So, for our first "truly authentic" (being sarcastic here) Sunday in Beijing, we had lunch at Pete's Tex-Mex Grill, pictured above, after church. Yes, my friends, Jacob had Carne Asada and I had a 9-Layer Burrito (complete with black olives and guacamole) on our first Sunday lunch in China -- at a restaurant that looked like it could be found in Dallas. It was really good -- comparable to any restaurant back at home. And the waiters' shirts were made to look like Texas flags!! :) It was expensive by China standards (aprx. $20 for the two of us), and we do feel a bit sheepish having eaten at a "Tex-Mex" restaurant within a week of landing in China... but we have discovered something. It turns out that when you know certain foods aren't readily available, you crave them all the more. Even if they aren't things you particularly want or like in America. For example -- Jacob woke up the other morning craving Starbucks. He doesn't even really drink coffee in the US. Thanks to a kind gift from some friends, I could meet that craving for him. (Couldn't help him much when he was craving Texas de Brazil.)
This problem isn't unique to us. Some other new arrivals shared their cravings with us at lunch, and they were similar in nature (Key Lime Pie anyone?). So, as a result, the tradition around here is that on Sunday after church, we visit a "Western" restaurant. The rest of the week it is traditional Chinese... and maybe eventually we will ease into a truly Chinese lifestyle. But, I must admit, it is nice to have the comforts of home available as a backup plan.
Oh, and after lunch we went grocery shopping at a MASSIVE store -- and we found some familiar items that weren't that expensive (even by local standards; we are really trying to stick to a local budget, save for the occasional Western meal), so we can cook some meals at home that will feel familiar.