Among other things, Southland Indian casinos are known for their dining specials, and Casino Pauma in northern San Diego County has a couple of good ones.
The tiny casino rests in the hills a few miles above its more awe-inspiring neighbor, Pala Casino, a pleasant 40-minute drive out of Temecula.
Getting there is half the fun. The meandering country road (Highway 76, off Interstate 15) takes you past all sorts of sites tucked behind Palomar Mountain; grazing longhorn cattle, horse ranches and buffalo.
The road is pretty popular with bikers seeking a peaceful weekend retreat.
Most serious gamers heading south from the Inland region might prefer Pechanga or Pala for their getaway, but Casino Pauma offers a less noisy, toned-down gambling experience than those megaresorts.
And though the dining options are limited in comparison, the Pauma Bay Cafe's daily breakfast special and lunch buffet are delicious and cheap.
For $3.95, my breakfast included two eggs, hash browns, large slice of ham, a buttermilk biscuit and a drink.
The cafe's daily specials are omelet (Sunday), eggs Benedict (Monday), bacon and eggs (Tuesday), country breakfast (Wednesday), sausage and eggs (Thursday), chicken fried steak (Friday) and ham and eggs (Saturday).
For $2 more you can satisfy a sweet tooth with the French toast (four half-slices) and eggs breakfast, which includes three slices of crisp bacon.
The lunch buffet is $9 and changes daily, from a Mexican spread (Chicken Valdez, carnitas, Chile Colorado, rice and beans) on the day I was there to Italian favorites, fried chicken and build-your-own burgers.
The buffet is small compared with other casino buffets in the area -- six trays of hot food, salad bar, dessert bar and ice cream station -- but the price is right.
The cafe is in the back, past the poker tables. When you see the palapas, palm fans and Hawaiian-shirted wait staff, you're there. You can choose to dine in or outside on tables under the trees.
All review meals in The Guide are paid for by The Press-Enterprise.
Reach Joe Ardent at 951-368-9631 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What: Pauma Bay Cafe
Where: 777 Pauma Reservation Road, Pauma Valley
Entrees: $3.95 breakfast special to $15.99 2-for-1 prime rib dinner
Drinks: soda, juice, milk
Hours: 8 a.m-9 p.m. Sunday-Friday; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays. Noon-4 p.m. daily for lunch buffet
Information: 1-877-687-2862 or www.casinopauma.com