Monthly Archives: September 2017

Moo…Moo…Slaughter…Grill…Eat Updated

It may be wise to see the Original Post before you continue to reading this blog, as I will be making references to items in the original post. 

Now for the bad news. Uncle Earls is no more! It closed down many years ago. Where there is bad news sometimes there is good news as well. I have found a new place recently and it has some very tasty meats! I will go into more detail later in this blog post.

4384cThis chart may help you as you shop for meat in Costa Rica. You still have to keep in mind that they still only raise Brahma cows here for the most part. Brahma cows are used here because of their ability to adapt to the warmer and more humid climates.

In the United States they are mainly used for breading and not eating. They are very lean animals and have very little fat in comparison to other cows. It has been used to develop numerous other U.S. beef breeds including Brangus, Beefmaster, Simbrah and Santa Gertrudis.

lomito-al-trapoWhile it isn’t the best beef for eating, you can with proper prep make it a fairly good choice. The best cut of course is the lomito. You will need to ask the butcher to cut the piece for you. The lomito is usually a very thin and long piece of meat, as seen in the image above. They still do not butcher like they do in other countries like the U.S. Make friends with your local butcher and ask him to cut your lomito 2 fingers thick and you will have a steak you can cook medium rare to rare with no problem. You can get a piece that looks like this.

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Again with all this said as you can see the lomito from a Brahma cow is not as nice as one from an Angus cow, but it can be a very good piece. 

So the big question is where can you get good beef?????? That answer is simple and complex at the same time. Like many things in Costa Rica there is no one good answer to this question. This week you could find it in your local grocery, next week you may not. You may have to drive an hour or two to get good beef. You could have a special restaurant who is willing to sell you the good beef they sell if you want some at home as well. I have done this. I had a party once and asked our local restaurant if they could get me their steaks for a party. They did. Sure I paid more for them, but they were tender, they were juicy and I cooked them the way I wanted them. Well worth it. Here is the one and only way you can keep getting good meet. When you find a place to get it tell your friends and family. Spread the word like wild fire. Keep that place in business! It can disappear as quickly as you found it!

Here are my top 3 groceries where you can find good meat.

  1. Walmart (Yes I said walmart) no I will not get into a debate over whatever issues you have with the company. Walmart Costa Rica is not Walmart U.S.A. get over it. They have good products for a good price. You can even find USDA steaks and other products if that is what you are looking for.
  2. Auto mercado is a chain that has a lot of specialties from around the world. You can find items from Asia, Europe, and U.S.A. You will pay a hefty price for these items.
  3. Pricesmart is hit and miss. Which is why it is 3rd on my list. They sometimes have good meat and sometimes they don’t. Where as the other two above are more consistent in the quality.

Restaurants are a different story. I have found a few in my 4+ years here, who have good steaks and do them well. Some have since gone away, but some have endured. You will pay more for eating those steak out rather than in, so if you are on a budget going to a restaurant to get good steak may not be in the cards for you. Here are my top restaurants where I have found good steaks. There may be others and if you know of some please post their information in the comments section. I would love to know where else to go!

  1. la trocha steakHere in our little town of Atenas the only place I will eat steak is La Trocha.  It is a family owned and operated restaurant. Not many know about it, but it is nice and the people are friendly and it is very tico. He has many items on his menu that are delicious. We do mainly go there for steak since it is the only place we feel in all of Atenas that has steak worth eating. Now it is a very tico place. Only the daughter if she is there speaks English so be prepared for that. It is a nice place to go no doubt. If you have not tried it you really should. I love the filet minion medium rare with the La Trocha sauce made spicy! Frank makes it hot, hot, hot for me! I love it!
  2. 8ctavo steak8octavo roof top in Escazu has a really nice steak. This steak is going to cost you. Make sure you go with money in your pocket or a good balance on your credit card. You are getting a good steak, but for the value go with our #1 choice above. This is a great anniversary/special event type place. Not your once a week when you want a steak place.
  3. adacus steak.jpgAdacus Restaurant in Crocks casino is another good place. Now the steak on the menu is a platter they call it Waygu. I personally do not think it is. It could be low end waygu. None the less it was a delicious and tender $24 steak meal. I would get it again no doubt. I did not care of the sauces, but the veggies in the banana leaf were very tasty as well. Honestly almost any restaurant that serves steak in Jaco is worth eating. There are a number of restaurants that have delicious steaks. There is Graffiti , and Lemon Zest . Give any of them a try and you won’t be disappointed.

