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American Day (F*ck Yeah!)

by Meg · 27 comments

Tony and I have been travelling for roughly 3 months now in South America and have tried every local cuisine from Machas in Chile, Afajores in Argentina, Trucha in Bolivia, and (most daringly) Guinea pig in Peru.  After eating like true locals for several months (and both coming down with food poisoning at one point or another), we figured it was time for us to have… AN AMERICAN DAY!

American Day, quite simply put, is a judgment-free day where us Expats can do (and eat) anything that makes us feel closer to home.  It’s completely natural to get homesick every now and then… And it’s important to nurture that sickness when it crops up.

Our desire to have an American Day came about while Tony and I were in Cusco, Peru.  It creaped up on us one morning in our hostel when we were faced (yet again) with a breakfast spread of stale bread, butter, jam, and instant coffee.  Yum. Upon entering the hostel kitchen, both Tony and I gave each other the “I want to have sex with bacon” eyes… Don’t lie, you know what they look like.

Knowing that we would have to venture to the ever-so-popular gringo bar, Jack’s Café, to get our bacon, we decided to swallow our shame and make an entire day out of our American cravings.

Without further ado, here is how our patriotic day unfolded:

Breakfast: As previously mentioned, we knew the place to be in Cusco for bacon was Jack’s Café. To provide the perfect vessel for my bacon, I decided to go with the classic American breakfast sandwich… fried egg, bacon, and cheddar cheese all mashed between two slices of toast with ketchup on the side for endless dipping.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been if there was a bagel involved.  But beggars can’t be choosers, now can they?

Tony, however, ordered none other than “The Gordo”.  Yup, that was the actual name of the breakfast plate.  Talk about a fat kids delight… Scrambled egg, sausage, home fries, refried beans, toast.  Boom.

Overall an amazing breakfast was had. The stale bread at our hostel became a distant memory at Jack’s Café!

Lunch: After digesting our epic breakfast, it was time to get creative for our next American meal.  Luckily, the local grocery store didn’t make this task too difficult for us.

Ladies and gentleman, the grocery store in Cusco sold KRAFT MAC AND CHEESE.

Talk about a childhood pastime.  I used to shamelessly eat these cheesy noodles by the box, alongside sliced hot dog and a pile of ketchup…The quintessential meal of champions.

There were no hot dogs to be had, but Tony and I attempted to scarf down two of these boxes… Maybe this was a little ambitious because we now have leftovers of this balanced meal in our hostel fridge.

Dinner:  Yes, we were still hungry for dinner.  Shocking, but this is Tony and I we are talking about after all. So, on we go to Paddy’s Irish Pub in Cusco for their version of traditional pub food.

It was here that we gorged ourselves with a plate of nachos… This may be more of a Mexican dish than your classic American dish, but what gringo doesn’t love a good plate of bar nachos?! No friend of mine that’s for sure.

After the nachos, we decided to feast on Peru’s version of the Philly Cheesesteak.  Pretty close to the American version, this delicious toasted sammy came with steak tips, fried onion, cheese, and creamy mustard sauce.  Oh and, of course, a side of French fries. WOWzers this was good!

Now, you would think I would be stuffed at this point, but who could forget my little side tummy dedicated to all things dessert?  Once I saw bread pudding on the menu I was sold.  Bread pudding soufflé, warm custard, baked apples… Life doesn’t get any better (or more American) than this.

After dessert, Tony and I left Paddy’s stuffed, yet oh-so-satisfied.

Now, don’t get us wrong.  We have tasted some fabulous meals during our travels in South America and eat like kings on most days… But our American Day satisfied a desire deep down inside of us that couldn’t be tamed with an empanada.  Yes, it was gluttonous… but it was also glorious and much needed.

And after all was said and done, we arrived back to our hostel from Paddy’s and plopped our full bellies down in front of our TV to watch countless re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy…

What can I say?  Go big (or go home) is how we do it in America!

About Meg
Exhausted from traveling every week as a Business Management Consultant early in my career, I took a year off in 2012 to travel at my own pace. I am a high-energy girl that loves being active, eating food, drinking wine, and exploring the world with my partner-in-crime (and husband), Tony! I now reside in Portland, Oregon and continue to write about travel, food, wine, and the awesome adventures we have in the Pacific NW!

Megan March 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm

insanely jealous yall have kraft mac and cheese there! the day i find that here is the day i die!!!!!!!! i miss it soooo much!!!!! :) sounds like america day was a hit. i think i may need to give it a shot 😉

Meg April 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I might have cried out in joy when I saw Kraft Mac in the grocery store… Very similar reaction also happened when I found Peanut Butter in South America!

Adventurous Kate March 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm

LOVE this idea!! You do need to indulge now and then!

I was like this for awhile in Thailand and so was my friend Matt — we refused to touch anything non-Thai and bemoaned the abundance of Dutch/Swedish/Italian restaurants in Ao Nang. Then as soon as we arrived in Koh Phi Phi, we went crazy — Italian food, Mexican food, OHH SO GOOD. There’s no shame in doing this if you stick to local food most of the time.

