Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Culinary Tour of Costa Rica....a condensed version

Zeno and his prized lasagna

volcano rice

Typical Tican Meal

Zeno's lasagna

While I am back from the jungle, rain forest and beaches of Costa Rica, I am finding it difficult to settle back into the kitchen and blog about it. So, I will attempt to describe a culinary tour of Costa Rica. If you go there do not expect it to be one of the culinary wonders of the world. There seems to be a bounty of shrimp, mahi mahi, snapper and corvina or sea bass. I definitely had my fill of cerviche. Next on the menu would be beans, beans, rice & beans, rice and chicken, etc. A traditional breakfast included gallo pinto which is pretty much rice and beans, a little spice and an egg on top. I do like my oatmeal! You may have an appetizer of fried yuca, I believe a kind of root from Africa, or plantains. The coffee is very good. Some of the best coffee beans come from the highlands just outside of San Jose, its largest city.

Costa Rica is known for its pristine beaches, jungles, activities such as whitewater rafting, rappelling, zip line tours, hiking, surfing, waterfalls, thermal hot springs, howler monkeys, many snakes, hummingbirds, butterflies, volcanoes, beautiful flowers, orchids and even its peaceful friendly people. The food is not why you travel to this "garden of Eden". If you want varied and exquisite meals, go to Italy or France.

We did have a pleasant surprise awaiting us in Tamarindo. Our last night near the beach we stumbled upon an Italian Trattoria called El Lugarcito owned by an animated gentleman named Zeno. He showed us his lasagna and we were sold, at least I was. As much as we tried we were unable to get the recipe. (He probably doesn't have one.) So the game begins. I will make it my new challenge to duplicate this one. He was also very generous with his wine, orange flan and homemade Limoncello. Simply the best meal we had in Costa Rica and, of course, it was Italian. Go figure!

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