Is Thailand Dog-Friendly?

Is Thailand Dog-Friendly? If you’re obsessed with your dogs like I am and you’re either thinking about moving to or visiting Thailand with your fur-babies, then read this! I’m going to talk about my personal experiences having not one – but TWO dogs with me during my 1st month in Thailand. 

First – it’s important to know that I have what are considered small breed dogs : a Yorkie (Raindrop) & a Shih Tzu (Flex). Combined, my dogs weigh 28 lbs (or 12.7 kg). If needed, I can always quickly scoop my dogs up and carry them.  I also have the option of putting them in dog bags and carrying them. If I zip the bags shut, most people won’t even realize I have dogs with me.

I love all dogs but I’ve always preferred smaller breeds because they’re simply more convenient due to their size.

Before we get into it…

Is Thailand safe for my dogs?

The answer is mostly yes! I did a lot of research before moving to Thailand and the safety of my dogs was of utmost importance.  In Thailand, I at least know my dogs will not end up on a dinner plate.

So, is Thailand dog-friendly?

Thailand is a weird combination of being very dog-friendly and then not dog-friendly. Here’s some observations from my 1st month living in the Land of Smiles.

PRO: Whenever I walk down the street with my dogs, most people smile or make kissy noises at them. Thai people love dogs.

CON: Bangkok is the hottest city in the world and I quickly realized the impact this has on my dogs. It simply is not safe to take your dogs for long walks during the day-time due to the high temperatures and humidity. My solution was to invest in a baby stroller so I now look like a crazy dog daddy. Yolo?

Me in Khao San Road in 2018.

PRO: While many Asian countries continue to eat dogs today, Thailand is one of the few where eating dog never became part of their culinary history (outside of few remote villages). Since then, the Thai government passed animal welfare laws in 2014 for dogs, cats and other animals. Bravo! You can read more here

CON: Many streets do not have full sidewalks so you have to share the road with cars & motorbikes. I strongly recommend keeping your dogs on a short leash while walking them.

PRO: Some restaurants & spas (that aren’t dog-friendly) have allowed my dogs in (when I have them in the baby stroller) without much fuss. After they see how well-behaved they are, I’m basically allowed in with my dogs after that (with or without stroller).

Foot massages with my kids.

CON: Not only are there homeless dogs in Thailand, but many owners keep their dogs unleashed in front of their stores or in a front yard that isn’t closed. If your dog likes to bark at every dog he sees or hears, you’ll have dogs seemingly coming out of nowhere!

PRO: There are a number of hotels, spas, cafes and restaurants that are dog-friendly catering to this specific audience. In America, your dog has to be a Service Dog to be allowed into an indoor restaurant (or most establishments) and even (some) pet-friendly hotels will charge fees but here it really just seems up to ownership/management.

Note : I have successfully snuck my dogs into some non-pet friendly hotels & restaurants by keeping them in their stroller or in their bags. If it’s in a stroller and whatever’s in the stroller is quiet, people assume it’s a sleeping baby. WRONG. It’s 2 awesome dogs. #winning

CON: If you happen to be in a grassy area, insects will swarm your dogs. I put Raindrop & Flex in their baby stroller on a grass field and Raindrop started freaking out. I quickly checked on her and ants had climbed all the way up the stroller and were covering my dogs bodies. These tropical ants are lit. No wonder Thai dogs prefer sleeping on concrete here.

PRO: If your dogs love the beach, it seems like all beaches in Thailand are dog-friendly as there are a number of local beach dogs already hanging out.  When I lived in Los Angeles, I’d have to drive to specific beaches.

CON: It’s sometimes very hard to find a taxi that will accept your dogs. This is very frustrating when I have places to be (luckily I don’t really have places to be because I’m a digital nomad😂).

PRO: Thailand uses Grab (instead of Uber) and you have the option to pick a motorbike. So far I haven’t had any issues holding my dogs on the back of a motorbike. If your dogs like to stick their heads out your car window when you’re driving, then they’ll love this!

CONDogs cannot fly in-cabin on any Thai airplanes. They must be in-cargo. If you have to fly your dog in/out of Thailand, try to schedule your flight at night when temperatures have cooled down.

