.An excerpt from my novel 'Cruise Quarters'

An excerpt from my novel 'Cruise Quarters'

When people sat down at Sarah Seldon’s blackjack game, they always wanted to talk about The Book. “Should I double down? Should I hit? Dealer, I know you’re a gambler; you could let me win if you wanted to. What does the book say?” She had never read this book, this mythical Bible for gamblers. The truth is there are 2256 books, each teaching its own foolproof winning system. But Sarah had been in the casino business long enough to think with a gambler’s mind. Gamblers knew they could follow all the rules of basic strategy, utilize money management and still lose if they weren’t dealt the right cards. The allure and curse of gambling was that there were no sure things. In the end it all came down to luck; gamblers prayed that Lady Luck would show up and that she would stick around for awhile.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I am not ashamed to admit it I like to eat. and I prefer to eat really great food. My nickname when I worked on cruise ships was the food scout, and my book Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships is filled with vivid descriptions of the wonderful meals I have eaten across the globe. So when I heard that there was an all you can eat lobster buffet at Valley View casino - a small casino set in the mountains north of San Diego I knew that I had to go there. I know some people don't like buffets. they prefer to be waited on but I am a grazer, I like to try little bits of this and that and at the Valley View they had over two hundred dishes waiting.

Last week my husband and I found ourselves with a few days off and we didn't want to get on a plane so we decided to book a night at the casino and enjoy a mini vacation. It was a pleasant two hour ride up twisting roads dotted with fruit stands and horse farms to the Valley View. The rooms were immaculate with a tub and a shower, and gorgeous views.
Infinity pool at Valley View Casino

Now what I haven't told you is that the buffet is free, all you have to do is join the Players Club! They don't have unlimited passes so you need to join early in the day and request a pass to the evening buffet. So we joined the Players Club as soon as we arrived got our passes and then spent the rest of the day hitting the thrift stores in nearby Escondido.  I learned after we checked into the hotel is that if you are a guest there, you are guaranteed a lobster buffet and you even get a VIP Pass for the line. The room also includes a free breakfast so by the time you add up the price of the meals it was as if our room was free.

Now the most important part, the food, how was the food? Everyone knows that a casino can be rated on the quality of its buffet. It is the draw especially for a casino set high up in the hills. I am happy to report that it was great. The lobster was good, they really were Maine lobsters split in half and easy to eat. From the Chinese ribs to the mashed sweet potatoes this was the real thing, home cooked food. But where this buffet really shines is the sweets. There is a huge desert selection, from homemade fudge, crepes and cupcakes to fresh fruit and cheese.

The Macaroons, not the coconut ones we are used to but the fancy French ones were as good as the ones we bought in London one day from a very fancy shop on Regents Street, They literally melted in you mouth. There were homemade chocolates as pretty as anything at See's.

Now less than a week has passed and when we picked up our mail today there was a postcard from you guessed it - the Valley View Casino. They were offering us two free buffets or $30 worth of cash on our next visit. So if you in Southern California or are planning a visit there, I highly recommend a stop at the Valley View Casino, but don't tell everyone, I'm scared they will run out of free lobster!

Click to find Cruise Quarters at Barnes and Noble

1 comment:

  1. It is a fun, fast paced tale of working in the casino aboard a Regal Cruises cruise-ship. It was amazing and fantastic cruise line.

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