Hunt is on! – Bufalo Grill y Market

Bufalo Grill y Market » Mylifebook – No Ads Social Media// //

Hit my 1st stop on the search for a great burger. Looks like this recommendation as a good one. Here are the directions and address. It is in Santa Ana.

We were there at lunch time. Wasn’t sure they were open. It was about 12:15ish. The door was partially closed and the waitress was back behind the counter doing things. So we looked around and I had a peek at the menu that was on the table outside the door. Looked good some of the prices were a bit high, but need to see and taste the food before I make final judgment on the prices. Finally she noticed us and came over. I asked if she was open and she said yes, so we went in. They had A/C running which is why the door was almost closed. A/C was a nice touch! Not a lot of places have or use it here. During out time there only two gentleman came in to have a business lunch. So they were not that busy.

Want to see the full review? Go to MyLifeBook and get a free account. This is in their blog section! They have everything you could ever want in a social media site. Check them out.
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I am on the hunt!

I’m on the hunt, but not for what you think I am hunting for. Is it big game? No Is it a wife? No I’m married. Is it a crock with a ticking clock in it’s belly? Oh hell no. So what is it you ask?

I am on the hunt for the best burger in Costa Rica Central Valley area. Let me start off by saying if you have a burger you really like send me a message on MyLifeBook and I will try to put it on my list of burgers to try. It has got to be a really good burger. Here is what I will be looking at.


  1. Seasoning – How well is the burger seasoned? None its just meat on a bun or Spicy, Mild, Asian, whatever I’m not afraid of no burger! 3x seashells
  2. The Bun – Is it slapped between two pieces of bread? Or is there a nice big home made bun. 2x seashells
  3. The Extras – What else comes on that burger? Mushrooms, Cheese, Ham, Egg, Onions, etc. 1x seashells
  4. Presentation – The nose smells it, the eyes see it, and there stomach loves it or hates it before it tastes it. 2x seashells
  5. The cook – Do they burn it beyond recognition or is it perfectly cooked to a medium or the way I like medium rare. 2x seashells.
  6. Side dishes – What comes along side it? Do you get some skimpy nasty fries or a good nicely cut nicely seasons steak fries. Maybe a good salad will do as well. 1x seashells
  7. Price – The price has to match the quantity and quality of the burger. If it is a little tiny nothing and just a burger for $8 or more forget about it! $8 you better be giving me a nice 1/4lb of meat and some fries! If it is more than $8 you better be giving me more than 1/4lb of meat! Precooked weight of course. 2x seashells.
  8. Facilities – I always add points for the look of the place and the bathrooms! You got to have a clean bathroom! 1x seashells.

Everything is judged on a scale of 1 to 5 seashells. Certain categories will hold more weight in my average. See above. So the average will be based on 14 not 8. As you see #1 above counts 3x in the average score. If I score a burger on #1 with 4 seashells it will actually get 12 for that category. I will average at the end all the seashells in the 8 categories and that will determine how many seashells it will get over all. If any of the burgers end in a tie they will be put up in our contest section of MyLifeBook for public voting. The one with the most public votes will win the prize.

That is how I am going to judge all burgers. Let me know if you know a joint that has a burger you want me to try. It must be a 1 hour drive from Atenas Area. You must comment on this blog here on MyLifeBook to have it added to the list. The best place is going to get a sticker to place on their Facebook or website and a plaque to display in their restaurant.

It can be a little tiny soda or a big US Chain. I don’t care. If the burger is great and the price is right, it will go on my list. So get those entries in so I can start eating!!!! I’m hungry!!!!

Pura Vida!

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Sorry to say, but happy to say at the same time

My new project My Life Book has taken over my life. In a week we have already gained almost 5K members! That is great. So much of my time is now spent there I can no longer keep this up over here as well.

So Best of Costa Rica now has a presence on MLB. All blogs and other items will be posted there. This site will stay here for achive purposes, but anything new will be posted on Best of Costa Rica’s coffee house page. Please follow me over on MLB.  You will get everything you get here, but there. If you sign up before Monday you get a free lifetime membership. After Monday there is a yearly subscription fee depending on what you wish to do.

Here are two video’s for MLB. Hope you enjoy them and will join us over there. Look us up.

Hopefully I will see you there!

Pura Vida!

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These pancakes will surprise you.  If you like a denser texture, then these lovely pancakes will delight you.  The secret ingredient is gelatin.  I use the NOW brand from  When refrigerated, these remind me of the drop scones from my youth.  I don’t like pancakes and crepes that taste low-carb, so typically almond flour in crepes is out and coconut flour if used has to be used in small quantities so that it is not too obvious.  I was so happy with these and especially that they tasted so yummy to my taste buds.  They were even lovely just on their own with myHealthy Butter and a little fruit spread. They are very low-carb compared to anything you will find in our cookbooks as well.  The lowest carb pancake in our cookbooks is 2.3 grams carbohydrate per pancake, but most of them are around 4  or 5 grams of carbohydrate per pancake.  Let’s face it, there are a gazillion low-carb pancake recipes out there, but I’ll be honest with you, I am picky about my pancakes and crepes.  If they taste strongly of coconut flour, they will go in the garbage and if they have a funny texture due to almond flour or something else, same thing.  These passed the “Jen” test I’m happy to report.  Have a great day everyone!  Thank you so much for your support.  We need you guys!

4 oz regular cream cheese, softened (125 g)

3 eggs

2 tbsp coconut flour (30 mL)

2 tbsp vanilla whey protein (30 mL)

1 tbsp certified gluten-free oat flour (15 mL)

1 tsp baking powder (5 mL)

1 tsp unflavored gelatin (5 mL)  Can use unflavored gelatin from the grocery store.

1/4  tsp vanilla extract (1 mL)


In food processor, process cream cheese.  Add eggs, coconut flour, vanilla whey protein, oat flour, baking powder, gelatin and vanilla extract.  Drop by 2 tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased nonstick frying pan (if you have metal pancake rings, they will keep the pancakes a uniform size and shape) over low medium heat.  Cook until bubbles form and carefully flip when the topside is a little more set.  Make sure the pan is not too hot; reduce heat when necessary.


Yield: 12 pancakes

1 pancake

61.3 calories

3.6 g protein

4.4 g fat

1.2 g net carbs


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This can be a lifesaver for a meat and potatoes man (or woman). 
Recipe from Nourished; a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance.

4 slices bacon (3¼ ounce or 93 grams)
2½ cups (15½ ounces) Rutabaga Faux Potatoes (See following recipe.)
½ cup (2½ ounces) peeled and chopped onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Chop and reserve. Pour off the fat from the pan. Measure 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and return to pan. Sauté  the cooked rutabaga, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add onion to the skillet with rutabaga and sauté until the onion is soft. Add the reserved bacon and the salt and pepper and cook until heated through.

“I appreciate the potato only as protection against famine, except for that, I know of nothing more eminently tasteless.”– Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825

Makes 5 servings of ½ cup.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 7.8 g; Protein: 3.7 g; Fiber: 2 g; Fat: 2.9 g; Calories: 77
Total weight: 14 ounces or 398 grams
Weight per serving: 2¾ ounces or 78 grams
Preparation time: 5 minutes active; 20 total

Some sources list the carbohydrate count for rutabaga as being higher than that for turnips; some list them as being about the same. I prefer rutabaga as a potato substitute because it is a bit milder and the texture is more like potatoes, but rutabagas and turnips can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

Buy the smallest, freshest rutabagas you can find. Fresh ones will be heavy for their size and they will feel firm to the touch. Avoid ones that have been waxed to give them a longer shelf life; they may feel hard but the older they are, the stronger they will taste.