jaco meatThere is one place in Jaco I just found, that I mentioned above if you want to get good steaks, reasonable price for the house. There is a butcher shop called Jaco Fine Meats. It is a butcher shop that has some amazing meats, not just steak. If you are in the area take a cooler, get some ice and bring back some meat for your freezer. I just picked up 26 prime rib steaks for 12,950 colones per kilo. Which is about $10 per lb. You will not be disappointed if you go there!

This now ends my tale of meat in Costa Rica. I am once again a happy meat eater. It takes time, but you can find what you want in Costa rica. Sometimes you have to pay a little more, but sometimes you don’t. It all depends on how badly do you want what it is you want. This sometimes is the price you pay for living in paradise.

Pura Vida! 

 

 

 

 

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Best laid plans….

Today we planned a day out and about. Which in most places isn’t a problem. You go where you need to go and get what you need to get and you are done. Well not always in Costa Rica. Sometimes the smallest misstep could take you way out of the way.

We leave at 12:15 pm and head to our favorite pharmacy Farmacias San Gabriel and had I been thinking this would have been our 2nd stop not our 1st stop. It is on the way out of town so I drove there and than drove back into town to have lunch.

We had lunch at one of our favorite places, Kay’s Postres, Café & Restaurante Today’s special was a chicken parm with noodles. I have a picture that I can no longer access due to the reason for our trip out today. So no spoilers yet. Lunch was uneventful and very delicious. I also got some fresh off the farm pulled out the chickens butts today eggs from Mercedes. Which is awesome!

Back out of town we go and head to route 27 and as we drove by for a 2nd time we waved at the pharmacy for the 2nd time today. The travel was pretty uneventful until we miss our exit! Oh no! You say! Oh no is right! Unlike in the United states a missed exit is just a short turn around and back on track. Here in Costa Rica if you miss your exit this could take you miles and miles out of your way.  This misstep cost me an additional 10 km (about 6 miles) of driving. It was in areas we were unfamiliar with, but with the help of Waze we were able to finally reach our destination.

If you don not have waze and travel in Costa Rica, you really should download it for your phone. It has been a while since we used it and it seems it has been taken over by Google. Now there are advertisements every time you stop. It use to work without wifi and now it seems it needs it. No worries. We have a wifi hotspot from movistar. We try to never leave home without it.

11986939_1130962246917265_8460758375278022140_nWe finally reach City Mall , Yes I know it is easy to get to. Miss that exit and not so much. My wife Denise says she know right were we need to go.

Backstory: I have been in need of  a phone for like 2 years. I resist getting one anytime I need it. It has finally gotten to the point that it will no longer charge and dies quickly. 2 years ago our pool guy dropped his phone in the pool. OH NO! Nope it was ok! The construction rental equipment company sells a C.A.T. phone. It is virtually indestructible.  I want one. Many trips to the C.A.T. place in Sata Ana and no phone. They told me 3x come back next week and we will have them. So no luck and I took it as a sign and that a new phone was not needed. Fast forward a year and there is a Kiosks for C.A.T. in City Mall. A friend and my wife went there without me and saw it. Me being me just never got there.

Well until today and guess what! The kiosk is no longer there! Nope gone! Look there is a movistar place! So I bite the bullet and head in to look at phones. My current phone that has died is a Huawie and has an andriod operating system. This will be important later.

I go in look at phones and just can’t decide. Wife says, “Just get an Iphone!” Well I know the X is coming out and no way do I want it. Hopefully the older phone will be cheaper. Nope not in Costa Rica they are not. Actually more expensive. So 560,000 (about $970.00) colones later I have an Iphone 7 plus.

I ask can you transfer over my contacts. They hate to say NO so he says, “Yes”. When the time comes he tells me they could not do it. Oh joy all my contacts will have to be put in again. Oh well such is life.

Now he takes out my old sim card and sets up the new one because of course the Iphone 7 plus sim is a micro and I have a mini. So he fiddles with the phone. We wait and wait and he gives it to me to setup. Great! Wait! No Service. “Oh give it a few minutes”. Ok, one hour later it finally has service.

