This Is Why They Don’t Call It San Diego Hold Em’!

The other weekend, the guys and I took a little trip to a destination famous for its gambling opportunities and had a great time.  But in truth, I spent very little time at the tables and slots.  Why did I forgo this intregal part of the trip, you ask?  ‘Cause I’ve got plenty of opportunities to gamble here in San Diego when the mood strikes!

Barona Casino

Barona Casino

San Diego has numerous Indian Casinos in our East and North county regions. In all honesty, I’m not a huge gambler but do enjoy it for the entertainment value every once in a while. After a few months of playing poker online, I work up the courage to head over to one of the Indian Casinos and try my luck with some real money.  San Diego casinos that I’ve visited and enjoyed are:  Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino, Sycuan Resort & Casino and Viejas CasinoOutlet Center.

My last casino visit was to the Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino a couple of months ago. Barona recently won like 25 awards for their casino, so I figured I should roll someplace recognized as a leader in their field.  Unfortunately, my online Texas Hold ‘Em skills weren’t quite honed to perfection that night, and the fine ladies and gentlemen at my table quickly added my $40 to their stacks of chips.  Vowing to return one day and sweep the table, I cheered myself up with an amazing steak dinner at Barona’s Oaks Steakhouse – absolutely fantastic!  Definitely one of the better steakhouses that I’ve eaten at.

Ranch House Buffet at Barona Ranch Resort & Casino

Ranch House Buffet at Barona Ranch Resort & Casino

If you’re a casino regular, you’re also well familiar with the concept of the casino buffet.  I’ve had the pleasure of eating at Barona’s Ranch House Buffet, and I gotta say that my mouth still waters thinking about it.  Now, I’m not a huge buffet guy, but when I do a buffet, I do it big!  The Ranch House Buffet has multiple islands of different types of foods (I think my first plate had sushi, macaroni & cheese, salad and carne asada on it). I definitely ate my fill that day!  In fact, I’ve even been tempted to drive out to Barona just to do Sunday brunch there!


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Benjamin Eastman

About Benjamin Eastman

I lead a pretty active lifestyle and try to spend as much time outdoors as possible. On any given Saturday morning you'll find me on one of San Diego's beach volleyball courts and quite possibly on the water or a hiking trail at some other point during the weekend. As a single professional I definitely enjoy experiencing the nightlife throughout the county - but lean more towards the Gaslamp Quarter, North Park or Hillcrest when planning a night out. I love to eat, and try to keep my ear to the grapevine about new and exciting restaurant openings.  And while I'm certainly excited to try the latest, trendiest restaurant in town, I am also infamously known for late night trips to 24-hour taco shops. Basically, whether I'm in board shorts or a bow tie, I try to enjoy all the many opportunities available to me in San Diego!What would you do on your ideal San Diego day?I’d start with a leisurely, late morning brunch.  Spend some time on the beach.  Grab some rolled tacos at a taco stand and then grab a nap.  In the evening I’d hit the Gaslamp District for dinner and then end the night at a rooftop bar/lounge.If you were invisible, where would you go?If I got to pick a superpower, I don’t know that I would pick invisibility…but if I were to become Mr. Invisible, I guess I would go to all the live music, theater and symphony performances in town.What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?On a beautiful, San Diego day there is nothing better than playing beach volleyball.  The sun on your back, a gentle ocean breeze, and a whole lot of bump, set, spiking!  And of course the perfect day of beach volleyball isn't complete without a grill to barbeque some burgers or carne asada on.Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?Both actually!  That’s the beauty of the San Diego food scene.  I CAN have my cake and eat it too!  Depending on my mood (and my finances!) I am happy to chow down at a hole-in-the-wall neighborhood burger joint or a luxury steakhouse. I'm actually a founding member of a Burger lunch group that eats at a different burger restaurant each month.  We've been going for 6 months now and still have plenty of locations to visit before we exhaust all our options!

1 thought on “This Is Why They Don’t Call It San Diego Hold Em’!

  1. Agree, Barona’s Buffet is nice. So is the one at Viejas Casino. But the one restaurant that stands out in my mind, easily above all other casino restaurants in SoCal, is the Grove Steakhouse at Viejas Casino. Absolutely second to none. The diner there is nice too. Had a hearty breakfast before heading out on my last visit. But, again, the Grove Steakhouse — the BEST!

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