Taste America. A Culture Shock Chronicle

Posted on January 20, 2012 by Vivi in VIVI'S VIEW

Someone interesting once told me that patriotism was nothing more than fond memories of the food you ate during your childhood.  I cherished this lovely thought and reflected on it while returning home.

My favorite BA Food Blog – Pick Up The Fork – wrote a mouthwatering post about the food she ate when she was home, and the furious frenzy of impassioned comments that ensued confirmed this idea that our patriotism may indeed by deeply connected to our culinary cultures.  Seriously, read the comments.

In my own experience of returning home I found my reverse culture shock was most blatantly manifested in food and dining experiences.  Perhaps that is because the very first thing I did when I arrived home was to visit a restaurant.

I arrived in Seattle at 11:30 on a Thursday I was met at the airport by my Uncle who treated me to lunch.  The meal was an unending series of shocks.  The menu was labeled for vegetarian and gluten free options.  The waitress brought our menus over immediately.  We were served unlimited ice water.  I was carded.  When our waitress asked to take our order and I needed another minute to read the menu, she came back exactly a minute later.  I could barely keep it together.  It was a great meal, shock included.

I had a farro salad with beets, hazelnuts and goat cheese.

And a Northwest brewed beer in a frosted glass!

I had many other food related culture shocks – often at the grocery store.  I begged Blair to take me to Whole Foods just to soak up the awesomeness.  It was overwhelming and beautiful!

Environmentally conscious Seattle has a great recycling system:

Also blown away at the countless flavor variety of chips available – none of them meat flavored like the popular Lay’s Lomo Chips.

And the candy selections available were absolutely insane.  Insanely awesome.

Of course when in Seattle, get loaded on caffeine like the Seattlites.  No place does it better, or prettier!

Seattle is a fantastic foodie destination.  Northwest cuisine is so fresh, inventive, healthy and loaded with seafood.  I took advantage.

Remember this?

During my first week in Seattle I also re-familiarized myself with an old favorite – thai food!  Delicious Pad Kee Mao:

Also had the chance to try something quite exotic for me – ‘Urban Style Korean Comfort Food’ at Revel in Seattle.  We tried the Cauliflower ricotta, black truffle sesame and pickled leek dumplings:

And a Dungeness crab, seaweed noodle, creme fraiche, spicy red curry noodle dish.  Delicious.

Of course a reoccuring theme on M.B.A is my fondness for brunch…obviously being back home I was in brunchers paradise.

Eggs Benedict at Portage Bay Cafe, Seattle.


My last evening at home I celebrated my birthday with my family and enjoyed an all time favorite: the classic carrot cake.  Thanks Mom!

Living abroad for two years was an unbelievable and infinitely interesting experience, but I have to say that returning home after two years and seeing everything with new eyes was even better.


  1. I love me some NW beers. Deschutes makes some great stuff, and in Portland, Bridgeport IPA is probably my favorite anytime beer.

    As far as candy goes, my parents gave me a 36-pack of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups for Christmas!

    • GIven the choice I’d take a Widmer Hefeweisen over any other beer! As far as candy goes … I am afraid to admit that nothing has ever captivated my sweet tooth quite like the infamous oreo alfajor. Don’t you think those would kill in the US market?!

  2. When are you going to blog about our Sunnyslope Orchard House or Andrade’s?

  3. I’ve never been to Seattle but this definitely makes me want to go…especially to that Revel in Seattle place. Food looks amazing!

  4. Ummmmmmm there should be a warning on this post: will induce major hunger!

  5. Wow! A girlfriend of yours (Rebecca C., Nordies) put me on to your blog. I had dinner at Revel tonight, before reading your post! I live in Fremont, headed to BA Sat, and on to Patagonia for 5-6 weeks trekking.
    Look forward to reading more. Great photos!!!! Thanks

    • Hey Meg! Thanks for the note! Awesome that BCorn passed me along! Lucky you going to Patagonia!! How long will you be in BA?

      PS – did you like Revel? I thought those potstickers were impossible to eat with chopsticks…

      • BA? Not sure. A few days? Less then I would like but I’ll be traveling over land and I have many miles to cover.
        Revel’s great. Love their hearts of palm salad (arugula, lentils and smoked pnuts.) Didn’t try the potstickers but try eating lentils with chops. I like sitting at the counter.

  6. Nom nom nom, so hungry now! Great post. I’ll learn how to cook some tasty meals for the next time we are reunited!

  7. Admirong the commitment yoou put into your site and in dept information you provide.

    It’s great to colme across a blog every once
    in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed material.
    Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.


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