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The Blue & Gray Press | November 18, 2017

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An Eagle Experience: Europe’s fine dining pales in comparison to UMW aesthetic

An Eagle Experience: Europe’s fine dining pales in comparison to UMW aesthetic

By ALEX SPENCE

I am approaching week six here in Europe of my semester abroad and my check list of places to visit is slowly shrinking. Most recently, I visited France and the Netherlands and was able to experience each country, despite the short time spent in each.

In Paris, I stood in awe of the Eiffel Tower, while in Amsterdam I found out that a “coffee shop” is actually a shop to purchase weed and eat edibles. In fact, ironically enough, I am not even sure they sell coffee there.

Throughout each trip there is one goal I set for myself: to eat as much food as possible. I have yet to be disappointed in myself.

While I continue to impress myself by accomplishing my goals, I have noticed there is one thing that Europe lacks: the fine dining of the University of Mary Washington. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I am jealous of your morning trips to the Dining Hall in the University Center.

Yet, while I am over here gorging myself on the finest crepes, baguettes, pastas and pastries, it is just not the same when I do not have to walk three flights of stairs to get it, or run to the bathroom as soon as I am finished. Shout out to old Seacobeck Hall, we all miss you.

There comes a point in my daily routine where I ask myself, “is this really better than the baked potato bar?” I am not sure I would go that far, but then again I have a biased opinion as a student coming from UMW.

It is a known fact that UMW is ranked for its high quality cafeteria food. Taking home the win for the East Coast, UMW’s University Center was voted No. 1 in cafeteria fine dining. There is even a promotional video starring the face of UMW himself, Mikey Barnes. The video features him ooing and ahing over the gourmet options as student in the background are heard making lifelike yummy noises as they dig into their lunch.

At least this is what I tell people as I am cutting into my authentic Margherita pizza and sipping on my fine wine.

But do not think my heart is not back with good ole’ Mary Wash. In fact, in my head I am always eating at the UC. Each time I am out enjoying a meal and a fire truck drives by sounding its siren, my first instinct is to scarf down my food thinking that I will be asked to leave in a matter of seconds, regardless of a wasted meal swipe.

Of course, no one else understands my nostalgic fire alarm flashbacks, but trust me, they left an impression.

I am anxiously awaiting my return in the fall where I will no doubt be greeted with a smile as I swipe in after my workout on the UC stairs.

I will sheepishly eye the pasta station, but deep down I know I am headed for the pretzel bar followed by stroll down salad lane where I will hear the familiar sound of mumbles and groans over the empty Ranch Dressing bottles.

I can hardly wait for the big reunion. In just over five months I will be back in the arms of my beloved dining hall. And not that I could ever cheat on the UC, but while I am here I might as well try a few samples, just to be polite. One of everything, please!