Try this when you are missing those hash browns and home fries. They may not pass for russets, but they are very much like Yukon gold potatoes. Unless you tell them, your guests may be convinced that they are eating potatoes.

3 small rutabagas (about 1¼ pounds total)
2 walnuts in the shell
1 slice of lemon with peel, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Sweetener, if needed

Peel the rutabaga and dice into ½- to 1-inch cubes. Simmer for 10 minutes in a generous amount of water to which you have added salt and pepper and the 2 whole walnuts. Change the water if desired, add the lemon, if using, and continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes more or until fork tender. Drain well. Discard walnuts and lemon. Return the rutabaga to the pan on low heat and stir a minute or two longer to dry. Taste the rutabaga and if it is bitter, sprinkle with a small amount of sugar substitute. Use like potatoes in soups or chowders or to make faux potato salad or Home Fries. (See previous recipe.)

Notes: Adding walnuts in the shell to the cooking liquid will neutralize the odor of cooking cabbage; I have discovered that it also helps counteract the turnip or cabbage flavor of similar vegetables, like cauliflower and rutabaga. Lemon also helps to neutralize strong flavors. Changing the water once while boiling makes them even milder.

If the recipe you will be using calls for cream, rinse the rutabaga well after draining to remove any trace of the lemon so the cream won’t curdle.

“There is nothing so tragic on earth as the sight of a fat man eating a potato.”
– Vance Thompson, Eat and Grow Thin, 1914

Makes 5 servings of ½ cup each.
Per serving—Net carbohydrate: 6.5 g; Protein: 1.4 g; Fiber: 2.9 g; Fat: 0.2 g; Calories: 41
Total weight: 15½ ounces or 440 grams
Weight per serving: 3 ounces or 88 grams
Preparation time: 15 minutes active; 35 minutes total

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!

Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 

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Food Chick Tip

Today’s Chick Tip…..One of my favorite summertime ADULT beverages, the Mojito! So delicious and refreshing and great for your summer party – whip up a quick batch by following this very easy recipe.

In a cocktail glass muddle one lime wedge, one teaspoon of sugar, ten Mojito mint leaves and a splash of club soda. Top with ice and add one and a half ounces of your favorite clear rum. Shake, strain into a glass filled with ice. Top glass with club soda and garnish with a sprig of Mojito mint.

BONUS TIP…..make a large batch and keep serve in a pitcher…..use two whole limes, one half cup sugar, forty minty leaves and half a bottle of your favorite clear rum. Do not add ice until serving otherwise it will be watered down.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!

Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 

Categories: Food, Food Chick, Writers | Leave a comment

Low Carb French Vanilla Ice Cream

Low Carbing Among Friends

Made From a Real Custard Base

Recipe from my brand new book:
by George Stella

PREP TIME 15 min / Cook Time 25 min / Serves 8

2 cups half and half cream
5 large egg yolks
1⁄3 cup sugar substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Prepare an ice water bath with an insert bowl.
  2. Add 1 cup of the half and half to a saucepan, and heat on medium-high, until scalding hot.

  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining cup of half and half, sugar substitute, and vanilla extract.

  4. Temper the cold egg mixture by whisking in a few tablespoons of the hot half and half, then whisk the tempered egg mixture into the hot pan until all is combined.

  5. Place the pan back on the stove, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook while stirring constantly, about 20 minutes, or until the ice cream base is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

  6. Remove from heat and pour the ice cream base into the insert bowl resting in the ice water bath to cool.

  7. Pour the cooled custard into an ice cream maker, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to freeze the ice cream. Or for less creamy results, pour into 6 small glasses and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Be careful not to let the ice cream base boil as you cook it in step 5. If it starts to get too hot, simply remove the pan from the heat, and slightly lower the stove temperature.

Try adding macadamia nuts or pecans to the mix right before freezing.

Calories: 115/Fat: 10g /Protein: 3.5g/Fiber: 0g /Net Carbs: 3.5g

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Don’t forget to “Like” our recipes and our FB Page (at the top) both! We truly appreciate it!
Your “Low Carbing Among Friends ” Team!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!

Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 

Categories: Food | Leave a comment

4th of July Celebration in Costa Rica

I was invited to a 4th of July celebration at a resort here in Costa Rica. The owner Jerry invited me and his lovely wife Maggie who I had yet to meet were wonderful hosts! The party, I think was a great success. He had his staff on hand to help everyone. There were a ton of people there. It was a pot luck type of event. People brought all kinds of side dishes to share. There was the normal BBQ fair of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and such. All the fixings. I got to meet some new people and some people I know sort of though facebook and who know me the same way.

That gathering was very eclectic as there were people there from all over the world. British, Canadan, US, Tico, etc. This just shows that no matter your nationality people will come together for a party and especially if there is free food involved! Even the British who we are celebration our independence were there. 🙂 I know after over 200 years its all water in the Boston harbor now. 🙂 I know I am only funny to me.

So of course I had to sample everything! I did just sample I only took a tablespoon of everything that was there. I have to say nothing was disappointing. I think everyone did a wonderful job. They had a really good grill master who handled the grill perfectly. My next BBQ I will most certainly use him.

The highlights of the dishes I tasted, for me were, the meat balls! They were cooked just right and the sauce was very nice. The beans were perfection on a plate. There were a number of sauerkraut type sides which all were tasty. Like I said there wasn’t a dish there that I went, “Oh hell no who made this crap”.

See my video of the day at YouTube Video of the Day  for how not so American our most American celebration really is.

Very nice night the views are amazing from the resort. I could see my house very clearly from his back and front viewing areas. Have to wonder if he uses that telescope he has to watch me nude sunbath? lol Just kidding Jerry.

Now remember I get nothing an accept nothing when I talk up a place be it a restaurant or a resort. This place is a great place to stay if you are coming to Costa Rica. It is a great couples resort no doubt. He put a lot of thought into the design of the rooms as well as how to maximize his views. So if you are coming I would most definitely recommend you stay at Barons Resort. Here are some photo’s of the resort from their facebook page. Barons Facebook

So looking for a nice place to stay while visiting or moving to Costa Rica this really is a place you should try! The view alone is well worth the price. So check them out on the Facebook link.
Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. They do mail to Costa Rica fairly cheap. I did a test of a mouse pad and got it in 12 days delivered to my house! Amazing!!!!

Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

Use this link to see all thing Costa Rica on Amazon! Make your purchase today! All things Costa Rica

Remember if you get an account with the Unblock-US vpn you can than Live stream your movie and tv shows at our link! 

Booking a vacation? Use our link below! 

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Best of Costa Rica’s Readers Top Restaurants

My top 10 list created such a stir with many of my readers as well as on some of the Expat Facebook groups I opened it up to everyone to send me what they had. So here is the list in no particular order and they are not ranked. This is just a comprehensive list to show you where our readers eat and to help give you an idea of where you may like to eat in the various areas. So I hope you enjoy it!  If you don’t see yours, I might not have received your list. Please feel free to comment on this post and tell us about your favorite place to eat in Costa Rica! Not all of these can you get a meal for 2 for under $60.

Here is a link to my top 10 list where you can get a meal for 2 for under $60, no including booze! The following are readers picks sent to me in email.

La Carreta – Atenas Centro – great Tico Food. Try the Aztec soup.

La Triilla, Atenas – Tico food. Favorite is grilled pechuga or fish with garlic

Hamburguesia – Escazu Plaza Tempo in the Holiday Inn Mall. Burgers, toppings and sauces make this a great place for lunch

 Sushi Kai – Santa Ana Via Lindora. Artistic Fresh sushi

Saga – Avenida Escazu . Fresh international food prepared to perfection.

