Friday, December 21, 2012
Living in LA - Where to Gamble Near Los Angeles
-Another segment in M&F's ongoing series Livin in LA - Vacation in LA
LA has everything. Literally everything.
LA has the sun, the beach, mountains, and even skiing during winter months nearby. If you want gambling, well, it is only a short 5 hour drive to gambling heaven in Las Vegas. However, if you don't have time to leave Los Angeles for Vegas, yet you are still feeling like doing some gambling, what do you do? Head on over to Temecula!
Temecula is about an hour and a half drive from Los Angeles and it is home to two major casinos, Pachenga Resort & Casino and Pala Casino.
Which one is better? Well, if you plan to play slot machines, without a doubt Pala is WAY better than Pachenga. The slot machines at Pachenga were absolutely brutal. The machines ate up $50 as quickly a we could press the spin button on the machine. Seriously, in playing nothing but penny machines and $20 on a quarter machine, all the money was gone in less than 10 minutes!!! Pachenga was merciless. Most places will give players modest wins so that they keep gambling. Not here. Literally, there were 2 'wins' in all the rolls it took to lose the $50, and both 'wins' amounted to the bet placed, basically 'winning' you a free spin. Which you could then lose on the roll.
The experience at Pachenga was quite disheartening. We had set a limit of $100 to spend on this outing, and now half of it was gone before we had finished half a drink--(by the way drinks are not free while gambling like in Vegas, although they are affordable $3/beer and $4-5 for mixed drinks). We were hungry and wanted to eat, but it was 3:30 in the afternoon and the buffet still didn't open til 4. We were definitely not feeling lucky at Pachenga, so we decided to drive to Pala to try our luck.
Pala is farther to travel to, but it was worth it. The drive is through some gorgeous rolling hills which begged for hiking and exploring. We arrived at the Pala Casino just as the sun was going down. It was a beautiful setting, and the energy had changed--here we were feeling lucky!
The first thing we wanted was some food, so we checked out the buffet at Pala, but the buffet costs $36 per person!! This sounded crazy! (Not sure how a place can stay in business charging $36 per meal--who can afford to pay it?!). But we did manage to find a nice looking diner inside the casino called Choices, and this is where the fun starts. The food at Choices wasn't just good--it was fabulous! The chicken fried steak was over a foot long (so much!)--made with real chicken, and the best chicken fried steak we've ever had. Everything else was quite delicious, but what stole the show was the waffles. They were flavored with vanilla--or something incredible, and every bite paired with Pala's own maple syrup was like heaven in your mouth. Forget the buffet at Pala--head straight to the Choices delicious diner! With food in our belly's, we felt stuffed full of luck. Once we made our way to the slots, it was good to find that the machines agreed.
Pala was an entirely different, and much better experience than Pachenga. The machines did not eat up the money, instead we would win some, then lose some, then win some more and so on. We only spent $40 at Pala and were able to gamble for over 4 hours! The good news--one of us even walked away a winner!! This is how a casino should be. At Pachenga we felt like we got robbed, with only ourselves to blame for the stupidity of going there. But at Pala, we had fun, and left with starry eyes dreaming about how big people could get rich at a casino if they only get hit with the right kind of lucky.
So how much did we win? . . . Check out Part 2 of Gambling Near Los Angeles to find out!
^Last pic from Pachenga. The pics are a bit blurry, but so was our experience getting battered and losing so much money so quickly.
^Deliciousness on a plate at Choices Diner in Pala Casino--we recommend the Chicken Fried Steak with waffles~
^A big cheery Christmas tree in the lobby at Pala Casino.