Yikes we have to get home. We ordered dinner to pick up at 5 pm. I stop at another Kiosk because I just paid over $900 for a phone that I know I will destroy. I pick up a case that is waterproof, shock proof, snow proof (Gods help me if I need this feature!)  and dust proof (good feature for dry season!). Now we had home.

My GPS can get us there! Oh no wait it is now 5pm! Traffic!!!!!!!!! We made good time and go to the pickup at 5:30. Which was very good time! I am a fast driver when the road is clear to make up time.

Now I am setting up my new phone! Cross your fingers!

Pura Vida! 

 

 

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Costa Rica a Snapshot Past to Present

I have now lived in Costa Rica for 4 years going on 5 as of Feb. 2018. There are many facts I have found very interesting and not many people know.

Costa Rica is actually the Republic of Costa Rica.

Capital City: San Jose

Population: 4.8 million

Area: 51,100 sq km or for you non metric people 19,730 sq miles.

Languages: Spanish (official) and English

Religion: Christianity

Life expectancy: Men 77 years and Women 82 years. Which I find interesting in general.

Fact 1: Did you know a majority of the public (who do not live here) think Costa Rica is an Island. As you can see below it is in fact not an island, as it is land locked in both it’s norther and southern region.

costa rica map

Fact 2: Costa Rica is a country in America! Many American’s from the United States come here and when asked where they are from say, “Oh I am an American from America” Really? So are the people who were born in Costa Rica! My sister came to visit me one year and we went to the Harley dealership. When asked if she had her Harley discount card with her she said, “Oh no I left it back in America”. Now the owner who was waiting on her said, “Good should be easy to get since you are in America!” My sister being who she is just looked at him and I had to explain it to her. So, remember when you are in Costa Rica you are still in America. Which is why Making America Great is a bad catch phase for a U.S. President. He has no control over the other countries that are a part of the Americas.

Fact 3: Costa Rica is the ONLY Central AMERICAN state that does not have an army. It was abolished in 1948.

Fact 4: There are only 114,000 indigenous people who live in Costa Rica. That is 2.4% of it’s total population. This fact shocked me. I did not realize that the people I have meet and called Tico are not really indigenous people. The history of the indigenous people here mirrors that of the Native American’s of the United States.

In 1977 an Indigenous Law was passed that created reserves where the indigenous people now live. They are still fighting for some of their rights in their own country.

There are 24 indigenous territories in Costa Rica. There are only 8 recognized indigenous ethnicity: Chorotegas, Bribri, Guatusos, Terraba, Huetares, Boruca, Cabecar and Ngobe.

Most tourist never meet or even know they exist. If you plan a trip to Costa Rica why not look some of these people up and visit!

GETTY IMAGES

Fact 5: Current President as of 2014 is Luis Guillermo Solis. He is a candidate of the moderate citizen Action Party (PAC). He won with a 78% vote. What is important about this is that his win ended their traditional two party system. The government in the past was either run by the National Liberation Party (PLN) or the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC). President Solis is not married but he is now engages to his life long girlfriend, and who is the mother of his children. In some respects Costa Rica is far ahead of the U.S.

Fact 6: More than 88% of the population have unrestricted access to the internet. Now the speed and the reliability of said internet varies from area to area.

 

I will end this blog with some Key dates in Costa Rica’s history: (source)

1502 – Christopher Columbus visits the area, naming it Costa Rica, (Rich Coast), but disease and resistance by the local population delay the establishment of a permanent settlement for nearly 60 years.

1540 onwards – Costa Rica is part of the vice-royalty of New Spain.

1561 – Spain’s Juan de Cavallon leads the first successful colonisers into Costa Rica.

1808 – Coffee is introduced into Costa Rica from Cuba and becomes the principal crop.

1821 – Central America gains independence from Spain. A dispute ensues over whether Costa Rica should join an independent Mexico or a confederation of Central American states.

1823 – Costa Rica joins the United Provinces of Central America, which also embraces El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

1824-25 – Province of Guanacaste secedes from Nicaragua and becomes part of Costa Rica.

Independence

1838 – Costa Rica becomes fully independent.