 C-Vichito y Mas – Alajuela near Price Mart. Chef owned. Very creative and eclectic. He loves to add chocolate flavoring. Tell him what you want as your main and let him create your meal!

Tintos y Blancos – Multiplaza Escazu. Great Tapas and wonderful wine list.

Baccus – Santa Ana. Five Star food and service. Mediteranian food and hand made pizza. Great wine list.

Citron – Playas del Coco. Depending on what you order, you can get in under $60, but drinks are between $5 and $8 and wine by the glass is $5. Atmosphere and service is top notch. The best thing I like about this restaurant is that it has some imagination when it comes to food and the presentation and preparation have been consistently great.

Valero – Playa Hermosa near entrada two. Best value is on the nights they have their Parrilla set up. Then they offer a variety of specials that are between $10 and $18 including salad and side dishes. Atmosphere is right on the beach, so you’ll get great sunsets depending on when you go.

Toro Negro – Liberia (just across from the main church). They specialize in steaks, but have a wide variety of other things. The Hamburger Toro Negro was 4800 colones but was perfectly prepared and very tasty. Most steaks are around 8900 colones which includes salad and two sides.

Le Coc – Main street Playa del Coco. They have a small kiosk in front of the casino on the main street in Coco. There are no tables, so you pretty much sit at the counter or take it out to the beach. They feature basic menu of middle eastern wraps at vaery reasonable prices, and the food is amble and good.

El gusto de la vida – Playas del Coco. It is off the beaten path in a mall shopping center near the little luperon. Don’t confuse this one with La Dulce Vida – another Italian restaurant. Food is excellent and very reasonable – 4500 colones on the average. It is very small, only about 8 tables, but the service is good. They also bake their own bread.

La Esquina de Buenos Aires – San Jose

Hands down this is one of the best meals I’ve eaten in this country. The meat is amble and tender, presentation is perfect and service is excellent. Depending on drinks and wine it might go over the 60$ limit, but the food is terrific.

 Jalapeños Central, in downtown Alajuela – The food is tasty and quickly prepared to order and is moderately priced.  In addition to the Tex-Mex fare, there is some killer buffalo chicken on the menu plus some wonderful desserts.

 El Colibri in Puerto Carrillo – Argentinian barbeque everything is as fresh as can be

Mantras in Barrio Escalante 200 meters east of Farolito and 25 south – People who have never eaten vegetarian food before have commented that they never thought vegetarian food could taste so good, and this is what keeps people coming back again and again.

Jolly Roger near Dominical has excellent wings.

Galeria Steakhouse heir tuna steak is as good as it gets anywhere.

Restaurante  La Farola the gazpacho is out of this world, the Russian salad is unique and very tasty (sort of a potato salad with tuna)

Restaurante de Lucía –  Known for their succulent steaks you can choose your own cut and they will cook it to order.

Pecora Negra Puerto Viejo  – fantastic nightly specials

Graffiti in Jaco – we have eaten there three times and have had perfect meals each time. I had this dessert once that was amazing, it was Elvis something. It was on my husband’s bday, as I normally don’t get dessert, and it was to DIE for.

So you now have a few more selections, but that is all I got. So send me more or just comment on here and tell us the name, a link is always good, where it is, and what is best to eat there. So shoot us a comment to add to this list.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Food Chick tip of the day

Today’s Chick Tip… easy recipe for Greek style salad. Served here with Porterhouse steak and a gorgeous Bordeaux Rose! Also delicious with salmon and grilled chicken!

Greek Salad Recipe

1 can hearts of palm – cut into rounds
1 can artichoke hearts in water – quartered
1 pint grape tomatoes – halved lengthwise
1 English cucumber – cut into rounds and then quartered
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon of truffle salt
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
1 tablespoon garden herb seasoning
5 large basil leaves chiffonade cut
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Crumbled Feta cheese – sprinkle on top, as much or as little as you like!

Combine all ingredients except feta cheese and refrigerate.
Upon serving sprinkle with cheese!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!


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Zarcero, boy did you have a surprise for us!

Today we decided to take a trip to Zarcero and boy and I glad we did! I went with the wife and 2 friends. It was a really good trip. Good company beautiful town and just a wonderful feel. Boy if I knew about this place it could have been in the running for where we may live instead of Atenas, but I really do lover our town of Atenas.

Our morning started at 10:45 as we drove off out on our adventure. We stopped to pick up one friend, the other drove to our house. We went to the gas station to fill up. Not that it was that far, but I have learned that in Costa Rica you should always fill up before you go on any adventure to anywhere you have never been before. You just don’t know what will happen.

It was a pretty uneventful drive. We had good company so the drive went pretty quickly. The roads can be a little twisty and windy from Atenas, but during the day and when it isn’t raining its pretty easy.

We got there right at 12:00 on the dot! It was time for lunch and we really wasn’t sure where to go. As we drove into town one of our friends saw a little shop area that had 2 restaurants listed. One had fast food in its name so we figured we would check out the other. So we go in and can’t find the one that was listed that wasn’t fast food. I went upstairs and saw what could have been it, but it wasn’t open. So we decided to take a chance. Here are some photo’s of the little center.




IMG_2295 IMG_2296 IMG_2297 IMG_2298

Oh my are we glad we took the chance. The food was amazing and the prices were just as amazing! Dingo’s fast food  is where we ate. Don’t let the words Fast Food fool you. It was nothing like fast food!


Patacones were ok. So at this point we were not 100% sure this was a right decision, but than we tasted the salsa! It was delicious! So we had hope. The only problem with this was there was way too much breading and too little plantains. This was 1,450 colones.


My friends call me the Salad Nazi and with good reason. I am very picky over my salads. Now this doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value to it, but let me tell you it was good. The chicken was a pleasant surprise. This was the Ensalada Dingo. I don’t think that was dingo on our plate! The croutons were toasted bread and not too soft but not too hard either. The dressing was a ranch and just ok, but he chicken was the hero here. The added ham and cheese was nice as well.  This was 2,950 colones and actually it was enough to be a nice lunch in and of its self. \WP_20140625_12_44_22_Pro


Next up our friend got the Super Hamburgesa. This is a direct quote from our friend who ordered it, “This is the best hamburger I have ever had in Costa Rica.” This is high praise coming from her. It had 2 kinds of cheese, pickles and just a small piece of bacon, but it was about 1/2 lb of burger! It came with a side of fries. This cost 2,950 colones as well and well worth the price!


There is that wonderful salsa again! This was a Burrito and again direct quote, “One of the best I have had!” So again another winner and it comes in at 2,800 colones.


Ok so Alitas Buffalo and there are 7 of them here. I took some flack for putting Hooters on my top 10 restaurants list and this place knocks them off! I would have liked a little more heat, but there was enough to make me happy and not too much that some who doesn’t like a lot of heat wouldn’t want to eat them. They were crispy and the breading was very different, but wonderful. They were very generously sauced as you can see. 7 of them cost 1,900 colones. Amazing price!


This was the Costilla BBQ which is BBQ ribs. They cut them into pieces which made it easier to eat. Left the bone so you have to watch when you bit them. Pretty good. Wasn’t a wonderful BBQ sauce, but it was good. Now these potatoes were amazing! I don’t know what they did to them, but they were very tasty and flavorful! This dish was 4,000 colones.



Ok so I was a little skeptical about getting the Churrasco. I am glad I did. Again served with those wonderful potatoes! The side salad was the same minus the chicken as our main salad. So the steak I am going to let this video speak for me.

