Get me a wheelchair, I've eaten too much!.
When I was a kid, my father would take me to an all-you-can-eat buffet back in Maryland. It was cheap, your standard steak and potatoes sort of joint. At some point, I turned and felt that such places represented the lowest of the low--the food as much as the patrons. Mention "buffet" to me, and if that word isn't preceded by "Indian," then I want nothing to do with it.
So, maybe I wasn't really paying attention when my girlfriend asked if I wanted to go to--what I thought I heard was:---"salad bar." I replied, "Whatever, yeah sure."
We were out in the Crackassmas, er, Clackamas, area and in we go to this place called Sweet Tomatos. Sure enough, the very long salad bar is the first (and to me, only) thing you see. Thinking that's it to the place, I proceed to pile upon my plate the biggest, most schizophrenic salad I've ever had--after all, the price was set. We pay, find a seat, and I devour my salad to the point of "OK, I had more than enough about ten bites ago," when she says, "You ready for the main course?" "Huh?" I had just gorged myself on a salad that would probably have cost $40 bucks at Whole Foods. "There's more??????"
And indeed there was more. Pastas, soups, potatoes with a salsa bar, CHEESE STICKS which amount to nothing less than PIZZA! And more! "I thought you said this was a salad bar???" Needless to say, by the time we left, my stomach was about four inches further out from my waistband.
So, that was my first experience at a Sweet Tomatoes. We have returned three times since, and although I learned some restraint, I've never left less than "Oh man, I ate too much again."
Sweet Tomatoes is a fine place, nothing like the "buffet" I had as a child, and which I suspect it is nothing like this "Home Town Buffet" I hear about. The food here is quite good (their health code inspections appear to be tops too). It's not fine dining, but sometimes good things come in the packages we'd least expect.
This is my favorite restaurant, ever! The buffet is great for all ages, at any time of day. The food is always fresh and excellent. Our favorites are the chicken noodle soup (with big, homemade noodles and huge pieces of white chicken) and the tuna terragon. Also great muffins, pizza, pastas, salads, etc. Definitely worth a visit :)