TULALIP — I went for the oil change and stayed for the eggs benedict.
Dropping my car off at Kendall Subaru of Marysville, the service guy asked if I’d be sticking around or going to the casino.
Go gambling at 10:30 a.m. on a Thursday? Who does that?
“For breakfast,” the service guy said. “The casino has a great breakfast.”
Bacon and eggs. Skillet-fried potatoes. And, oh man, the waffles.
Then he burst my bubble by saying the oil change prices had gone up to over $100 and the wait would be 90 minutes.
The dull car dealership waiting room was like a doctor’s waiting room with people glued to their phones while awaiting an uncertain diagnosis. Gone since the pandemic is the self-serve hot popcorn machine and its wonderful aroma.
The bright lights and bacon of Quil Ceda Creek Casino beckoned. So did my husband, Max, a big breakfast guy with a one-track mind.
“The Q,” as its known, is across the parking lot from the dealership. No shuttle needed.
The 126,700-square-foot casino opened in 2021, replacing the old “Q” across Marine Drive NE that began as a bingo hall in 1983.
The excitement hits as you step inside the expansive neon wonderland of slot machines.
Who gambles at 10:30 a.m. on a Thursday? Turns out lots of people.
Instead of looking at phones, people had big screens with mesmerizing flashes, beeps, chimes and spinning wheels. Nothing dull about this happy place.
I wanted to join in the fun. Max wanted breakfast. He steered me to The Kitchen, a food court with much more than breakfast. Other stations have pizza, pasta, steaks, seafood, sandwiches, soups and salads served to the post-breakfast crowd. The whiff of smoked barbecue was enticing.
The dining hall seats 212. A dozen or so tables were occupied.
The hostess handed us a plastic card used for all food station orders. Pay on the way out. Servers bring the food to the table.
Max headed to the breakfast counter. I split to partake in the neon.
There were so many slot machines vying for my attention, with names such as Stinkin’ Rich, Monkey Trouble, Triple Fortune Dragon, Sweet and Spicy.
I put $5 in a machine with dragons, hit the 10-cent option and bet 50. I pushed a button and watched as lights flashed and whirred and made a bunch of sounds.
Then it was over. I’d won $15! I was $10 ahead, one-tenth of my way of paying for my oil change. A few more spins and I’d be stinkin’ rich. Or busted.
Instead, I cashed out with a voucher for $15.
Back in The Kitchen, Max was digging into a heaping plate of Biscuits and Gravy, all for $8.
The biscuits were two mounds buried under a sea of thick gravy with morsels of pork. The dough was flaky and crisp, even under all that moisture.
“As good as Nana Ruth’s,” Max said.
Nana Ruth had a home daycare back in Indiana and she would send us parents off to work with biscuits and gravy. That was 35 years ago and six states away, but we still talk fondly and often about her biscuits and gravy.
It’s hard to find good biscuits and gravy. Usually the biscuits are doughy and the gravy is lumpy. Or vice versa.
This was the first time Nana Ruth had competition. It was like hitting the breakfast jackpot.
The casino portion was huge. The biscuit plate was breakfast enough for me and could have been enough for both of us, if Max wasn’t such a big breakfast guy.
He also ordered Salmon Eggs Benedict with a side of skillet potatoes, $16.
Two halves of English muffins were topped by orange fish squares and a poached egg, drowned in hollandaise sauce.
“It’s the first time I ever had salmon eggs Benedict,” Max said. “It was quite tasty.”
Max is a man of few food words. I asked him to please be more descriptive for the sake of a dining review.
“Very tasty,” he said. “You’re just worried about filling space. I would order it again.”
The only way I like eggs is baked into cakes, so I’m not qualified to comment.
Back at the car dealership, we chatted with workers about our breakfast, and they said it goes beyond that. The casino is a go-to place for lunch and dinner for frybread, burgers and barbecue.
“I do mostly low-carb, a side order of scrambled eggs and a side order of sausage,” Kendall Subaru sales consultant Roberta Martinez said. “I love the pulled pork. That is absolutely amazing. It is so tender and has the right spice. The brisket is amazing as well. Their cole slaw is really fresh.”
She called the casino fare and prices “a best-kept secret.”
Isn’t it tempting to feed the slots on the way in?
Not all all, she said. Like Max, she goes straight to the food.
In addition to The Kitchen, the casino has The Landing, a 137-seat restaurant; The Keg, with drinks and pub food; and The Stage, an entertainment venue with craft cocktails.
The aroma of barbecue is still on my mind. I’ll be back for the brisket in 5,000 miles, and to feed my $15 voucher back in the slots.
Quil Ceda Creek Casino
6221 31st Ave. NE, Tulalip
Hours: The casino is open 24 hours. Breakfast is served 24/7.
More: quilcedacreekcasino.com or call 360-716-1700