A Quick Escape To The Red Hawk Casino

photos courtesy of Lynn Armitage

Our guest post comes from Lynn Armitage, a radio news producer, columnist and freelance writer. She loves to travel whenever she can — even if it’s to run a few errands. Lynn lives in Northern California.

Do you live in a town with an Indian casino close by?  They are popping up so quickly everywhere, more than likely, your answer is, “Yes.”  If you think those casinos are just places to throw your money on a table and hope for the best, I would ask you to reconsider.

Many of these gaming centers offer much more than a hand of blackjack and a spin on the roulette wheel.  These casinos also happen to be places for a great night out on the town – or a fun daytrip — for you and your special someone.  You’ll find chef-prepared food, live music, dancing, comedy, fully stocked bars and, what should be music to the ears of parents everywhere — babysitting services!

It’s like taking a mini vacation, just a few miles from home.

Recently, I went with my guy to the Red Hawk Casino in Placerville, California.  There’s a smattering of Indian casinos within my immediate area, but the Red Hawk was so close, we decided to check it out one night.  We had already seen almost every movie in town, so it was time to do something different.

First off, I was amazed at how many dining options were on site.  You’ll find five restaurants to satisfy almost every palate – from steak and seafood to sushi, Mexican cuisine and 24-hour café fare. It was Friday night, the end of a  tough work week, so we decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner at Henry’s Steakhouse.

Our well-deserved dinner started with a nice bottle of wine from Sonoma County (they have over 700 wine selections!) and Henry’s Five Onion Soup and Wedge Salad, with smoked bacon, pickled onions, grape tomatoes, herb croutons and Henry’s special Socrates Dressing. Not sure why they named a salad dressing after a Greek philosopher, and sadly, I am none the wiser for eating it.

The waiter told us that Henry’s steaks are USDA-prime and butchered in house for freshness, so I was sold. I ordered the 12 oz. petite-cut New York sirloin, as I was feeling very carnivorous.  He had the Thai-style halibut.  It was an amazing two hours of fine dining – that’s right, we savored every bite and talked about so much, we lost track of time.  Henry’s has a tempting dessert menu, too, that includes Bananas Foster and Lemon Chiffon Cake, but we were too full to even go there.  We waddled out of there very happy, thank you very much.  Chef Jerrett Davis creates some incredible dishes in his kitchen at Henry’s.  Thanks, Chef!

So, you have young children and have given up hope of ever having a romantic dinner again.  The good news is, the Red Hawk Casino offers a supervised childcare program called KidsQuest for young ones, from six weeks to 12 years old.  They will be fully entertained, for about $8/hour.  In fact, there’s so much to do at KidsQuest, they will probably forget about you for a few hours: an indoor playground, an arcade, video games, a Karaoke stage and more.

Isn’t the alone time worth it?

Have teenagers that you don’t want to leave at home?  Bigger kids will love the Cyber Quest arcade, which is professionally supervised and only offers non-violent games. It will actually dazzle you when you walk in, and you may think twice about going back to the gaming tables.  Somehow, this looks like more fun because people aren’t as tense about losing their money here.

I’ll admit, we stayed and played a few arcade games at Cyber Quest, surrounded by lots of excitable teenagers.  With a wonderful meal under our belts (literally), an entire weekend to look forward to, and the best guy I know by my side, we didn’t care much that we were the oldest, biggest kids in there.