at the Orange County Fair. I am going to miss the Fair in 2013. Too bad, so sad.

My wife was hoping for some traditional Thanksgiving fare but we knew it would not happen on the 4th Thursday in November. Her work schedule is just too chaotic. Some nights she can make the 6 PM workout class but others she gets home as I start to fall asleep. This makes planning meals during the week, especially a holiday not recognized anywhere other than the United States, a challenge. Luckily, she found a buffet-style Thanksgiving dinner at the famous Fullerton Hotel. Not only did we anticipate the hotel would have a great selection, but it is a 5-7 minute walk from our apartment. This means YAW could lay me on my side and roll me home! That’s the best! You can’t beat a buffet meal that concludes with a barrel roll home.

Recently one of YAW’s peers moved here from Kentucky for 6 months to help on her project. He brought his wife and 2 boys, 11 and 8. And another American from the tiny, small State of Texas was here for a few weeks. Therefore we thought it would be fun to go out as a group. We booked a table for all of the Americans. Please don’t be offended but I looked forward to similar accents at the dinner table! It is a homesick thing.

We arrived promptly at 7ish for the 7PM reservation. We saw the buffet but the items didn’t look very Thanksgiving-ish.  I was walking slowly by all of the food stations. I’m hungry. Although I saw a large table fully stocked with my favorite part of any meal – dessert – I did not see any pumpkin pie. I did not see any mashed potatoes, yams or even green beans. I can’t stand the latter; it really wasn’t a loss.

Once we sat down, my wife inquired about the lack of seemingly Thanksgiving type morsels. Well…they of course had a Thanksgiving buffet on Thursday! Not Saturday. What? First of all, dinnertime in Singapore is barely the same 4th Thursday in the US (well, it actually is just 13 hours ahead from EST) therefore why can’t they do it another day too? Really? “Oh, we have turkey,” said the waitress but I asked about Pumpkin Pie and there was none. I really, really like Pumpkin Pie. I would forgo all the other stuff and just eat at the Pumpkin Pie table if 1) it had been Thursday and 2) it existed.  There must be a pie store in Singapore that makes it. A new goal!

My poor wife. She was sure the website said the date for Saturday and I know she would not have booked the typical Saturday night buffet had she known. However, we had a group of 7 Americans talking about stuff, just general stuff, and it was good. When they started to talk about work, I ended that thread! I have attended enough work-related meals that I have met everyone on my wife’s project. I could even step in today, in any meeting, and talk intelligently about the ongoing project so that anyone would think I am just another US consultant! I have thought about it. “Yes, this is the scan factory and we feel it will be fully utilized within 2 weeks, processing 1,000 credit card applications per day.”

The Fullerton Hotel buffet did have quite a selection. It actually included really good turkey with cranberry sauce. Just a taste of Thanksgiving but it really was some of the tenderest turkey I have had. You can choose the $68 option that includes everything except the outside BBQ and Satay station. Or there is the $88 option that includes the BBQ and Satay (not really worth it) and all-you-can-drink Tiger beer or Singapore Slings. Which do you think I chose? Did you guess the endless Tiger beer? You betcha! (I had two – so stuffed).

There was a very good sushi station, a seafood station with crab legs and prawns, and a lot of different meats in local and regional styles. There was an Italian station and outside a satay grill and a BBQ grill with chicken, meat, lamb, etc. It wasn’t really that great for the BBQ items. The indoor items were all fairly good.

Of course there was the obligatory ice cream station with 4 different flavors and a dessert table with all kinds of goodies! I tried 80% of that table and was happy with most of it. We were stuffed. We were already on the dessert selections when the waitress came out and said the lobster would be out in a few minutes. What? Well it comes with a lobster half-tail for each of us! What? I just ate three chocolate brownies, tiramisu, some lemon cookies, chocolate-raspberry cake, vanilla ice cream, some type of berry cobbler, and you want me to eat lobster? That’s gross. I ate it. It was not very good actually – a little tough and not too flavorful. But that was independent of my dessert foray pre-lobster.

Now we were double-stuffed. We were like those double-stuffed baked potatoes they might have provided had this been Thanksgiving! Ha!

Two+ hours later, we split the bill and hobbled out. The really nice thing was when the manager heard about the mistiming of Thanksgiving and the website, we were only charged $68 each versus the $88. That was a very generous gesture. The Fullerton Hotel is a decent deal for the price and the selection is very good. Even if you just eat a couple of forkfuls of each item, you may not cover it all.

Although I have not tried it yet, and YAW has, supposedly the Hyatt buffet for about $130 with free-flowing champagne is much, much better. Hmm – when is that?

P.S. The funniest part of the evening was when the 8-year old mentioned he would do something “Gangnam style.” If you don’t know what that is, crawl out from under your rock and Google it. Watch the YouTube video! As we left the hotel, he even did the dance for us out front. It was so funny! When people walked by, they stopped and started laughing because even they knew what dance the little 8-year American kid was performing.