We’re never going anywhere else for lunch in Cusco. Don Pimientos (what Mads and I have dubbed Dr. Pepper’s) offers a fixed four-course lunch menu for a whopping total of 8 soles, or just under $3. This includes juice and a dessert. I wasn’t even particularly hungry when the waitress plopped a quinoa and squash soup in front of us, followed by trout ceviche. But really, how can you say no to that? Choosing from the list of four entree options was a bit more difficult, mostly because Mads and I didn’t recognize any of them, and the waitress had very little patience for uninformed gringitas, so we agreed to the first recognizable word — frijoles. Moments later our dishes of rice, beans, and a huge slab of meat with the bone — marrow and all — arrived.

I didn’t have much room left after our first two courses, and after Mads gingerly dumped her greasy portion of meat on my plate, I knew there was no way I could finish everything in front of me. But, not wanting to discard the mystery meat completely, we wrapped it up in a plastic bag and decided to bring home a Dr. Pepper’s treat for our four perritos.

The only problem was, now I smelled like meat and I was driving every dog in Cusco crazy. I was harassed outside the market after procuring a second plastic bag, which did not seem to deter a giant pitbull-looking mutt at all, as he followed me up and down the sidewalk. In the Place de Armas I attracted a Husky who, luckily, was somewhat shy, and I was able to shoo her away. I finally put the smelly bag of meat in my backpack, which seemed to mask the smell enough. When we made it back to Almeria, los perriots were extremely grateful and inhaled the Dr. Pepper’s special.

September 8, 2013