Sunday, April 6, 2014

Passover, Las Vegas Style

(Originally, I was going to call this post "Passover, Nearly Las Vegas Style," since we're in Henderson, and while Sunset Station is a casino, with a buffet, and slot machines, and a comfortably wide bowling alley, we're still in Henderson, even though we're very close to Las Vegas, down the street. But casinos and buffets in this region did start in Las Vegas, so it is Las Vegas Style. No need for me to be pedantic about such a thing. It is what it is and what it always has been.)

We haven't had the full-on, Seder-driven, Haggadah-reading, Why-Is-This-Night-Different-From-All-Other-Nights Passover experience in years. I can't remember the last time we did the Four Questions. But I don't mind that we haven't, because it takes a while. You have to wait and wait and wait and wait before you eat, and yes the history as it is believed is important to me, but I can read about it elsewhere because I want to eat!

That's why I like Thanksgiving. You say a prayer or two, you tell Aunt Gracie to give it a rest for five minutes, and you dig in. Well, we have the same thing coming for Passover the Monday or Tuesday after next. In fact, it was a shock to us to see that our existence is actually acknowledged, after nine years of nothing of the kind in the Santa Clarita Valley in Southern California. A Kosher section in a supermarket, just to see what's around? Are you kidding? You get maybe a shelf, maybe even two shelves if management is feeling generous. Otherwise, you're on your own. Go to Gelson's in Encino. Maybe they'll have more.

We had gone to Sunset Station yesterday afternoon because they're doing a promotion called "$1 Million Scratch and Win." If you earn 300 points on the same day, you receive a scratch card that's guaranteed a winner, for $1,000 cash, up to $100 in free slot play, up to 50,000 points, free buffets, or other prizes. Dad originally thought you only had to walk right in and you'd get one, or maybe he thought that you only had to play a dollar. They may say they love locals, but it's not that easy. It was only when we got there that he found out you had to earn 300 points on the same day. Oh well. Meridith had to go to the bowling alley anyway to see about bowling balls, since she wants one, but hasn't found the right one yet.

We had to go to the Boarding Pass Center, as it's called, for some matter related to our cards, possibly seeing if our address had been changed from the one in Las Vegas to the one in Henderson. I don't know, since I was standing further back, doing what, I don't know. But as we walked by the buffet, we saw a sign for the upcoming Passover buffet, and we were stunned. We had been well ignored in Santa Clarita, so what could we possibly expect from the rest of the West, despite such luminaries as Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson being in this region? It's not so much Las Vegas itself, but our immediately local area that we wondered if there was anything for us, related to us. And there it was. There, on the posted menu, hard-boiled eggs, salmon with figs, matzo ball soup, charoset (a dark fruit-and-nut paste meant to harken back to the mortar our enslaved people used to built the pyramids), beet horseradish, and so much else I've already forgotten. Dad went to the front counter at the buffet to ask the price. $10.80 with a Boarding Pass, the membership card. $20 otherwise. We're bringing our cards with us. And Mom noted that gefilte fish wasn't listed on the board. But maybe that was only part of what will be offered. Maybe gefilte fish will be there. However, it doesn't matter as much because we can always get gefilte fish for ourselves at home (actually, for Mom, Dad and Meridith since I don't like it), and we have to be part of this! I've never really liked the Station casinos because they've always struck me as stingy with generally tight slots even here in Henderson, and Palace Station has the worst buffet in Las Vegas. Granted, we haven't been to every buffet in Las Vegas, but I highly doubt it'll fall lower in the rankings, even though the buffet at Arizona Charlie's is just as bad. While I will never go back to Arizona Charlie's on Boulder Highway, that buffet did have sausage stuffing, which was actually very pleasing, and I won't forget that, whereas the Palace Station buffet had nothing redeeming about it.

You have to drive just a little to get to Sunset Station, but I still consider it part of our community. And we have to support our community, we need to support our community, we want to support our community with what's been offered, because we exist! After all this time, we are acknowledged! And I just hope this Passover buffet is a lot better than Palace Station's buffet. Since they've gone to this length to present this buffet, it means they're making some kind of effort, and I hope it shows. For so long, I've wanted to support a community I can call my own, and with this, and so much else it is, this feels like the one. We already do that with Food 4 Less essentially next door to us, buying one or two things or more every week because we want them to stay open. Not that they're having any trouble staying afloat, what with the parking lot being nearly full every day, but every little bit helps. Even though I don't really like the Station casinos, I like Sunset Station a little more because of this. This means a lot in a time when we're still trying to find our place here. There's progress, and this is a major boost.