Monthly Archives: July 2014

Taco Tour: NW Ohio

I am somewhat to very behind on my taco tour updates. I continue to taco tour, because it is one of my favourite hobbies – but I have not been writing about it much. I have been to a few new places since the LASA taco tour, and the best have been in Toledo, Findlay, and Detroit.

Today I dedicate my post to the two in Ohio. One Sunday, some weeks ago, I decided to go on a drive. That was how I knew I had assimilated to the USA. I had also heard that there are some nice restaurants on the water in Toledo, and I knew that Toledo had a few Middle Eastern grocery stores. The whole experience was a bit odd. First, Toledo is not the nicest city. It’s the rust belt is at its finest. When I arrived at this restaurant, in what I would call an ideal location, there was hardly anyone there! It was the perfect after-church time to go for lunch, too. (Obviously tomato soup and grilled cheese or Swiss Chalet is the perfect after church lunch, but when I skipped church to go driving, and live in a country without Swiss chalet…I have to make do) After I ate lunch, I went for a short walk along the river and I noticed lots of people who were fishing, chatting and eating McDonald’s. Probably because the restaurants were too expensive. The food was fairly good. I got chilaquiles, because it was Sunday, and because not everywhere has them, so I had to seize the day. Toledo is not too far away from where I live now, but I might not go back there – the shawarma and baklava at the grocery store looked amazing…

No salsa verde

Chilaquiles in Toledo

Some two days after my experience in Toledo I went to a new-ish restaurant in Findlay, Ohio, called Stix. Findlay is one of the towns near where I live that has a decent grocery store. Meijer. Best thing about the Midwest. Aldi. Best German thing exported to this country. But I digress. I was doing groceries on a Tuesday, and remembered that according to a friend in town, Stix has taco Tuesdays. Tacos for 2 dollars. I was sold. These were definitely Asian-fusion tacos, and they were delicious. Since they were hipster tacos, there was not that much meat on them, but there was a lot of interesting flavour. And now that I live far away from all of the hipsters, their fare is much more interesting than it used to be. I will go again.

Tasty and odd

Hipster tacos with non-Mexican limes

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Never Get a Concussion

The best way I can describe post-concussive syndrome, or lingering effects of a mild traumatic brain injury, 11 months later, is like a humid summer day in Ohio. The PCS is when you step outside into a wall of humidity and the rest of life is like an air conditioner. Except that this air conditioner could break at any time. Like when a restaurant is really crowded and people are having conversations three feet away. Or when a TV competes with human voices. Or when more than five hours have been spent in front a computer screen. Or more than four hours spent writing. In other words, never get a concussion.

The moral of this story is: if you get a concussion, do your utmost to ensure that there is a psychologist who is a friend of the family who can explain a concussion to you, and proven remedies or therapies for it, in one hour. [SAD lamp, fish oil, mild physical activity] And have that be a much more useful hour than the 45 minutes spent waiting during your final follow-up with the doctor of record, 45 minutes that completely convinced you that extremely expensive private insurance is no more efficient than the health care government insurance pays for. The bonus is that government-funded single payer healthcare makes no one bankrupt.

Ten Things I Never Knew about Ohio

I am woefully behind on my taco tour blogging. I have gone to at least three, if not four, new places for tacos, taken pictures, and not blogged about them. But today, I will deviate from my standard, and tell all of you some things I never expected about Ohio. I think that culture shock here has been unexpected, because in many ways, I expected it to be similar to home. It is the small things that making living here so nice, and so, so, so strange. Today, I share the strange. When I first moved here I wrote at least one list of good things about living here that still stand. There are more that I will add in the future.

1. Ice in drinks even in the dead of winter. Even in the Polar Vortex.

2. It is so humid because the land is basically a swamp. Seriously, this morning I went for a walk/jog and was dripping by the time I ran into a friend.

3. I would run into people everywhere I go, and when I do, it is acceptable to stop in the middle of the road, when I am walking and they are driving, to chat. This is less applicable to the entire state, and more applicable to the small town.

4. It is fairly racially homogeneous, especially in rural areas, particularly when compared to the rest of the US. This gives me ample opportunity to think about social class. The state that has the 8th largest GDP in the nation but is 33rd in GDP per capita. (http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/fiscal/ohiofacts/sept2012/economy.pdf)

5. In the 19th century, Ohio had a war with Michigan. Over the city of Toledo.

6. Football is a thing. A religion, even.

7. The military is everywhere. I knew how I could sign up for armed service before I knew where I could get an Ohio driver’s license of register my car. This relates to the economic difficulties cited in # 4.

8. That POW flags exist, and are on display on the main streets of many small towns.

9. There is a pledge of allegiance to the cross. I have never heard it, just heard about it from my students. Thankfully never said in my place of work.

10. Mexican food is everywhere, but when geared towards Midwestern tastes, it is not as good as Mexican food geared towards my tastes. It’s also not chilango (Mexico City-an) food, so really, what’s the point?