1849-59 – Under the leadership of Juan Rafael Mora, Costa Rica takes the lead in organising Central American resistance against William Walker, the US adventurer who took over Nicaragua in 1855.

1859 – Mora ousted in a bloodless coup.

1870-82 – Under the leadership of Tomas Guardia Costa Rica encourages intensive foreign investment in railways.

1874 – US businessman Minor Cooper Keith introduces banana cultivation and starts the United Fruit Company.

1917 – Frederico Tinoco ousts the elected president, Alfredo Gonzalez, but is himself deposed two years later.

Socialism and civil war

1940-44 – President Rafael Angel Calderon Guradia, founder of the United Christian Socialist Party (PUSC), introduces liberal reforms, including recognition of workers’ rights and minimum wages.

1948 – Six-week civil war over a disputed presidential election result.

1949 – New constitution gives women and people of African descent the right to vote; armed forces abolished and replaced by civil guard; Jose Figueres Ferrer, co-founder of National Liberation Party (PLN), elected president and begins ambitious socialist programme, including introducing a social security system and nationalising banks.

1958-73 – Costa Rica governed by mainly conservative administrations.

1963-64 – Irazu volcano erupts, causing serious damage to agriculture.

1968 – Arenal volcano erupts, causing many casualties.

1974 – Daniel Oduber (PLN) elected president and pursues socialist policies.

Conservatism and economic deterioration

1978 – Rodrigo Carazo, a conservative, elected president amid a sharp deterioration in the economy.

1982 – Luis Alberto Monge (PLN) elected president and introduces harsh austerity programme. Meanwhile, Costa Rica comes under pressure from the US to weigh in against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

1985 – US-trained anti-guerrilla force begins operating following clashes with Sandinista troops.

1986 – Oscar Arias Sanchez (PLN) elected president on a neutral platform.

1987 – Leaders of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras sign peace plan devised by Oscar Arias Sanchez, who in turn wins the Nobel Peace Prize for the plan.

1990 – Rafael Calderon, of the centrist PUSC, elected president.

1994 – Jose Maria Figueres Olsen (PLN) elected president.

1998 – Miguel Angel Rodriguez (PUSC) elected president.

2000 – President Rodriguez and his Nicaraguan counterpart resolve long-standing dispute over navigation along San Juan river, which serves as their border.

2002 April – Abel Pacheco of the ruling Social Christian Unity Party wins a comfortable 58% of the vote in the second round of presidential elections.

2003 May – Energy and telecommunications workers strike over President Pacheco’s privatisation plans; teachers strike over problems in paying their salaries. Strikes prompt three ministers to resign.

2004 July – Three Chilean diplomats are killed by a security guard at their embassy in San Jose.

Corruption

2004 October – Mounting concern over corruption as three former presidents – Jose Maria Figueres, Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Rafael Angel Calderon – are investigated over contractor payments.

2005 January – National emergency declared as days of heavy rain lead to serious flooding along the Caribbean coast.

2006 February-March – Presidential election ends in a neck-and-neck race between Oscar Arias and Otton Solis. Mr Solis concedes defeat after a manual count and legal challenges.

2006 October – Two-day public workers strike is held in protest at proposed free trade deal with the US.

2007 May – Government says Costa Rica on course to become first voluntarily “carbon neutral” country.

2007 June – Costa Rica switches diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China in a bid to attract Chinese investment.

2007 October – National referendum narrowly decides in favour of ratifying the Central American Free Trade Agreement (Cafta).

2008 November – Chinese President Hu Jintao makes highest-level visit by a Chinese official since Costa Rica ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 2007.

2009 March – President Arias says Costa Rica to re-establish ties with Cuba, 48 years after they broken off in 1961.

2009 October – Former president Rafael Angel Calderon is sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of corruption.

First woman president

2010 February – Costa Rica elects first woman president, Laura Chinchilla, who takes office in May.

2011 March – UN International Court of Justice orders Nicaragua and Costa Rica to keep troops back from a disputed river border.

2012 September – A powerful earthquake kills two people in the Nicoya peninsula west of San Jose, coinciding with the eruption of the San Cristobal volcano in neighbouring Nicaragua.

2013 May – Costa Rica-based Liberty Reserve, considered to be the world’s biggest online currency exchange, is shut down after its founder is arrested on suspicion of money-laundering.

