They say "When in Rome do as the Romans do", so the same logic should also apply to Mexico, right?
That was what I was thinking when I sat down in a classy Mexican restaurant a few weeks ago. The following morning would be the wedding -- the main reason I went to Mexico -- so this meal was to get acquainted with traditional Mexican drinks and dishes. As I was pouring over the menu trying to decipher it, the man beside me pointed out the "Tacos" section. I knew what a taco was, so it seemed like a safe place to order from. He then ran through the types of tacos on the menu. One was beef, one was shrimp and the other was dog.
I had to stop him. "Dog? Really?" Yes. It was three dog tacos. I decided then that if dog was what was commonly served in Mexico, then it's something I should try. When in Rome, right?
After about 15 minutes, the waiter brought the tacos with a side of salad and a bowl full of vegetables. I quickly took a picture of them and put it out onto Facebook, with the caption "Guess what kind of taco I'm having!?". Very quickly it was discovered it was dog, and my friends and family were a little less than happy with me. One comment summarized what everybody was feeling: "I think I'm going to woof."
The tacos were actually very good. The meat inside was kind of like pulled pork -- tender and stringy. The sauce was tangy and delicious, and the carrots and lettuce were very crunchy. In one of the tacos I found a bone, but that happens with any kind of meat, so I wasn't too put off by it. All in all, it was so good that I considered ordering seconds.
After supper we went out to the bar and I met some members of the bridal party. They were all about my age and we got talking about how I was enjoying Mexico. Quickly it came up what I had for supper and everybody wanted to know more about it. Nobody in the bridal party, it seems, had ever tried dog.
This seemed very strange to me, but then again I have never had tuna so it's not impossible to have something nobody else has ever had.
The night ended and I went back to my hotel. The following morning I woke up to my phone alarm, and noticed I had a message from one of my friends on Facebook. She asked me where I had found dog on the menu in Mexico, since she has never seen it.
Normally I would dismiss such messages. It was only because I highly respect this person (she's one of my old high school teachers) and because she has probably spent more time in Mexico over the years than I have in Canada, that I wanted to give her an answer.
I closed Facebook and went to the pictures on my phone. I found the pictures of the tacos and checked their geo-located position. I then opened it on Google Maps, found the restaurant, went to their website and found their menu. I copied the title of all the tacos, popped them into Google Translate and saw beef, shrimp and...
What!? I couldn't believe it! Surely it translated wrong! I isolated all the words from the title and translated them all individually. There was no mistaking it. "Pato" means "duck" and "perro" means "dog". Sure, duck is a more exotic meat, but it isn't unheard of to eat. Dog, on the other hand, is extremely taboo in the West. How could I have made this mistake?
I then thought back to the previous night to how I learned what the taco's meat was. I remembered that I was told it was dog by a man who had a thick Spanish accent. It's possible that when this gentleman said "duck", he gave it a harder "oh" sound, and it came out like "dock". "Dock" could have easily been misheard of as "dog", since a "dock taco" wouldn't make any sense.
So, for any of my friends or family thinking I ate dog, I'm sorry, I had duck instead. My bad.
In the words of the groom though, "When it comes to Mexico tacos, unless you see them cut the meat yourself, you never know what you might get." So, there's still a possibility, right?
What's the weirdest thing you've ever ate while traveling? Have you ever eaten dog? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
December has finally arrived, and with it is the season of gift giving. Personally, I always find Christmas shopping – or shopping for any reason – very difficult and very frustrating. Maybe it's because I'm a guy, but there just seems to be so many stores and so many sales that I always get pretty overwhelmed, especially when it comes to shopping for children. In an attempt to ease the pain of holiday shopping, I have reached out to three local businesses around Regina to tell me a little about who they are and what they have going on this holiday season. Have you ever visited these locations? Let me know about it in the comments below!
Located in the south end of Regina, Kids Trading Company has been a part of the Regina community for the past 15 years. Here you can find a mixture of new and gently used children's clothing, shoes, toys and accessories.
Enjoy shopping in a local store where the friendly staff knows the products and can help you find what you need, like warm winter boots from Kamik or waterproof mittens and fleecy hats. Brands like Desigual, Hatley, Yogini, Billabong and Mexx will give you lots of options for great quality clothes in the latest styles. Need a baby gift? Shop their baby section for the cutest sleepers and practical accessories like Amber teething necklaces and muslin blankets.
Nestled between the impressive Mount Royal and the majestic St. Lawrence River is Montreal, a city known for its festivals, abstract art, history and mosaic of countless cultures. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, with a population floating around four million people. While the city is a dynamic mix of Canada's two primary cultures – French and English – there are areas of the city that are culturally specific, such as Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Known for its artistic and liberal mindedness, Montreal also boasts the largest community of homosexuals in North America in their very own "Gay Village".
Being nearly 375 years old, Montreal was pivotal to the creation of New France and Canada and at a time held control over every waterway from the St. Lawrence down to the Gulf of Mexico. Having such incredible influence over the western part of the New World, Montreal hosted the "Great Peace of Montreal" in 1701, which started sixteen years of peace between the French and over 40 different First Nation tribes in North America.
Since its early days, Montreal has been one of the most influential cities in Canada. Montreal housed "internment camps" during World War I, became an ideal location for Americans looking for alcohol during Prohibition, and was the official residence of the Luxembourg royal family during World War II. Montreal held host to the incredible Expo 67, showcasing some of the most incredible architecture of that decade. The seventies saw serious political reformation in Montreal, with many Americans arriving, fleeing the Vietnam Draft. The late seventies paralyzed the city as a terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec, detonated explosives throughout the city and kidnapped and killed political figures. These actions forced the Prime Minster to enact the "War Measures Act" and deploy the military into the city to apprehend the terrorists. The eighties and nineties saw two referendums in the province of Quebec to separate from Canada, with Montreal playing a major role in both decisions. The last referendum in 1995 ended with 51% percent of Quebecers wanting to remain part of Canada and 49% wanting to separate.
Among the tombstones of the Regina Cemetery are little blue and white flags. In 1993 the Regina Ethnic Pioneers Cemetery Walking Tour put together their first tour, which focused on the city's founding fathers. In 1999 they then put together the second tour, which focused on the diversity of immigrants that live within the city. The blue flags mark the path of the first tour and the white flags mark those of the second.
The walking tours are self-guided, and can be purchased at the Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery for $2. Together, they offer over eighty different locations to visit.
For this project I teamed up with Patti Haus from I Heart Regina. She's another local blogger that has just broken into the scene and blogs about food, drinks and things to see around the Queen City. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. She provided many of the pictures for this article.