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Eating Weird Birds in Mexico

During my time in Baja California I consumed a lot of truly incredible food. Before visiting, I had no idea that this region of Mexico was so well renowned for its cuisine. It only seemed fitting that during my trip I try not one, but two new birds – Ostrich and Quail. The chefs at Hacienda Guadalupe made this experience quite enjoyable.

I love adventure! Sometimes, I mean, when I’m in the mood for it, and, you know, when it’s not too overwhelming…

I am simultaneously an adventurous eater and a very picky one. When I am traveling, I am fairly open to tasting new things. However, when it comes to meat, I tend to get freaked out by bones. Seriously, I don’t even like chicken wings because ripping meat off the bone just makes me a bit queasy. Even though I know it once had bones and was once an animal, I really, really don’t like to be too forcefully reminded of its former life while I am eating it. I know it’s ridiculous and totally a first world problem, but it’s the truth. So imagine my reaction when this arrived at the table:

quail

Artfully prepared quail

Teeny tiny birds, all in a row

Check out the cordoniz (quail) family! The good news is, Hacienda Guadalupe de-bones the birds except for the legs, so most of the meat was bone-free. Although seeing their very bird-like bodies on my plate was a little upsetting, I sucked it up and dug it anyway. The verdict?

Definitely worth the moral dilemma

The meat was greasier than the poultry I am used to, but I still thought it was quite tasty. Plus, whatever spices or marinade the chefs used made the quail incredibly flavorful. I can’t say I would be rushing to order quail again (as it was a bit too gamey for me) but I am very glad that my first experience with it was such a tasty one.

Onto the next surprise:

Apparently, Ostrich is a red meat

When I was offered avestruz (Ostrich) I assumed that it would be poultry like. You know, something along the lines of “tastes like a giant, super fast chicken.” Maybe like a free-range chicken but way tastier because ostriches work out more. Clearly, I know very little about how meat works. As it turns out, ostrich is actually a red meat.

ostrich meat

Ostrich meat appetizer

In lieu of a ostrich entree, we had ostrich bites as an appetizer. The owner of Hacienda Guadalupe explained that because the meat is tougher than cow meat, it is better eaten in small bites and lighter portions. I can’t say ostrich tasted incredibly unique, but it definitely didn’t taste just like steak. I enjoyed it as a appetizer, but I agreed with the chef’s choice to keep the portions small.

Weird is good

I’d call both of the weird birds a win. I don’t think I’ll be going out of my way to find these birds in the local supermarket, but if I have the chance to order them at a restaurant again, I just might. What about you? Have you or would you eat quail or ostrich?

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