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Friday, January 21, 2011

Road Trip and Pool Tournament Eating

One of my biggest passions in life is playing the game of pool.  Every year some of my buddies and I road trip to one of the biggest professional tournaments/meet ups for pool in the country.  The Derby City Classic.  It's held annually at the Horshoe Casino in Elizabeth, IN.  It's the biggest gathering of pool players anywhere.  The first thing you have to understand with pool is that I personally think it's very hard to focus and play well on an empty stomach.  You can't be hungry and get the level of focus the game requires when played at a high level.  That's why often on these trips and at these tournaments food is one of the biggest players.

It seems like every year people complain about the food available at the tournament.  To be honest with you they mostly have the right to.  They no people don't want to leave or don't have the time to leave so the prices are kept high while the meal quality deteriorates.  Do I want the mediocre pizza for 13 dollars for small portion?  Do I want the mediocre buffett for $30 plus? Do I want the steakhouse fare for the cost of a couple of limbs and my first born child?  None of the above please.  We truthfully do our best to bring food that is easily prepared and doesn't need heating.  Poptarts, sandwiches, etc.  It's not the easiest thing in the world to do, but unless you want to starve or go broke it isn't an option.  It's really too bad that the venue just tries to bleed dry everyone in attendance.  I know it's how the world works at every sporting or any other event ever, but that doesn't make it right.  Our bringing food strategy might make us the most nutrionally deprived we will be all year, but it's a small sacrifice to make for the love of the game.

P.S.:  We just got back from our trip yesterday after noon and the food was about what I expected.  I avoided it mostly because all of the options are so overpriced.  A sportsbar menu with the cheapest item at 12 or 13 dollars?  Get real.  It does seem like they are at least making an effort to improve the quality of some of the food.  For example they have gotten rid of the pizza place that made a lot of people sick last year and have upgraded their buffett by partnering with the Paula Deen brand.  Still at 27.99 for a buffett dinner I had to pass.  I stuck mostly to drinking free soft drinks and coffee in the casino and eating sandwiches and snack items we brought from home.  I did order chicken tenders one night.  It was a sizeable portion for only $4, but they were incredibly dry and underseasoned with only a tiny amount of accompanying dipping sauce.

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