Yes it was that tender. It needed a little salt, but other than that it was really good! So very surprised and wasn’t not expected this from a little shop that had Fast Food in its name! It was a good 6oz cooked so a good size. It cost 3,450 colones. I was shocked!

We also got 2 Cafe Negro, 1 Te frio and 4 Coke lights. The cold drinks were 1,000 colones each and the coffee was only 600 colones. We also got a dessert that we shared. I didn’t get a picture of it. There was a cinnamon roll and a fruit roll and I swear it was made from angle food cake batter. We couldn’t believe it. Very nice and it was only 500 colones for each one. Very good deal.

So total for our lunch for 4 with all that food and drink was only 29,450 colones or $53.69 for those who don’t know the conversion. I was amazed! It is one of those great accidental finds that you just never know will happen. We are so glad we decided to take a chance and not go anywhere else.

Now we get to the reason we were in Zarcero. We went for the garden and the church. Both were amazing! Love the beauty of the gardens and the church. So here are the pictures I took at the garden.  Click on the images below to see larger views.

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The other reason we went was to visit the church. It is one beautiful place, no doubt. The art and paintings are amazing. So here are the photo’s I took while at the church. Again click on the images below to see larger views.

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Over all it was a very nice day. Good friends, Good food, beautiful town and a wonderful drive. If you get a chance you should go visit this wonderful place and eat at that wonderful restaurant. Here is the blog of one of the friends that went with us. Check it out. Keeping you in Stitches

The only downside was the drive home. The rain held out until we were ready to leave, but I had to drive those twisty windy roads in the rain. We made it home safe and sound and that is all that matter.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Sale and Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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This weeks speical at Kay’s Gringo Postres

This Week’s Daily Specials – Jun. 24 – Jun. 29 (all specials now come with coffee or tea (free refills), and Free baker’s choice of dessert)  

Tues. – Herb-roasted chicken with steamed rice and a side salad – ₵3,500

Wed. – Green salad with tomato, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, carrot, red cabbage and avocado, with choice of house homemade Ranch or Vidalia Onion vinaigrette – ₵3,500

Thur.– Kay’s famous chunky Gazpacho with a grilled cheese sandwich – ₵3,500

Fri.  –   Beer-battered shrimp with hand-cut Steak Fries and a side salad – ₵3,500

Sat.  –  Chili dog and French fries – ₵3,500

Sun. –  Breakfast buffet featuring omelet station along with frresh fruit, bacon, smoked pork  chops,  gallo pinto, scrambled eggs, home fries, biscuits with sausage gravy, and Lisa’s Home-Made Cinnamon Rolls  – ₵6,000.  Fresh orange juice ₵600 extra  Watch for new items on the menu, including Mexican Breakfast Tacos with Pico de Gallo, as well as Fresh Fruit Yogurt with Granola, for breakfast offerings.

You can find them at Kay’s Gringo Postres Facebook Page!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!


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Eat Costa Rica Today!

I have decided to every now and again, unless you all want this more often, to post a days worth of meals starting with Breakfast and working our way though dinner. all Costa Rican Style meals and how to prepare them. So hope you enjoy it!

Breakfast or Desayuno

Costa Rican Rice and Beans With Fried Eggs

Not the actual dish there was no picture to go along with this dish. Sorry.


3/4 cup long-grain white rice
kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small yellow onion, cut into small dice
1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons Lizano sauce, more to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped


Step 1
Put the rice, a big pinch of salt, and 1 1/2 cups of water in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice has absorbed the water and is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside with the lid on.

Step 2
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened about 3 minutes. Add the cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Step 3
Add the tomato sauce and stir for 1 minute. Add the beans and 1 cup of water and simmer until the liquid reduces to the level of the beans, about 4 minutes.

Step 4
Add the rice to the beans and mix well. Stir in the Salsa Lizano and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Step 5
Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, swirling the pan to coat evenly. Gently crack the eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook until the yolks’ edges have just begun to set, 2 to 3 minutes. (The eggs should cook gently, so lower the heat if needed.) Separate the eggs with the edge of a spatula.

Step 6
To serve, put a heaping spoonful of the rice and beans on a plate and slide 2 eggs on top. Sprinkle with the cilantro.

Time Prep 10 min. Cook 20 min. Serves 4

Lunch or Almuerzo

Hearts of Palm Parmesan Salad.


1 (14 ounce) can hearts of palm, drained & rinsed
2 medium tomatoes, seeded & chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 green onions, chopped (use white & green parts)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (Use fresh cracked pepper)
2 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly shaved
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

If you want this to be a meal add the following:

2 medium sized Cucumbers chopped, 1 Shredded carrot, 2 oz each shredded cabbage (Purple and green), 1 while onion chopped or sliced, optional but very nice to have is some sliced mushrooms.


Chop and mix in a a large bow. Let sit in fridge for about 1/2 hour to marinade.

Serves 2 to 4 depending on your cutting abilities about 10 min. prep.

Dinner or Cena

Appetizer or Aperitivo

Black Bean Quesadillas


1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed, mashed with a fork
1 whole wheat tortilla
1/4 cup spinach, cleaned and dry
1/4 cup shredded Monterrey jack pepper cheese
1/4 cup salsa


Step 1
Spread black beans on half of the tortilla.

Step 2
Spread the spinach on top of the black beans.

Step 3
Spread the cheese on top of the spinach.

Step 4
Fold tortilla in half.

Step 5
When time to heat up, cover tortilla with a napkin and heat in the microwave until heated through 1 – 1.5 minutes.

Step 6
Top with salsa and enjoy

Serves 2 Prep to cook time about 5 min.


Corvina a La Chorillana (Peruvian Fish in Spicy Tomato Sauce). Photo by vvoci

Corvina a La Chorillana (Peruvian Fish in Spicy Tomato Sauce)


1 tablespoon annatto oil, divided (see note)
2/3 large onions, thinly sliced, divided
1 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, divided
2/3 fresh hot chili peppers, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch strips, divided (red or green)
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, divided
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
1/3 teaspoon salt, divided (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
1 lb sea bass (cut into 1/2-inch steaks)


Step 1
Heat 1 tablespoon annatto oil in a heavy 4-quart pot over moderate heat, tipping pot to spread oil across the bottom.

Step 2
Spread half the onion slices, tomatoes, and chili strips in the hot oil.

Step 3
Sprinkle with half the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.

Step 4
Lay fish steaks on top of vegetable mixture.

Step 5
Cover with remaining vegetables and seasonings.

Step 6
Drizzle remaining annatto oil over top.

Step 7
Cover and simmer over low heat until fish is opaque and firm, 20-30 minutes. Do not overcook.

Step 8
NOTE: to make annatto oil, heat 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in 1/4 cup annatto (achiote) seeds. Stir for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and strain. This will keep several months if tightly covered and refrigerated, but it will lose flavor as it ages.

Dessert or Postre

Oven Baked Sweet Plantains. Photo by Sue Lau

Oven Baked Sweet Plantains


2 very ripe plantains (when the skin is yellow with spots of black they’re perfect)


Step 1
Preheat oven to 450°F.

Step 2
Coat a nonstick cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Step 3
Cut the ends off of the plantains and peel.

Step 4
Cut each plantain on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.

Step 5
Arrange in single layer and coat tops with cooking spray.

Step 6
Bake, turning occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until plantains are golden brown and very tender.

Serves about 2 Prep and cook time about 17 min.