PRO: Even the temple grounds are dog-friendly! While your dogs cannot go into the temple themselves, they’re more than welcome to hang out outside of the temple. I saw many monks with pet dogs. 

At Big Buddha Phuket. Epic.

 

CON: There are street dogs here so they are untrained animals which means they piss, shit & bark wherever they want so there’s a perception from some people (likely non-dog owners) that all dogs will piss, shit & bark in their place of business.

PRO: Thai women love dogs. I think all women love dogs. As a single guy, this helps. If you’re single, get dogs. You won’t be as needy and you’ll automatically become more desirable. If you’re not single, get dogs so when your inevitable breakup happens, you won’t care as much because you’ll have unconditional love from your dogs. Just make sure you figure out who owns the dogs before you get them. The worst thing is losing your dogs during the break-up.

CONEmotional Support Animals and Service Animals are yet to be recognized in Thailand so even if your dog is required for an actual medical need, this isn’t recognized or protected by any laws (yet).

PRO: Many restaurants and bars have outside seating areas, so even if the restaurant or bar is not dog-friendly, you can still sit outside with them. 

With Jeff Bukhari – still single.

CON: Most public parks are so perfect for dogs with grassy areas & huge parks to play fetch in, but many of them are not dog-friendly. 

PRO: Getting your dogs groomed or going to the vet is so cheap here! The following services were $80 total!:

-2 dog haircuts
-2 dog nail clippings
-2 dog anal gland cleanings
-2 dog teeth cleanings
-2 vet appointments
-2 medications (for ear infections)

CON: But pet stores are expensive. Buying high-quality dog food costs about the same price as the US. 

PRO: You get to live in Thailand, the Land of Smiles, with your best friend(s)???? What else could be better!!!

So there you have it. Some idea of what to expect if you bring your dog(s) to Thailand. Just make sure you go through the entire pet permit & import process correctly. It’s a bit of a headache but I was able to figure it out with a little help from a Thai friend.

My next article will include some of the best dog-friendly hotels that I’ve stayed at so far.

If you have any questions about owning a dog in Thailand, feel free to contact me adam@befreemysheeple.com.

And of course follow me on Instagram, @adamfrancisco & @befreemysheeple.

Be Free My Sheeple!

The Craziest Party Streets I’ve Been To In The World!!!

These are the craziest party STREETS I’ve been to in the world! You will NOT find the typical party places or cities on this list such as Miami, Las Vegas, New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Ibiza (which I haven’t actually been to yet – am I too old at this point???), etc. Everyone already knows about these places and almost every person I know (in the US) has been to them. Instead, this list is going to focus on the party streets I’ve been to in the world that the average person has not been to (unless they’re a travel addict like me).  Think Bourbon Street, which passes all qualifications described below: contained, convenient, approachable, absurd, raging. (Bourbon Street is seriously nuts). 

This list is in no way a definitive list – this is just from my personal experiences (that I can remember). If there are party streets you’d like to suggest, please leave them in the comments or shoot me an e-mail adam@befreemysheeple.com and maybe I’ll come up with Part 2 (Party Streets I Must Go To Before I’m 40).

The Qualifications

  • Contained : There needs to be a number of alcohol-serving establishments along the same street
  • Convenient: You must be able to bar-hop quickly by foot
  • Approachable : Dress code is optional at enough locations that you do not feel the need to dress up
  • Absurd : The music/noise from the establishments must freely pour into the streets
  • Raging : The average person is there to rage

This list is not in any order.

Camelback Road(Scottsdale, Arizona)

Let’s start with something local for my fellow Americans: Scottsdale, Arizona. Scottsdale somehow developed a reputation of being a nice, upperclass city with great resorts, spas and golf courses, maybe for your parents or grandparents, but nobody ever talks about the raging nightlife which reminded me of a mini-Cancun the first time I saw it (with open-faced bars & clubs blasting music into the streets). Seriously, ask anyone in the US where they should party and nobody ever says “Camelback Road in Old Town Scottsdale” but I’ve been saying this for years! The locals told me that the college kids & 20-year-olds party in Tempe, and when they turn 30 & start having some disposable income, they graduate to Old Town Scottsdale.

