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in the words of mississippi rockabilly legend lee denson (aka jesse james) who purportedly taught elvis how to play guitar, the south’s gonna rise again.  growing up asian in the south, i always felt out-of-place.  people always assumed i was related to/ the same person as that other “oriental” kid in school.  when my chance finally came, i fled to the pacific northwest, officially for college, unofficially, to stalk my favourite band.  upon arrival, i experienced the exact opposite of what i expected, “why are there so many asian people here??”  during my first years here, friends from back home pointed out my new-found valley girl accent (aka loss of a southern twang), but as i have thrived here the last decade, i’ve grown nostalgic over southern ways and have come to miss its food and hospitality.  with the recent elevation of chefs such as sean brock and linton hopkins in the culinary arena, what was once poor man’s fare has been made shiny and vogue.  restaurants across the country are jumping on the bandwagon of grits and gravy gravitas, with the sexton leading the charge for the ballard troops.  however, a southern food establishment in the northwest is much like a chinese girl raised in the south, a juxtaposition of something half way between here and there.  sure the cocktails are served in mason jars, but jalapeno vodka is less southern and more south of the border.  and yes, all the usual suspects are on the menu: fried chicken, hush puppies, and more, but i seriously doubt that any of it had lard, a staple in any southern grocery store.  so while a valiant war was fought by the sexton, i’ll march on for something that feels more like home.

caught between a cocktail and a hard place

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