So there you have it! A complete day of meals Costa Rican Style! I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know if you try and how it turned out. Either comment here or send us an email. If you want us to show your creation email us what you did and the pictures and we will post on our blog. Thanks!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Marriage of pork, beans and rice was invented here as chifrijo


Bar food, whether it´s fried, spicy or starchy, is a necessity with beer, friends and sporting events. This cultural fact is not lost in Costa Rica. The bars and restaurants have a litany of dishes to choose from, but one stands out because of its origins in the country.

The chifrijo is a dish that has been around since the early 90s when it started being served in local bars and restaurants in and around San José. Shortly after the genesis of the chifrijo, the dish began to spread through Latin America and was registered by the dish’s claimed creator Miguel Angel Araya Cordero, the owner of bars and restaurants.

The term chifrijo was coined by Cordero and comes from the combination of two terms. Chicharrones, or fried pork rinds, and frijoles, which is basically what the dish is at the core.

The combination of pork and beans is combined in a bowl with rice and then topped with diced onions, tomatoes, peppers and cilantro. After corn chips and a spritz of lime are added, the chifrijo is complete.

There are subtle variations on the dish from bar to bar, but the chain of Cordero´s restaurants maintains the original can only be tasted at their locations. The price is from 800 colons ($1.60) to 1,300 colons (about $2.60) depending on the restaurnt and the size of the serving.

To date, the chifrijo is the only culinary invention in Costa Rica to be patented in the Registro de la Propiedad, the bar owner said.
By Zach McDonald
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!

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Best of Costa Rica’s Top 10 Restaurants


Update: Who knew this would be so controversial. :-)Let me clarify a few things about this list. 1. It mainly covers the Central Valley area. While we do travel out of the area we do not eat out of the area enough at any one place to be able to evaluate it property. 2. You must be able to get a meal for 2 for under $60. and 3. Consistency is key. Please visit my blog I wrote on this subject to understand more of my guidelines that I used to select the following places. Yes there are 3 US chain restaurants. That is just the way it is. There are none that I have found that can replace them for the items I suggested you eat at each one. They meet all my requirements for being on this list.

Best of Costa Rica’s Top 10 Restaurants you must visit when you are here in Costa Rica. We will start with 10 and count down!

10. SOLO Camaron – It is reasonably priced and the food has good flavor. Don’t go in there with a large crowd. It is a small space, but comfortable. Clean and the service is very good. Everything and I mean everything has shrimp. So if allergic you may want to avoid it!

9. Hooters – Is pretty much the same as they are in the states. You only go in there for 2 thing. One is the wings and the other well it is what it is. 🙂 We have tried a few other items on the menu and were not impressed. They do have a limited selection of wings sauces, unlike in the states. If you are in the mood for wings this is your place to go no doubt!

8. Tony Roma’s It is a little on the pricey side, but not as bad as some places. If you are looking for a good Italian meal this is your place to go. Don’t get the beef products as tey are on the tough side, but pasta is delicious!

 7. Chilis – After being here for over a year we finally went and we were pleasantly surprised. It was really good. It had the best pizza I have had in Costa Rica. I know sounds strange, but it is true. So for no other reason you should go here for the pizza! The prices are reasonable. Our friend who was with us said they had the best ribs he has ever eaten in Costa Rica as well. Give it a try.

6. Sisso Another new find and we loved it. If you are a vegetarian this is one of the best places to go no doubt. They don’t have a salad bar, but they do have a make your own salad. So always a plus in my book. Food was good, prices were very good for what you got and the place was nice. Service was very good.

5. Los Antojitos – This is one of our favorite places to have lunch. I’m sure dinner would be just as excellent. We have been to two different ones and the food and services was great at both of them. So if you see on in your travels stop in and have a bite. You won’t regret it. I love their grilled salad!

4. Alida Ristorante – If you like a true Italian pizza this is your place. It has that thin crust you are hoping for and they are tasty. They have a great salad and the other food is good as well. It is a little pricey, but worth it. Nice place and great service.

3. Grego’s Bar and Grill – We do go here often. The prices are a little high for a bar, but not really that bad. The food is good! The only problem with it is the consistency of the food. One week its good, next its ok, than it is good again. I love their chicken soup! It is served with an egg that is cooked by the heat of the broth. Our favorite is the Chicken and the Corvina and I do like their churrascos as well but it is hit and miss as to its toughness.

2. Kay’s Gringo Postres – Is one of our favorite places to go in Atenas. The food is good, reason prices, and the desserts are a little bit of heaven. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, but worth a stop on in no doubt. It is the Cheer’s of Costa Rica just no booze. The staff is friendly and helpful and you will always find helpful people.

1. La Trocha – If you want a good steak this is the place to go! We love their steaks! Their ceviche is very good as well. Service is wonderful and the owners are just great people. If  you get their pasta dishes they do sauce it very generously! They have a signature sauce that is great! I love their jalapeno sauce!  If you want just a bit of heat or full tears and red lips you can get it. Just tell them how hot you want it! They will cook your steak medium rare! The only way to have a steak!

So that pretty much covers it. If you are here for 7 days or 10 days this list pretty much has you covered. Check these places out and let me know about your experience.

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!



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Gallo Pinto Empanadas

Gallo Pinto Empanadas

Recipe makes 18 empanadas

Empanada Dough Directions

  1. In a medium-sized bowl mix 3 cups of All-Purpose flour and 1 tablespoon of salt.
  2. Cut 1/2 cup room temperature solid vegetable shortening into pieces and place in bowl with flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter, cut in shortening until you have a cornmeal texture. If needed break up large pieces with your hands.
  3. Slowly incorporate 3/4 cup of luke-warm water, adding a little at at time until a dough ball forms. The dough should not be sticky and should be kneaded about 10 times.
    If needed, add more flour or water to reach the appropriate consistency.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour. If you’re making the dough in advance, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate. However, bring dough to room temperature before assembling empanadas.

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Dried black beans
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 medium Yellow onion
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Brown or White rice
  • 1/2 Red bell pepper
  • 1 Green onion
  • 1/8 Cup Fresh choppded cilantro
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted butter

Filling Directions

  1. Soak beans in a bowl of water overnight and then drain.
  2. Finely chop the onion. In a slow-cooker, place black beans and three cups of water, the bay leaf, half of the chopped onion and cook on high for 3-4 hours.
  3. Strain off excess juices and remove bay leaf.
  4. Bring two cups of water to a rapid boil and pour in rice. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and let cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until rice is fully cooked.
  5. In a large fry pan, melt butter and saute remaining onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, add green onion, then pour in rice and beans and mix until incorporated.
  6. In a separate pan, scramble egg with milk until fully cooked. Add egg to rice and bean mixture.
  7. Finally, chop cilantro and add to the mixture. Allow to cool.