In full transparency, there’s a lot of plastic surgery & steroids in Scottsdale. It’s as if you took the stereotypical women from Los Angeles and the stereotypical men from New Jersey and put them in the middle of the dessert. While this probably isn’t a selling point for visiting Scottsdale, if you can get past this (as I have), the day clubs (like Maya) and night clubs & bars, are insanely loud & fun, with great music filled with beautiful people. You don’t have to get dressed up to get into many of the bars, but you definitely feel like you should. Dancers on stages, bottle girls in bikinis, smoke machines, and cover charges everywhere, a night out in Scottsdale is going to be legendary & expensive, but worth it.

Also, there’s a casino really close by to the nightlife which is always a great idea after a night of drinking.

Camelback Road
My good friend Joe Bologna with 2 beautiful waitresses
Gorgeous dancer. I didn’t get her contact info. Fail.

Best Memory:

I was at Maya nightclub crushing tequila shots when a gorgeous brunette  pulls up to the bar right next to me as if she was sent by the gods above. Wearing a skintight outfit, this girl was an absolute bombshell. Given that we were in a nightclub, I offered to buy her a shot of her choice and she picked a “red-headed slut” (which is Jägermeister, peach-flavored schnapps, and cranberry juice). I ordered a pair of shots, and while we were waiting for this 3-ingredient cocktail to be made, I got a good look at her face and realized she looked familiar. Turns out it was none other than Amia Miley, award-winning adult film actress. I told her it was my honor to buy her a drink but before she could take hers, she was pulled away by some gigantic guy (much larger than me so there was nothing I could do lol). You can check out her instagram here if you are unfamiliar with her work.

Golden Gai (Tokyo, Japan)

Have you heard of Golden Gai? It is one of the coolest, most unique places in Japan. It’s a few rows of very small streets & very small bars (some can only seat a few customers), hidden between the industrial, modern complexes of Tokyo. Its’ history is incredible. In the 1980s, many of the bars were set on fire so the land could be purchased by developers, but it survived because supporters/defenders took turns guarding the buildings 24/7. It truly is like stepping into a time machine and entering an older Japan.

While Golden Gai is not as loud as some of the other streets on this list as music is kept to respectful volumes within each establishment, the authenticity & history of the atmosphere can be felt throughout the entire area with each bar having its’ own gimmick. There’s no dress code, but some bars only allow regulars in. 

You can read more about it here.

I’m almost too big for Golden Gai

Best Memory:

Sitting in one of the micro-bars for hours drinking Hibiki Whiskey which seemed relatively cheap compared to drinking it in the US (where it’s more expensive because it’s an import – duh) and then eating Japanese noodles for a snack, cooked by the bartender free of charge.

Yummy

Dotonburi River (Osaka, Japan)

When people visit Japan they usually visit the trio of Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka. The recommended way to commute between cities is the Japanese Bullet Train operated by JR – Japan Railways.  Pro tip: if you’re in the US, make sure you buy your tickets from a travel agent before you go to Japan to save significant yen.

Before we talk about Dotonburi River, if you’re in the area, make sure you hit up Japan’s #1 tourist attraction in Kyoto : Fushimi Inari-Shrine. I spent 4 hours wandering around this absolutely stunning shrine. You’ve seen it on Instagram, now go see it in real life. You can read more about it here.

The Dotonburi River is like beauty & the beast – it’s a gorgeous river (the beauty) with clubs & nightlife (the beast) on both sides. There were so many options I was overwhelmed but ultimately I decided on a club that didn’t have a strict dress code. They did however, have glowsticks so I was thrilled. Any time glowsticks are organically introduced into your night is a good night. After turning my glowsticks into a makeshift crown (obviously), I was officially in rage-mode. At one point, the DJ played “American Boy” and I turned up and got lit before turning up & getting lit was even a thing – or maybe it was and I was just late to both.

On a side note, I’ve been saying “Get Lit. Stay Woke.” and someone told me I sound like a dad who is trying to sound cool. I don’t know what’s more offensive  – sounding like a dad when you’re not a dad or someone thinking you’re trying to sound cool instead of just sounding cool. Awk.

