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Where the Food Goes on For Miles and Miles and Goes Nowhere

What’s a traveler to do when one travels on Christmas Day?  You don’t even have to be a Jew to have nowhere to eat on Christmas Day… Just a Wandering Jew.  Or a wandering traveler.  Hence was the predicament we found ourselves in when hunger set in.

EVERYTHING was closed!  McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King.  Closed.  Subway shut down.   Closed!  Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, my FAVORITE place to dine when traveling was closed.   關閉.   Guānbì.  Or, as I say it in English, CLOSED!

IHOP, the International House of Pancakes, where I knew I could get the sugar cured ham steak that I was hankering for at Cracker Barrel, on their website proclaimed them not only to be open, but to be open 24 hours a day.  EVEN on Christmas Day!  It seemed like we would be in luck.   So we set our GPS for the nearest IHOP on our route.  Starving at this time.  Weary.  Finally, we get to the IHOP.  You guessed it.  CLOSED!!  

Thankfully, we spied, with our little eyes, a bunch of cars parked outside a store at the strip mall just down the road.  Curiously, we meandered over.  And lo and behold, what did we find?

j-a-buffet-pennsylvania

OPEN!

buffet-all-you-can-eatThe happiest words we could ever hope to see this evening.  And open restaurant.  Food.  Chinese food!  Pennsylvania.  Reality.  What could we hope for?  Choice?  Yes!  Quality?  Not likely.  At least our expectations weren’t dashed.

If you’re a glutton for punishment, as if over 200 food choices wasn’t enough for you… and nor was the quality… so if it’s quantity you choose over quality, and you really, Really, REALLY want to try this out, just so that you could say you dined at a Chinese restaurant that a member of The Chinese Quest dined at, who are we to stop you.  Here’s your treasure map:

j-a-buffet-mapj-a-buffet-menu

Review of J.A. Buffet

Like the roads before us, the food went on for miles and miles.  Over 200 choices.  Of course, you knew that there would definitely be one specific dish.  For, you can find it in every Chinese restaurant in the United States.  And Pennsylvania, though we drove seemingly forever, is in the United States.  And that dish is, of course, General Tso’s Chicken!

ja-buffet-choicesgeneral-tsos-ja-buffet

WARNING!

You can’t always get what you want… especially when it came to the King Crab Legs.  Big warning sign.  I so wished I had taken a picture.  The sign said, “If we catch you taking more than two King Crab Legs, and we will catch you if you do, you will be charged an extra $7.99 for each leg.  I saw the sign.  I saw the King Crab Legs.  I didn’t even want to take ONE!

I piled up a platter.  Stocked it with the usual suspects:  Spareribs, General Tso’s Chicken, Roast Pork which came on skewers, Pork Fried Rice.  But, no, I repeat, no, King Crab Legs.  And it wasn’t just the warning sign that scared me away.  

Desserts were abundant as well.  Including those Chinese staples Coconut Macaroons and Jello.  What, those aren’t Chinese dishes?

spareribs-pork-fried-rice-more-ja-buffetdessert-ja-buffet

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly!

christmas-fortune-cookiesEven the fortune cookies had a holiday motif.  Christmas colors!

The fortune itself, I think speaks to more of my sense of adventure than righteousness.  j-a-buffet-fortune-cookie

Though it could be said, that we feel mighty righteous when we recommend Chinese restaurants to our readers.  

Lest I forget to mention it, this isn’t one of them.

If you think that this is the end of the road.  Fear not.  I’m back in New York, and this is merely the beginning, as our Quest will surely take us to many new Chinese restaurants in the new year!

Happy trails and happy holidays my friend.

In general, what do you think of Chinese buffets?  Please sound off by posting a comment below.

Humbly submitted for your consumption,

Mee Magnum  (“Chop!  Chop!”)

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