Empanada Assembly

  1. Thoroughly clean the work surface and give yourself plenty of room.
    You’ll need flour, a rolling pin, a circular cutter (6-8”), spoon, water, cookie sheet and your filling. Sprinkle flour on the work surface and pull a piece of dough off that’s about the size of a lime.
  2. Begin to flatten the dough ball in all directions until the dough is roughly 2 millimeters thick. The dough shouldn’t stretch much further than the diameter of your cutter, or you might have used too much dough.
  3. Press the cutter through the dough completely. Remove excess dough and incorporate it into the next dough ball. It’s important to note that once the dough has been rolled and stretched, it is much harder to do it a second time, so using the least amount of dough per cut is ideal.
  4. Once you’ve rolled out the dough and cut out the circle, it shouldn’t shrink any. Moisten the edges by dipping your fingers into egg wash and gently spreading a thin layer around the edges.
  5. Spoon out 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the upper half of the circle. Fold the bottom half of the dough up over the filling and press the edges together repositioning the filling inside if needed. It’s important to have the right amount of filling so it won’t break open or leave it hollow after cooking. You should fill it just enough to still get the empanada to close.
  6. There are many ways to close and shape empanadas but I prefer the pinch and twisting closure. Starting with one edge pinch the edge between your finger and then fold the corner up over itself by 2 cm and pinch the new fold to seal it. Repeat the motion all the way around the empanada by pinching and twisting the dough to create a rope-like edge. When you reach the other edge simply tuck the corner under and pinch closed to seal it off.
  7. To cook them, heat up some vegetable oil, coconut oil, palm oil or peanut oil in a medium-sized pot to a medium-high temperature. Be sure to test your oil before dropping in the empanadas, if you drop in a little piece of extra dough, it should boil easily but not crackle, pop or boil too rapidly. If this happens, reduce the heat of the oil before submerging the empanada. When the oil is ready, submerge two or three empanadas in the oil and allow them to cook for 4-6 minutes until golden brown. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn.


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Manzana de Aguas are falling from the trees!

I have been meaning to try these and just haven’t gotten around to it. I haven’t seen them in the local Coope. 😦

Veggie Gringa Devours Costa Rica

Photo: This morning's project : applesauce from manzana de aguas.

Also known as water apples, and sometimes confused with another similar one, rose apples, these things are mildly sweet, citrussy and a little astringent. This is in the process of becoming applesauce, which came out really good, and a lovely shade of pink.   I cleaned, took out the seed (at left) and chopped them into chunks. Cooked them in a little bit of water until fork-mashable. (about half hour) Then I added a small amount of the natural turbinado sugar (not the brown caramelized stuff, just the dried cane juice – Zukra brand).  I don’t like overpowering sweet – I just added enough to take out the astringency. Then, ran it through the blender.  Delicious! Keeps in the fridge a couple of days. My little farm has three trees bearing for the first time.  I have made apple crisps, apple fritters, apple cobbler, and have run about two 2-gallon buckets…

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Food Chick Tip of the Day

 Remember to stay hydrated with flavored water. Add cucumber, mint, lemon, kiwi, strawberries or melon to your water to add a flavorful punch!

Check out her webpage at The Food Chick
Pura Vida!
Categories: Food, Food Chick | Leave a comment

Cost of living up date days 11 – 16

So here we are at day 16 and budget is almost gone! 😦 Lets see how we end up at the end of the month and see what we have learned from my mistakes while living in Costa Rica.

Most of the days were pretty easy and simple. Hang out at the house. Life is pretty simple and easy here in Costa Rica. I caught up on the current season of Orange is the New Black #OITNB. Started watching Breaking Bad. Pretty good show. You have to love a psychopathic chemistry teacher with nothing to lose. He can cook up some trouble no doubt!

Day 9 Paid all the monthly bills finally! Did a lot of running around.

Day 10 had lunch At Kay’s Gringo Postres. As you can tell we like to eat there a lot. The food is good, prices reasonable, but the company is usually amazing. Its like Cheers in Atenas, just no booze! Its where everyone knows you name!!! Well the new owners are working on it, but Kay let me tell you she is one sharp lady! We call her mom!


This was the special that day. Yummy!!! You get all this plus the dessert for 3,500 colones or $6.31



Again very yummy home made cheese cake! Still a little on the small side for my taste, but hell its FREE!!!!!!!!


Denise got a garden salad with an order of bacon! We love the bacon here!!!!

Day 11 Didn’t really do much just hung out. I did finally have to put diesel in the car! I think even with all the trips we make to either Santa Ana or Escazu I only fill up once a month maybe 2x. Love my Toyota Furtuner.

Day 12 It was time to go to church! Well not that kind of church. Greggo’s Bar has a deal on Thursdays certain things you drink if you drink a min of 5 next week when you come in you get that number for FREE so its like a delayed BOGO deal on beer and some liquors! It is only Thursday and you have to redeem the next week or it is lost. Here was our meal at Greggo’s.

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Oh and we had Ceviche, but I forgot to take a picture of it. Sorry! Consider my hand smacked! Steak was tasty. It was a little tough this night, but still not bad at all.

Day 13 Yep you guess it had lunch at Kay’s again. Normal stuff this time. Just salads and drinks. Again good lunch! We did go to a new place for dinner El Tronco and here is what we go for dinner. Everyone should eat here! Good food. Review will be coming. I know I owe you guys a lot of reviews! I will get them out I promise.

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Day 14 was a do nothing day. I get a lot of those. Well I didn’t do nothing. Did lots of stuff around the house. Played with the dogs, went swimming, worked out. I cooked. We did eat after all. 🙂 If you want to see the food I cook you need to let me know. I’m not going to take the time to post it if you don’t want to see it. So drop me a comment on this post and tell me you want to see my cooking. 🙂

Day 15 I got to have Fathers day dinner at one of my favorite places! La Trocha!!! I will review them the next time we go. I love their food and the owners are wonderful. I am proud of myself we almost had a conversation in Spanish with them. The owner/chef doesn’t speak English and with our limited Spanish we actually had a conversation!!!!! Yea us! Every day we get better! Denise more than me, but we did it! Here is what we had:

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Its hard to tell but that is a hell of a lot of food. If you go here and you eat there is no way you will go home hungry! We love all their pasta’s and steaks.

Day 16 We decided to try a different place for lunch today. Again I will review it in another post, but here is the food we had for the price listed on our budget.

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Since we were out and we were in the area I did stop at PriceSmart. I got very little there. I mainly went in for dog good. This is what I come out with. You can never just go in and get the one thing you need. You always have to find more! Well I do anyway.


I got the 50lb bag of Kirkland dog food. So now I am set for dog food for a while. I had just ran out of this one. Remember I use it and the Super Perro just in case I can’t find one or the other. So I mix them. We did go in for treats as I’m running low, but guess what. NONE!!! No dog treats at all. No biscuits, not cookies nothing! This is why I buy so much when I do buy. You never know when it is going to be there or not. So you buy a few. I still have some left, but I’m going to start cutting them in 1/2 or else I may run out before Monday when I go back again or they may not have them yet again. So we will see.

Here is what the budget looks like. Yep day 16 and I have gone over my $2K budget. We can learn from this and we will keep going and see where I end up at the end of the month. Thank we can analyze it and see where I can do better. Thanks for reading and drop me a comment or two!

Don’t forget to check out our Amazon Page, and our Cafe Press page. Almost all our profits after expenses have been paid go to local Charties here in Costa Rica. So buy some stuff would ya!!!!! Also don’t forget to vote on which charity will get the money we raise. We have only raised like $12 so far. So that $24 with my matching donation. We need more people to buy more stuff! Come on help us out! Lets buy the stuff we want or need and at the same time help charity! The poll is at the top of the page. Vote and buy today!!!!!

Day 11 thru 16


Pura Vida!


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Photo’s of the day



580296_10200733566926789_903383603_nYes many photo’s today! I have decided that today is food day! I guess I’m just hungry! So lets start of with some starters shall we! All food was purchased and consumed here in Costa Rica!!!! Enjoy!




995102_10200304104430495_511487306_n 1014389_10200249658869390_1265788252_n 1526688_10202353040092606_8963656597249624445_n




Now how about some Salads!

10363369_10202353032732422_3354611962999825591_n ok salad


good salad 2 good salad



Now on to some Entree’s!