Dotonburi River surrounded by nightlife
I love glowsticks

Best Memory : It is very hard to find fluent English speakers in Japan. Even basic English was very hard to come by. It was so hard in fact, that I went on a date communicating exclusively through Google Translate. We would take turns speaking into our phones in our native language and letting the robotic voice speak the words that we could not express. It was my first date where silence wasn’t awkward, it was necessary.  

RCA – Royal City Avenue (Bangkok, Thailand) 

And here we are, my new home!

If you ask anyone in Bangkok where to party, RCA is usually the number one answer, especially if:

  • You are not a backpacker (backpackers are usually trying to minimize costs so they avoid $6+ cocktails)
  • You are older than 21
  • You have disposable income
  • You want to get dressed up (not mandatory at all places here, but you can find those kind of places)

RCA (Royal City Avenue) is a long street with everything from restaurants, sports bars, dive bars and massive nightclubs (usually with a dress code). Some of the clubs even have outdoor areas that go right into the street so you can sit outside and get cocktail service. This is an amazing element for those times when you want to have an actual conversation with someone. Whether you’re looking for live music or club DJs, RCA is a must. Open 7 days a week, the Bangkok nightlife never takes a break. In Bangkok, people don’t just party during brunch on Sundays.

Best Memory :

After having one too many cocktails on RCA, leaving my debit card in an ATM machine, rushing back to find it, and then of course not finding it. Without any access to cash, I booked a flight and went back to NYC that same night. Ahh to be young! (in 2016).

Soi Cowboy (Bangkok, Thailand)

If you are in a relationship or traveling with your significant other, avoid Soi Cowboy at all costs (unless you’re both very very confident about your relationship or very very open-minded). This street is absolutely insane. The first time you walk down this street, it will probably catch you off-guard and be a bit overwhelming (as it was for me). 100s of bar girls dressed in revealing bikinis standing outside pulling every trick in the book to get you to stop walking and go into their bar to start buying them (and the bar hosts) drinks. If you stop for a second, you’re done for. Prepare to buy rounds of drinks!

Like strip clubs, there’s music and poles inside each club, except unlike strip clubs the girls here do not get naked. They dance in their bikinis trying to get your attention so that you can buy them, their friends, and their hosts a few drinks. If you’re inside, it’s common courtesy to buy a few drinks (and they’re usually around $5 USD/drink). 

You can also find some well-known ladyboy bars on this street. Here’s a list on Bangkok.com.

If you have money to spend, then your dogs are welcome

You will see a lot of foreign tourists here (lonely and/or drunk) trolling the streets looking for a companion. At only 150 meters long, this street is one of the most intense experiences you’ll have in that short of a distance.

There’s also great street food, live music & karaoke so there is truly something for everyone.

Endless bikinis

Best Memory :

Leaving without being suckered into spending more money than I wanted to.

Khao San Road (Bangkok, Thailand)

Khao San Road is like Thailand’s version of Bourbon Street, except for backpackers (it’s sometimes called “the center of the backpacking universe”). There’s tons of loud music pouring into the street outside every bar which offer cheap drinks by the buckets, edible scorpions & tarantulas for sale, custom suit salesmen, street vendors cooking fresh Pad Thai, durians and mango sticky rice, endless massage chairs on the street for impromptu foot massages, budget hotels & hostels, cheap tank tops & NBA knockoff jerseys, and of course many drunken fools who have gone way past their limits and are either passed out or being held up by their friends after they just vomited.

My suggestion is to get here before the sun sets (around 4p) for an early street dinner, some light shopping, maybe a massage or 2, a few cocktail buckets and then get out before 1am when all hell breaks loose.

Me in Khao San Road in 2016
Me in Khao San Road in 2018

Best Memory : 

Exactly what I mentioned above with one of my best friends Jeff Bukhari (still single ladies, per usual) and my kids Raindrop & Flex. I can’t wait to go back.

So there you have it. Some of the best streets I’ve partied on. Do you agree? Do you have other suggestions? Leave it in the comments or shoot me an e-mail : adam@befreemysheeple.com.