2014 April – Luis Guillermo Solis wins presidential election.

2014 August – The government says it will investigate undercover US programmes to destabilise Cuba allegedly operated from Costa RIca and using its citizens.

2015 March – The last of nearly 8,000 Cuban migrants stranded for nearly four months in Costa Rica, after Nicaragua refused them passage through its territory to reach the United States, leave for El Salvador as part of a pilot programme agreed by Central American countries to allow them safe passage to the US.

2015 December – Costa Rica wins a long-standing territorial row with Nicaragua after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules it has sovereignty over a small patch of wetlands known as Isla Portillo on the San Juan river.

Pura Vida! 

 

 

 

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An American millionaire died after plummeting 30 and a half meters

http-prod.static9.net.au_media201709201151200917johnandersonAn American millionaire celebrating his 65th milestone in Costa Rica has died after plummeting 30 and a half meters while propelling down the side of a treetop restaurant.

The upstate New York millionaire, John Anderson, was having dinner at the Pacurare Lodge in the “Nest” where guests are able to rappel down to the ground after dinner.

The man’s business partner, James Ryan Jr told the New York Post he was not on a rappelling adventure when he died.

Costa Rica authorities are investigating the incident and funeral arrangements for Mr Anderson are pending.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2017

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Costa Rica Independence Day Sept. 15th

September 15th 1821 Costa Rica declared it’s independence from Spain. The 1st constitution was signed shortly after and they held their 1st elections in December 1821. The day is filled with laughter, joy and celebration. There are many parades all around Costa Rica.

This tradition of the torch run is based on the factual accounts of one Dolores Bedoya, a Guatemalan woman who took a torch in hand to celebrate the announcement of freedom from Spanish rule.  This was actually communicated on September 14th, 1821, which is why most festivities begin on the 14th. She is also attributed to the National Anthem of Costa Rica being chanted at 6:00 pm on September 14th.

Check out this link for some beautiful pictures:  Tico Times article

Here is a short video:

Pura Vida! 

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Has it been over 2 years since my last blog?

Yikes!

I guess it really has been that long! A lot has happened in two years. People have come and gone in our lives. Many have left Costa Rica for good. New people have come to Costa Rica. They say if you can make it past the 6th month in Costa Rica you can stay the rest of your life here, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case. The old country (for us the U.S.) seems to draw people back for one reason or another. Friends who have been here for 7 or more years have gone back to the U.S. for one reason or another. Many where very happy here but their spouses were not. Sometimes they just missed their family too much. Others for health reasons, but this one I don’t understand as the healthcare here is wonderful! Maybe my next blog will be on the healthcare systems here. Whatever the reason they have left many others have come. Seems to be a net effect of people leaving and moving here.

So a little history: A long story short! Kay and Tom opened up Kay’s many years ago. 3 years ago they sold the restaurant to Harold and Lisa. They too have now left Costa Rica about 5 months ago. So they owned it for about 3 years or so. Now it is owned by Ania and Tomek. They moved here from Canada but they are both originally from Poland. Their families both migrated to Canada when they were 11 years old. Great people! They are doing the one and only original Kay proud no doubt.

Kay and Tom were  very missed by the community and we decided to see if we could get them to come back for a visit. We had been trying for years and schedules just didn’t seem to work out, but finally in May 2017 we did it! With the help of our Auntie Laurel (well we call her that and she is sister to Kay not by blood) we were able to bring Kay back for a visit. Tom had other commitments and was unable to join her.

Here are some pictures of Kay’s return:

Here are just a couple of videos:

Mercede’s and Katia see Kay for the 1st time. They had no clue she was coming for a visit. I had to lie to them whenever they asked me about Kay and if I thought she would come for a visit. I think they forgive me. 🙂

We had a party that day where a select group got to see her 1st as well. `

This was about 9 days of food, hugs, tears, and just plain fun! Kay stayed with us at our house for the most part and we were at Kay’s restaurant every day for lunch so people could meet up and get to see her. It was a great time no doubt.

As this blog started so it shall end. Kay returned to the U.S. and life went back to normal. More tears for her departure back, but it was fun! We will always remember the good times!

So to now this blog must end. I hope you enjoyed it. I will try to keep up with it once again. Have a great day and

Pura Vida! 

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