934909_10200243691320205_839945112_n 941430_10200243694720290_1041541018_n 1001461_10200243688360131_749372504_n 10373748_10202353003411689_4446017627787642786_n 10408651_10202353011051880_3135877137668671835_n 10414585_10202353011211884_809757453786349602_n 10426331_10202353045652745_7854614976890594102_n tico eggs benedict


No meal is ever complete without a dessert!!!!!!

10462775_10202353005331737_3633428938629610844_n tico french toast

998068_10200570142001268_791181341_n 1011932_10200246511070697_1994429338_n 1016063_10200246509310653_882432767_n 1234140_10200757363721694_88884158_n 1236046_10200757364921724_362508159_n 1237669_10200757364281708_1201918260_n 1238358_10200757363161680_1733243030_n 10313295_10202353091933902_7730696332064631763_n 10447638_10202353058413064_1487723999818651194_n

Whoever says all you get in Costa Rica is beans and rice has never really eaten in Costa Rica! You should come to visit for the food alone!!!!

Pura Vida!




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Food Chick Tip of the day

Today’s Chick Tip….A super easy summer salad on this hot June day! Cucumber and Roasted Red Pepper strips with fresh basil. Combine with rice wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste for a great side dish or snack.

BONUS TIP – keep a jar of roasted red peppers on hand year round for a great tasting addition to salads and pastas!

Check out her website The Food Chick

Pura Vida!



Categories: Food, Food Chick, Travel | Leave a comment

Cost of living Day 7, 8, 9 and 10!

Sorry for the long update, but 7th and 8th were pretty boring days. Just sat at home, watched some TV. Started to watch the Orange is the new black, and trying to catch up on American Horror story. We are starting season 3 The Coven. Hopefully it is as  good as the others were. We did some shopping and stuff on the 9th so lets get to that.

Day 9 was a busy day as Monday’s usually are. The housekeeper and Gardener was here. So that is when we do a lot of our running for the week as they will keep and eye on the dogs for us. We did happen to have a little mishap while we were gone. The gardener accidentally hit the pipe coming from the solar hot water on our rancho roof to the pool. 😦 He ran down to the gate and had them call our pool guy who came right out and patched it. He fixed it today on the 10th. So won’t see that bill until next month. He only sends a bill once a month. Otherwise the house ran smoothly while we were gone.

We went to see the dietitian as we do on Mondays. Had a good week my wife and I both lost weight. So cheers! Even though I am no longer on the diet she till wanted to weigh me and measure me. She is interested in how I am doing. She follows me on facebook and looks at my fitbit auto post to my timeline that shows what my exercise is and what I am eating. Its a great tool for weight loss.

After we were done there we heading to Escazu to go to Pricesmart to pick up dog food. Well we decided to have lunch at the Avaneda. We scoped out a place we have never been before. You will see it on the budget. It is our 1st time there and I doubt we will be back. I will be writing a review in the next couple of days so look out for that as well.

Lunch ran pretty long about 2 hours so by the time we were done I was kind of done so I wanted to head home. Then I realized we really need dog food and really need to pay the electric bill. So we head off to the bank to take out some cash. We head to the local grocery store which is really nice and in expensive. I also realized once we were there I needed to pick up a few other things as well so we walked the entire store. We also pay our Electric and Cable/internet bills there. I did make a mistake on my internet bill and have corrected it on the budget sheet. It was $90 a month but $57 for my 5Mbps download and 500Kbps upload service. Here is what I got at the market.


29,205 colones or $52.67

This is a 66lb bag. I will last a good while. I would say almost a month along with the 50lb bag I buy at pricesmart of the Kirkland brand. I buy both so I can mix them as there are times when for whatever reason I can’t find one or the other. So mixing them allows me to be out of on or the other without upsetting tummies. I will need a bag of Kirkland soon so hopefully in he next day or two I will go pick one up.


739 Colones or $1.33

It takes about 3 of these to equal the amount I got at Pricesmart. So that puts this at $7.98 and I paid $11.93 at pricesmart. ok I’m convinced I will get my Broccoli from Coop from now on!!!!!


1034 colones or $1.86

The onions I bought at maxipali same amount and actually these are a little bigger cost me 788 colones or $1.42 not worth an extra trip to save a few pennies. So Coop wins again! These actually looked better.


1,800 colones or $3.25

Again looks like the coop wins! This is 10 for $3.25 and they are bigger than the ones I got at Pricesmart where I paid $2.12 for 5.


336 colones or $0.61

We have a very clear winner on this one. Coop! These were bigger then what I got at Pricesmart and I paid $1.03 for 3 smaller ones. I’m starting to see the light how about you?

The next expense on our budget is the vet bill. When we came home out housekeeper showed us a spot where one of our dogs made a mess. The reason she left it for us to see is that it had some blood in it. So we had to run our poor little gizzy to the vet to be checked out. Here is Gizzy!



We still as of yet don’t know what is wrong, but Dr. Solano thinks it is some sort of intestinal something or other.  He did put him on medication just in case. He wasn’t acting sick or looking sick. The bill was for the following:

Consult 9000 colones

Complete Hemograma 9500 colones

lopelisan shot 2300 colones

jeringa shot 1700 colones

poop sample 1150 colones

So the total bill was 23650 or $42.65

Most people say that Dr. Solano is one of the more expensive vets in town. That could be true, but he is well worth it! He is one great vet and is a pleasure to deal with and is very knowledgeable! We love, love, love him! That price is nothing compared to what I would have had to pay back it the states!

That pretty much covers I think everything. Here is the budget so far.

day 7 thru 10

As you can see we had lunch at Kay’s again! We do love the place. We were there from 11:30 until about 3:30 today. Ate and had some good conversation with friends. So its a little more this time. I only got 2 salads and my wife got her 2 egg veggie omelets, but we got a lot of Coke Zero and Gin Light. Again the food was good as always! The salads have gotten much better!

Oh and Friday I will have a cost for repair of our weed whacker that I dropped off today. The gardener has not been taken care of it the way he should and he refused to use it until I got it fixed. Which is why he cut our pipe with the machete. As the repair guy told me nothing really wrong with it, but he replace the part that had a piece that broke off and he did some maintenance that needed to be done as its not being handled well. You are suppose to mix oil and gas together and than put it in the machine??? I had no clue and apparently neither did the gardener. So I am taking him with me Friday so they can show him what he needs to do from now on!

Still have 20 days left and I know I am not going to make it for under $2k. Well we will see. Once I am done we will do a recap of the month and see where things could have been eliminated and or saved money and such and see where that lands our final budget. Have a great day!

Oh and drop me a comment if you want to see more pictures and instructions on the food I cook here at the house.

Pura Vida!





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Cost of living day 7

Well today was a relax in the pool and chill day. Nope I did not make it to the Coop to pay the electric bill or to pick up dog food. So I guess that waits until Monday. Pura Vida right? Dogs still have food so we are good and it should last until Monday. 🙂 So what did I do today?

I went out and worked out on the bowflex. I did about 1/2 hour on it. I had to figure out how it works, but that time isn’t included in the workout time. Ran on the treadmill for about an hour or so. Got in the pool for about 2 hours and swam around and just hung out. I cooked all day so the highlight of this day will be the lunch and dinner I cooked.

My breakfast was just two eggs over easy and 3 plum tomatoes cut and cooked with a little salt and pepper. It sounds very plain but it was very nice. You take the eggs and place them over the tomatoes so when you cut into the egg the yummy yellow center mixes with the tomatoes and and their juiciness. 🙂 Really yummy you should try it.

lunch was an Asian stir fry. Very simple only need a couple of ingredients but full of flavor! As well as fills you up! I did however forget to get out the mushrooms! 🙂 It was still yummy here are the pictures and what I did.