And of course follow me on Instagram, @adamfrancisco & @befreemysheeple.

 

Don’t Be Afraid of Change (I’m Moving to Thailand)

When I tell people I’m moving to Thailand the first reaction I get is a double-take and a “Wait … you’re MOVING to Thailand?” and the second question is usually “are you nervous?” and I really don’t know what there is to be nervous about.

I didn’t get this reaction when I told people I’m moving to LA which in comparison to moving to Thailand feels pedestrian. That move was met with an eye-roll by most New Yorkers (“you traitor”). I think people ask if I’m nervous about moving to Thailand because they are plugged into the matrix and it just sounds like such a wild and crazy idea that the concept takes them out of their cozy little paint-by-the-numbers comfort zone and into an unknown abyss of uncertainty and adventure. I’m innately a risk-taker so I haven’t felt nervous once…just excited.

Ever since I became a “traveler” 5 years ago, I’ve become more worldly and appreciative of everything I have (and less focused on the things I don’t have). Things, material goods … none of that stuff matters. What matters most (to me) is the freedom to wake up every day and do what I want (with my kids 🐶🐶) because when this life is over, I want to look back at it, feel like I lived a fulfilling life and mic drop. Papi out.

Moving to Los Angeles 3 years ago was the greatest change I’ve ever made : I learned to live in the moment, de-prioritize work, escape a 9-5, create my own career, re-focus on health (I lost 20 pounds and 10% bodyfat) and really live. Without my time in LA there would be no move to Thailand.

Los Angeles isn’t the solution for everyone and I have no idea how long I’ll be in Thailand for, but I applaud all my fellow change agents who took themselves out of their comfort zones and did something epic like pack up their entire lives and move somewhere else. And if you haven’t done it, do it. Maybe you’ll hate it, but you can always move back.

Don’t be afraid of change. 🗽➡️🌴➡️🇹🇭

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at adam@befreemysheeple.com and of course please follow my journeys on Instagram @adamfranciscoor my vlog channel @befreemysheeple.

Be Free My Sheeple.

The 5 Best Tacos I’ve Had In The World

The 5 Best Tacos In The World

This article is sponsored by the best tequila from Los Cabos, Cabo Unico.

In the last 2 years I’ve visited 20 countries across Europe, Asia, The Americas & the Caribbean. As a Mexican-American, one of my favorite foods is tacos (it must be in my DNA) and one of my favorite days of the week is Taco Tuesday. I’m also a huge fan of tequila (skinny margaritas FTW) so whenever I travel, I always look for tacos, even if I’m in Asia or Europe. I’m addicted to you taco. 

As you’d expect from a top 5 taco list, 3 of the restaurants are in Mexico and 1 is in California. The 5th restaurant will surprise you but you’ll have to scroll down and find out what it is! 

The Qualifications 

The tacos on this list are NOT your standard tacos. In order to be a part of this list, the taco has to be unique, using an innovative recipe and ingredients you typically do not expect to see in a taco.  I am also not considering the ambiance of the restaurant. This is just a straight up “best tacos I’ve ever had” list. So if you’re looking for your standard chicken taco in a flour shell, you won’t find it here.

La Lupita Taco & Mezcal – San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico

Yelp  TripAdvisor

Do you know when the food is so good, that you just have to keep eating even after you’re full? That’s La Lupita. 

I discovered this restaurant during my last trip to Cabo. I hopped in a taxi and asked the driver where to get dinner. He asked if I liked tacos and without hesitation I said “YES” and he said “La Lupita.” The restaurant is on a quiet street a few blocks away from Plaza Del Centro with a very unassuming exterior. The interior however, is incredible.

I was taken by the host to the back of the restaurant which is an outdoor seating area. It has a full mezcal bar and a bright pink elevated stage with live music.  Even though I am not considering ambiance as a factor in this article, this spot nailed it. Super fun, colorful & rustic atmosphere. The customer service is top notch. The live bands were amazing. They even did a few of Aretha Franklin’s songs in her memory.

Onto the food.

