Last Friday, my kids and I hit the Old Country Buffet, or OCB as its patrons affectionately call it.
I usually try to avoid dining at the OCB. I’m just not crazy about eating so much plain American food. Even its ethnic selections are plain. I’m fortunate to live in an area with so many wonderful ethnic restaurants, and I enjoy not only ethnic food, but also the cross-cultural experience of dining in restaurants where English is not the primary language.
But I still end up at OCB often enough, because my kids love buffets, especially ones with multiple desserts. And of course it’s all you can eat, which has its own unique appeal. I have reconciled myself to eating there once a month or so, and I’ve found a way to eat mostly healthy food there (they have a good salad bar and serve decent fish every day).
But on this Friday night, something different was going on at OCB. We ended up dining with over a hundred black muslims, who were dressed in their most beautiful headdresses and clothing to celebrate Eid, the end of Ramadan and fasting. What a unique dining experience!
This got me thinking about our other dining experiences eating at OCB. On Sundays, we sit next to African American families, dressed in their Sunday finest. I see more African Americans at the OCB on Sundays than I see anywhere else in Bellevue. On other days of the week, OCB is full of extended Asian and Hispanic families.
I’ve had to rethink my attitude about eating at this haven of Americana. At OCB, the food might not offer a cross-cultural experience, but the dining experience definitely does.