Meg April 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

So true. I am a true believer in being adventurous and trying out local cuisines while in a foreign country (and saying “yes” to everything), but sometimes its good to go back to your food roots. Plus, I have yet to venture to a Starbucks while on our RTW, which I think is a huge accomplishment considering that was my vice back in the states! See you in Umbria Kate :-)

Caroline @ Traveling 9 to 5 March 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm

I completely understand the craving for comfort food… a couple times so far Josh and I have devoured peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We will have to celebrate American Day on our trip and report back :)

Meg April 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Ohhhh Peanut Butter is my favorite… Whenever I find it in South America I always buy a jar. It is such a staple on the road – perfect for hunger attacks, long bus rides, and for taking hostel breakfast’s up a notch! Enjoy your American Day with Josh and be sure to share with us how it goes!

JR March 29, 2012 at 7:57 am

I love the idea to get comfy with food. As long as you did not wear a Red Sox hat while eating.

Meg April 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Ahhh common Jer… Where is your Boston pride?!??!

Emily in Chile March 29, 2012 at 9:18 am

Ooooh, this all looks so good! And I’ve definitely been to that Irish pub, although I only managed to order alcohol, not food :)

Meg April 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

No way! We arrived back into Cusco late last night from our 4-day Machu Picchu hike and went back to Paddy’s with some friends from our trekking group for some cheeseburgers and beer….They were so yummy and oh-so-needed after 4 days of hiking!

Magz March 29, 2012 at 10:28 am

Sounds like a typical Saturday back home in the States :) althought I must ask…. was there any ice cream?!??? That would definitely be my number one American craving!!

Meg April 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Haha there was no ice cream on American Day but South America has some pretty awesome ice cream and gelato in almost every city (dare I say better than many ice cream places in the US?!?!) so we haven’t been deprived AT ALL in that department!

Alexandra March 30, 2012 at 10:41 am

I love this! I must admit that I have cravings all the time on the road to and I have also decided that it is completly rational to eat food other than the local cuisine. At home do you only eat American Food? I doubt it. I have been known to eat at every Mexican place I find on the road! Cheers to you and your cravings!

Meg April 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Yeah every once and awhile on the road burgers and pizza just seem right! We ate anything and everything back in the states but cooked a lot at home, which was nice. And oh how I love Mexican food too!

Kath March 30, 2012 at 6:37 pm

HAHAHA! I absolutely love this post! Your American day sounds like one of my bad preggo craving days (boxed Mac-o-cheese and hot dogs are just delightful). Your soon-to-be-nephew loves himself some yellow cheese-like product! :) Miss you two.

Meg April 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm

The Mac & Cheese with hot dogs combo was quite possibly the greatest thing as a kid…After swimming practice too??!?! Oh I am getting hungry just thinking about it! Lets just hope Maddox grows up to appreciate food as much as us Batley sisters do!

Kipp April 3, 2012 at 9:03 am

Tony what is your favorite episode of Grey’s Anatomy?

Steph April 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I want to have sex with peanut butter. That’s a thing right?

Meg April 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm

hahaha ohhhh yes that is a thing. I had sex with peanut butter this morning and it was soooo delicious!

Alexandra May 13, 2012 at 11:02 am

Just revisted this post. Now that I know you two this post is even funnier! You have also induced a Philly Cheesesteak craving on me! Damn you two!

Meg May 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Says the girl who just told us about the all-you-can-eat burger and ribs night that she was attending :-p

Alexandra May 14, 2012 at 4:21 am

Mmmmmmmm RIBS! PS. There wasn’t cornbread. In fact I asked my boyfriend if there was going to be and he looked at me with utter disgust apparently they have no clue about cornbread. He told me BBQ and cornbread don’t go together! Crazy Germans!

Meg May 14, 2012 at 4:37 am

Seriously?! They don’t know what they are missing…What else soaks up he sauce of the BBQ ribs so perfectly? Ohhh man now I just created a whole separate craving!!!

Sara January 27, 2013 at 7:35 am

American breakfasts are what I miss the most when I travel, I think. When I was excavating in Italy, we made a big American brunch one morning for the Italians (the works: pancakes, eggs, bacon, potatoes); one of my favorite “cultural exchanges” of any of my travels! :-)

Also, good burgers. I still haven’t had a better burger than in the States.

Meg January 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Ohhh man I couldn’t find a burger on the road that compared to how they are back home… and milkshakes too! When I was in Italy, people thought we were crazy for eating large breakfasts, and it was just granola with yogurt… I am curious to see how your friends enjoyed your big American brunch…. it sounds fabulous to me!

Sara January 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Yes, milkshakes! Even in Ireland, where the dairy is killer, I couldn’t find a legit milkshake.

The Italians all liked the breakfast we made, but were all groaning about how full they were and how could we eat this much for breakfast ever. :-)

Meg January 27, 2013 at 12:56 pm

hahah I figured they would say that… I fell the same way about their lunches though. I always want to go to sleep afterwards!

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