The menu is intimidating! It’s categorized by protein (beef, pork, lamb, seafood, etc.). It’s one of those menus that looks so good you want to try everything. I recommend visiting this restaurant at the start of your trip to Cabo so you can come back a few more times and get the full experience. I asked the owner David Camhi (who happened to be sitting next to me) what his favorite tacos were (which is kinda cheating but if anyone would know what to order, it’s him). My absolute favorites were:

Mexican Flank Steak – OMG this marinade was … I don’t even have words for it. I’m not even a steak eater and I had 3 of these. The steak was like butter.
Baja Scallops – Scallops in tacos??? Who knew!!! I ordered 3 of these too. Cooked perfectly with a crispy, battered outside.
Pork Belly – It melted in my mouth. And you guessed it : 3 of these.

Respect to Chef Galindo!

After we ate, David was kind enough to give me a history of mezcal.

The good news for everyone is that they’re opening more La Lupitas in the near future, including in the US, so you won’t have to come to Mexico to experience this game-changing taco experience, but until then, you should come down to Mexico to experience the original.

Cabo Azul’s Flor de Noche – San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico

Yelp   TripAdvisor

Flor de Noche is the restaurant within Diamond Resort‘s Cabo property Cabo Azul. Not only is Flor de Noche an upscale restaurant, but it’s attached to a swim-up bar that I’ve been coming to since 2012. There’s nothing like crushing 2 for 1 margaritas while never having to leave the pool. You can get buzzed and tan at the same time. Plus, you’ll make a ton of friends at this bar as everyone there is having a good time. One older gentleman next to me was drinking tequila out of a champagne glass until his wife said “stop drinking tequila out of a champagne glass or you’ll go to the dark side.” He looked at me and said “she’s right.” LOL.

Onto their taco.

The only negative about their best taco is that it’s only available during the lunch menu, so if you want it for dinner, you’re out of luck. But now that I think about it, we should all be grateful that this taco is even available at all. If it was only available for a 15 minute window, I would time my entire vacation around those 15 minutes. 

Shrimp Diablo – This taco is loaded with shrimp, tomatoes, onions, with a generous layer of melted, crispy cheese within the inside of the shell, paired with some of the hottest hot sauce you’ll ever taste (there’s a milder version for those who can’t handle the heat). This was my lunch every day. Are they the healthiest? Probably not. But they are definitely healthy for your soul.

If you’re looking for a beautiful resort in Cabo, check out Cabo Azul. The bonus is that you can get 1 of the best tacos in the world. Everyone that has tasted this taco per my suggestion also agreed.

Acua Bar Y Mar – Rosarito, Mexico

Yelp    TripAdvisor 

Rosarito is less than a 30 minute drive from Tijuana. It’s an adorable little beach city with a raging summertime nightlife scene from the famous club Papas y Beer to the 24-hour bar & restaurant, Acua Bar Y Mar.

Don’t let the Yelp ratings fool you. Yelp reviewers take all factors into account but I am only focused on the quality of the specific taco and the taco that I had here was proudly suggested by the owner. As he handed me the taco, he stepped back and watched me like a proud father, waiting with anticipation for my reaction. My reaction? Speechless. 

Marlin Taco with Pesto Sauce – First, I never tried a marlin taco before, but when you slather it in a delicious, creamy, pesto sauce, it will force you to open up your mind and expand your horizons. 

I was so mind-boggled that I forgot to take a picture of my taco (bad food blogger bad!) but I was able to take a screenshot from a video of me eating the taco. Afterwards I said “this is one of the best tacos I’ve ever had.” And that’s why it’s on the list.

Blue Plate Taco – Santa Monica, California

Yelp   TripAdvisor

I put my money where my mouth is on this one. In the last 3 years that I’ve been living in LA, I’ve gone to Blue Plate Taco in Santa Monica at least once a month. Not only are the food and drinks absolutely delicious, but it’s right on the beach so you get a view of the ocean & the sunsets and it’s a few blocks from one of the greatest shopping areas in the world, Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade.

The one thing I love about LA is that fitness & health is a huge part of the lifestyle because when it’s always summertime, you need to always keep your body beach-ready. It’s very easy to find healthy food options no mater where you are on the west side. Restaurants that don’t cater to a healthier crowd (or at least have healthier options), do not last long on the west side. This goes for Mexican restaurants too.

