Costa Rica

Jaco, Costa Rica – Week 2

batidoI spent the rest of my time in Costa Rica at Jaco Beach.  My coworkers headed back to freezing Pennsylvania and more snow.  I think I made the right decision.  I spent most of my time napping by the pool in the hot sun.  It is considerably hotter at the beach than in the mountains.  I ended up drinking more than eating during my four days at the beach.

I stopped by a grocery store the first day and picked up snackies for breakfast and some beer.  I found a hunk of blue cheese (cheap!), some charcuterie and some crackers.  This was my breakfast for the next few days.  After a week of eggs, rice and beans, I needed a change.  It’s really hot in the morning and a light breakfast was all I needed.  I also picked up a 12 pack of Pilsen.  It’s not the most popular beer, but it was the strongest.  I couldn’t tell much of a difference between it and everyone else’s favorite, Imperial.  They both taste like American swill (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and I went for the higher ABV.

I didn’t eat a regular lunch or dinner.  Once the sun was low enough, I’d head out to eat.  Usually between 4 and 6.  I went back to the Taco Bar.   It was too good to not have a second helping.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have any squid and I ended up getting a shrimp and a mahi taco   It was still outstanding.  I also hit up a seafood place, Langostas, and had gigantic plate of seafood,  A ‘small’ lobster over mixed garlic seafood (fish, squid, shrimp, clams, crab) with two sides ran me $22.  I don’t know why I didn’t do that meal twice.  It, too, was delicious.  I think I skipped dinner one night and ate chips/junk instead.  The last dinner I had was at an Argentinian place.  I couldn’t resist getting a giant platter of grilled meat.  They had ‘parillada para dos’ on the menu, but I talked them into making me ‘por uno‘.    The chinchulines and morcilla were fantastic.  It came with a nice little dish of chimichurri that went well with the pork/beef/chicken skewers.  I should have told them to hold the chicken as I couldn’t finish everything.  If you get the chance, I highly recommend getting the mixed grill at an Argentinian steak house.  It’s a lot of different meat and I have never been able to finish it.

Another thing you have to try in Costa Rica are the batidos.  There simple fruit smoothies, but so much better because the fruit is fresh.  Pineapples harvested ripe taste so much better than the ones they ship to us.  My favorite flavors were pina, guanabana and cas. (pineapple, soursop and ???)  You can get them with milk or without.  Due to my lactose intolerance, I chose the latter.  I even got one in the airport to go with my wings and casado,  and   I normally don’t get wings outside the US, but someone else had a plate and they looked awesome.  When my plate arrived, the wings were hot and crispy.  Served dry with a spicy vinegar to dip them in.  I was impressed with how good they were.  I chose the casado so that my last meal in Costa Rica would be rice and beans.  Not the wisest choice to do right before a 4 and 1.5 hour flight, but I did it anyway.  It was good.  Not the best I had during my trip, but by no means a bad meal.

Overall, I was really surprised with the food in Costa Rica.  It is both diverse and delicious.  If you get the chance, order a batido and try something you’ve never had before.  You won’t be disappointed.

Quesada, Costa Rica – Week 1

arroz con pollo

Homemade chicken and rice with beans and salad

I spent my first week in Costa Rica not blogging anything which is no different than week 2. Weak, I know.

I was working the first week and spent almost all of the time in Quesada. Costa Rican food is delicious. They do fantastic things with rice and beans and eat them with every meal. For someone who dislikes rice (me), it gets a little boring. For breakfast, they make a rice and bean dish called Gallo Pinto. Rice, beans, peppers, and onion start the day off great. I ate big scoop every morning for the first 5 days and then called it quits. I couldn’t do it anymore. Here’s a pic of a typical breakfast: http://t.co/rgUXoFR3YA My sixth morning, I picked up pastries from a bakery and ate that for breakfast instead. I have to admit, I stopped at the bakery even when I did eat breakfast. The walk to the office from the hotel had at least THREE bakeries over the 15 minute duration.

For lunch, I just tagged along to wherever the guys in the office were going. I went to a steak house twice. I ordered a 1/2 kilo steak the first time and lengua the second time. The steak was gigantic,  http://t.co/L6VJkx62r4 , however their idea of azul is not my idea of azul. It came out closer to medium. I ate almost all of it, but couldn’t finish the well done pieces. The lengua, http://t.co/uxt9ejlhYP , was fantastic. It came smothered in gravy which I gratefully used to eat the accompanying white rice. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender and very rich. Both times, the entree was preceded by a thick corn tortilla with toppings. I spread some frijole s molida on top and added everything else available: peppers, carrots, some sort of giardiniera, and avocado. I ate the first one with a knife and fork. The second time, I just folded it in half like a taco. Both ways were very tasty: http://t.co/Gy9Gl8TB1H At other places I ordered tamales. The Costa Rican masa is different than the Mexican stuff I’ve had before. It is smoother and slightly denser. The pork and (of course) rice filling was complemented well by Lizano sauce. It’s a tangy brown sauce that reminds me of HP, A1 and Worcestershire. I bought a big bottle to take home. It’s in this pic with a tamal: http://t.co/U75D0rmM9C

Dinners were surprising and good! I think they eat smaller dinners in Costa Rica. The restaurants all offer bocas. They are smaller cheaper portions of entrees or just smaller plates of food. In any case, it worked out great for me. I was able to share plates and try more food. Large than Spanish tapas, bocas can give you several bites to eat when sharing. Chicharron was my favorite, http://t.co/hztMtS7TEU Nice hunks of fatty pork that are fried crispy. Served with fried yucca, too! I think I had it at least three times. They have a lot of different food in Costa Rica. I even had sushi one night: http://t.co/M10RR4kata Nothing to write home about, but still serviceable.

A great week of food!

Taco Bar – Jaco Beach, Costa Rica

I’m in Costa Rica for work. Leaving Delaware with all its snow couldn’t be a better time. When the car came to pick me up, it was 25 degrees. Considerably warmer and sunnier here.

My first meal of the trip was at The Taco Bar. It’s an interesting place. You order your food at a window and they bring it to your table. You have the option of sitting at a table, on ar barstool at the bar or on a swing at the bar. Once you get your food, there is a big spread of toppings, sauces and sides to add to your plate. I went with ceviche mixto, and two tacos: fried calamari and grilled mahi. The ceviche, fish and shrimp, was really good. Reminded me of the ceviche I had in Lima, Peru. All it needed was the spic aji and some roasted corn nuts. The tacos didn’t disappoint, either. The mahi was grilled nicely and wasn’t dry. I topped it with Chinese slaw (why does it have to be Chinese?) and a spicy red sauce. The calamari taco was huge and I ate a few rings before attempting to fold it up. I really can’t remember what I topped it with. I might have to hit this place up again later in the trip. It was really good.

I forgot to take a picture. I’ll have to remember to do a better job with that on the trip.

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