If you want to keep your meal lean, Blue Plate Taco’s got your back. You can order tacos a la carte and put them in lettuce shells (which they call flacco tacos, meaning “skinny” in Spanish).

The 4 tacos below have been my go-to combination for 3 years. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask for a side of the green hot sauce (habanero). The first time I tried it, I didn’t believe the waiter when he said to be careful. After all, I’m Mexican, I can handle it right? WRONG. My mouth was on FIRE for 30 minutes. Yo soy en fuego! Papi caliente!

Flacco Tacos (your choice) – Like life, I prefer diversity so I always ordered a shrimp, a lobster,  baja fish & a pork belly taco. Each one comes topped with a different sauce meant to complement the meat. The best part is, it’s completely guilt-free. Zero carbs. #winning

Also, if you like ginger ale, they have homemade ginger beer which is basically a stronger-tasting version of ginger ale (but it doesn’t have any alcohol). If you’re THIRSTY thirsty, I recommend a pitcher of the red sangria. You will leave feeling quite lovely!

Taco NGON – Da Nang, Vietnam

Yelp   TripAdvisor

Surprise! Didn’t expect to see Vietnam here, did you??? I didn’t either. I found this restaurant when I visited Da Nang in 2017. I hopped on TripAdvisor’s “Cheap Eats” section and was surprised to see a taco place as #1! You can imagine my excitement.

Getting to eat these tacos was quite an adventure, so I want to share some advice before you go. 

First, it’s kinda hard to find Taco NGON. If you don’t have a sim card with access to a map, good luck. It’s basically the only restaurant within a residential area. After a bit of trial and error, I finally found it. The logo is like a dragon/crocodile/lizard. I didn’t really understand it until I sat down in the open-aired restaurant and saw actual tiny, real life lizards hanging out around the walls. Remember – you’re in a beach town that has a lot of humidity. Sometimes you gotta put up with a few lizards while you eat.  

Also, this place doesn’t accept credit cards. A good rule of thumb when you’re visiting Southeast Asia is to always have cash on you. If you’re a tourist, I recommend keeping some money in your shoes, and some in your pants, just to be safe. 

If you don’t have cash, you’ll have to walk 10 minutes to the main street and try different ATM machines until you find one that works.  So just make sure you always have cash with you in Southeast Asia and you’ll be fine (unless you’re in a major city as there are ATMs everywhere).

Onto the food.

One of the best parts about Southeast Asia is how cheap everything is as a tourist and the food is a highlight. These tacos were 35k dong (about $1.50 USD), so for less than $5, you could get 3 reasonably-sized tacos. If you want to sit down and eat with the lizards, you can get tequila shots for 25k dong, or a beer for 15k dong. In US terms that’s $1 tequila shots, $.60 beers…and it’s not even happy hour (actually, these prices would make any hour happy)!!! It’s incredible what $10 USD can get you on this side of the world and a big reason why I’m moving to Thailand in 2 weeks. Your money can last a very long time here. 

The tacos I recommend are :

ALL OF THEM – Their menu is small but as some people say, “fewer, bigger, better” or “focus on fewer things and do them really well.” Both apply here. You pick your protein and then add whatever sauce you want. They recommend specific pairings such as pork + wasabi coleslaw, fish + ginger lime & chicken+ tamarind BBQ sauce but if it was up to me, I would put that tamarind BBQ sauce on everything. I want it for breakfast, I want it for lunch, I want it for dinner. I asked if I could buy a bottle to bring back to the US and the answer was a firm no. This is one of their secret recipes and I can’t blame them. Guess you’ll have to fly to Da Nang and try it for yourself! YOLO!

There’s a reason this place is called Taco NGON. NGON means “tasty” in Vietnamese and this place more than lives up to it’s name. 

So, what did you think about my list? I’d love to hear if you’ve been to any of these restaurant and if not, what some of your favorite taco places in the world are. As a world-traveler, I am sure I’ll be able to get out there in the near future to validate your claims!

If you have any questions about these restaurants, you can contact me adam@befreemysheeple.com. I know some of the owners so I can make an introduction 🙂

And as always, Be Free My Sheeple. Bah.

And check out Cabo Unico tequila below.

Wigwam Arizona : My Weekend At this Historic (and Delicious) Resort

Arizona has always been one of my favorite West Coast getaways so when I was invited to check out The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, I was in! Here’s some highlights from my weekend at this historic (and delicious) resort. 

The Wigwam is a truly stunning and perfectly-maintained resort

The Resort

The first thing I noticed was how immaculate the resort was. You can immediately tell that they put a lot of effort into making sure everything looks beautiful. This really is an upscale resort. If I’m on vacation, I want the place I’m staying to be both beautiful & clean and Wigwam nails it on both fronts.

I later found out that they change the grass every season (different grass does better during different seasons). For those who haven’t been here yet, this herculean task  cannot be overstated: The Wigwam sits on 440 acres and includes 3 professional 18-hole golf courses. They reset the grass 4 times a year. Insane!

The style of the buildings is what’s referred to as Territorial Adobe so while the outside has a historic feel, the rooms themselves are spacious and modern. The Wigwams refers to their hotel rooms as “casitas” (little homes) as they’re much larger than your typical hotel or resort stay.

FootGolf

I had never heard of FootGolf until The Wigwam and it is such a fun sport! It’s a combination of soccer (which I’m not very good at) and golf (which I’m also not very good at) but it doesn’t matter if you’re good at either because its a lot of fun! Same rules as golf just with a soccer ball (and a lot more fast paced)! I also found out through Instagram that there’s a professional FootGolf league. You can check them out here @southwestFGC! It was 105 degrees the day I played so I was able to get a tan too.

FootGolf, a combination of soccer & golf at The Wigwam

Cocktails

Despite being into fitness, I do enjoy mixology and The Wigwam does not disappoint! Through September 3rd, they’re celebrating the last decade through their Centennial Cocktail Menu (a different drink from each generation). I tried their 1950s Piña Colada, 1980s Bramble & (being from New York City) their 2010 Manhattan Revival. Delicious trio of drinks (the Piña Colada was my fave).

3 cocktails from The Wigwam Bar’s Centennial menu

Also, I gotta shout out their Berry Margarita. I never thought of adding fresh berries to my margarita but they did it here and it was delicious. Nothing beats a fruity Mexican cocktail!

Berry Margarita from The Wigwam

The Food

If you’re visiting The Wigwam, make sure you come hungry! The Wigwam is a foodie’s paradise (If you like food porn, check out my friend’s IG @thefoodiearticles). 

I received an invite to The Wigwam’s famous monthly “Wine Dinner Series” which features an incredible 4-course meal paired with wine by Plumpjack, Cade & Odette. Between each meal, Chef Jason Paterno would discuss his inspiration behind each dish and a Sommelier would give details about the wine’s history and why it was paired with that dish. Not only was this dinner delicious, but it was very educational as well.  The dinner had a number of repeat, local customers so you know this dinner is well-liked.

Check out this savory menu : 

Incredible menu from Chef Jason Paterno

There’s 2 dishes that I must talk about: 

  1. Chef Jason Paterno’s Pork dish (with plum, blueberry, corn & mustard : the texture of this pork melts in your mouth. 
  2. Litchfield’s Diver Sea Scallops (with risotto, sweet corn, tomato, bacon, mascarpone & basil) : this a crowd-pleaser and some of the best-cooked scallops I’ve ever had. And that risotto. <3
Chef Jason Paterno cooks one of the best pieces of pork I’ve ever tasted
Litchfield’s Diver Sea Scallops

So if you’re looking for your next foodie adventure, I highly recommend The Wigwam.

Pet-Friendly

The Wigwam is pet-friendly!

As someone who always travels with their fur kids, I’m always looking for pet-friendly resorts. The Wigwam accepts pets (at $25 per day per pet).

You can learn more about the Wigwam at their website here or on their IG @wigwamresort. If you have any questions or want to connect with their sales or marketing team, you can contact me adam@befreemysheeple.com.