Here is you need. Red cabbage (about 3 oz), orange bell peppers (1/2 regular size) (can be any pepper you want), cucumbers (1/2 regular size), broccoli (2.5 oz), and tomatoes (2 plum). Do whatever quantity you want. Cut everything up into small pieces as you see above.


This is what makes it an Asian dish. A dish’s ethnicity is created by the spices you use in the dish. Some ingredients will also lend to what region you dish can be assigned to, but he spices are what makes any dish! I only use 1/4 of a teaspoon of each of these in a cast iron pan that is hot!!!!! very hot!!!! We will also be adding 1 tablespoon of soy sauce later so don’t salt the dish until end.



These items will take the longest to cook so you want to get them in 1st and get the oil moving around and coating them. Here you can start to pepper your dish, but DON”T salt it yet!



Now we have added the peppers. You only wait about a min or two before you add the next ingredient. Flavor not only comes from what you put in your pan, but also from how you put it in. Layering you food is very important as well.



Now you add the cucumbers! At this point you will want to taste the dish after about a min or two of cooking to see if you have enough pepper in the dish. If not now is when you want to add it.



Finally you add the tomatoes and the soy sauce. You let that cook and allow the soy to reduce down along with the juices from the cucumbers and tomatoes. This should take about 3 min. Remember to keep moving that food around. Now taste it. If you think the soy has added enough salt to the dish you are done. If you need to add salt do so and let it cook as you do until you get it to where you want it. Remember salt a little at a time let it mix and heat for about 30 seconds than taste it again and keep doing this until you get it as you like it. Also if you think it needs a little more kick to it either add a little more hot oil or you can add some crushed red peppers!

That was my lunch! So give it a try and let me know how yours turned out as mine was very yummy and just the right amount of kick to it!

Dinner was Chicken and broccoli. It is a pretty simple dish. I just cooked the chicken I bought earlier in the week in a pan with a little evoo salt, pepper, and lemon juice. I than steamed the broccoli in a microwave steamer. Once it was done I added some “I can’t believe its not butter” to it with some salt and pepper and this is what you get!







Day 7

So day 7 nothing! Whoot! Have a great day! Onto day 8. Which is going to look a lot like day 7.

Pura Vida!



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Restaurant Review: Hard Rock Cafe

On June 2 2014 my wife and I decided to head to the Hard Rock Cafe to have some lunch. Our original plan was to eat at a mall in the area, but the only thing they had was a food court and that just wasn’t what we wanted. We are both on a diet plan and food court food just isn’t what we wanted to do. So we figured why not the Hard Rock Cafe. They should have some pretty health options and it is close to where we were. Off we go to the Cafe!

Very nice place! Cafe is clean and neat and the service was pretty damn good. WE love the gift shop. We bought a few things for our selves and family members back home. Lets get into why you are reading this. You want to know how the food was! We didn’t get many items, but here is what we did get.


These were really tasty and really hot! Which I loved! By the time I ate all 10 of them my lips were on fire. They had even turned red and gotten a little swollen. No breading was nice and the skin was crispy. There was a lot of sauce on them. The cost for them was 6,097.56 colones and that is about $11.00 so that is about $1.10 a wing. A bit pricey. We used to sell wings in my pizza shop for .75 per wing regular price and would put them on special for .50 and even sometimes .25. They were very good. These were the Heavy Metal sauce just FYI.


OK, my wife and I got two of these. It was a pretty good salad. Taste was spot on and they both looked the same so the consistency was there. Very little dressing on it, but you knew it was there. The two salads cost us 13821.14 colones so that is about $24.93 again a bit pricey, but it was a good salad.



We ended our meal with 2 coffee’s. Got the Americano black of course. Said this was Costa Rican coffee that they used, but I have my doubts. Didn’t like it much. I had to put 3 sweeteners in it to make it drinkable. Now if you like a strong bitter coffee this is the coffee for you no doubt. We paid 2113.82 colones which is about $3.81 so not bad for two cups of coffee. You will pay way more in a starbucks! So really the only reasonable price was the coffee and only if you like this kind of coffee. We also had 1 Pepsi light at 1544.72 colones and an unsweetened ice tea for 1544.72 colones. Their individual prices is about $2.79 and that is expensive. Not as expensive as Te Con Te the other day, but up there. Most times the drinks like this cost about 1000 colones, maybe 1200. Our total bill with tax and tip came to 30,900.00 colones or $55.74. That really is a big pricey for 2 salads, 10 wings, 2 drinks and 2 coffees. Hey Its a chain so you expect to pay more.

All that sound wonderful doesn’t it! Well with the exception of the price. I though so as well. I thought, OK the wings were a stretch on the healthy eating side, but how bad could they be?  They were not breaded! Got the salad and it have very little dressing on it so thought we were doing pretty good. WRONG!!!!!! This meal was almost 3K calories. I went home and looked up the items so I could put them in my fitbit log and have an idea of how many calories I had eaten today. I was shocked and almost fell on the floor when I saw it. When it comes to healthy food this place is not the place for you! It is horrible!!!!! So if you are tying to eat healthy avoid this place like the plague!!!!!!!! Do not and I reapeat do not go here. The following is a food chart from their own website. They only give the calories and sodium. I have looked and looked on the internet to find more information and I can’t. Very strange if you ask me.

Hard Rock Cafe – Print Menu If I would have known I would have picked a salad with less calories and I would have never gotten the wings.

So here are some random photo’s I took just to try and forget what we just experienced. Read over the menu, you will be shocked!

IMG_2162 IMG_2163 IMG_2168 IMG_2170 IMG_2171 IMG_2172 IMG_2173


So, lets get to the final on this one. The food was good as far as taste goes, the service was excellent, the place was clean (it is brand new so it should be), the bathrooms were nice and clean. The price is a bit high. I should be able to give them 3 seashell1out of 5, but I just can’t. I have to give them 2. I have to take off for the price to value and the very, very, very bad nutrition of the food. I just can’t bring myself to give them more. I tried to calculate how they could come up with those number on the calories. I just couldn’t do it. I have no clue what they put in there to do that, but it is insane! Well another one down the drain. Lesson here is don’t go to Chain restaurants in Costa Rica! Stick with the local places. You will get a good meal for a fair price.

Pura Vida!

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Cost of Living day 4 and Day 5

The one thing you can count on while living in Costa Rica is your day will never go as planned. I think I have said that already. So, yesterday was going to be a stay at home day and thank I hear my wife’s knitting group is going to eat lunch at a local pizza place that I have been dying to try, but because of the diet I couldn’t. So I jump on that! Not a knitter myself, but figured I could catch up on some writing while they all talk knitting and I can sample some pizza. So we get there and guess what. Not open! They are suppose to be open, but they aren’t. Ok so plan B. We go to the next pizza joint. Again a place that opened while on the diet and have not tried them so cool. Guess what? Not open again! Ok on to plan C. We go to Antono’s. A place we have had a meal or two before. Good food and good prices. After lunch we headed to the Maxi Pali. A very controversial store that just opened in Atenas. Long story short Expats are upset as its a Walmart owned store. Read my blog titled Unhappy Gringo’s it kind of gives my feelings on Gringo’s telling people what they can and can’t do. Again still did not complete all of my shopping. I did pick up a few more items, but I still need dog food. Glad I don’t wait till the last minute or the dogs we be starving by now. 🙂

Lets start with lunch Here is what we had. I was starving and I have no clue why.


1100 colones or $1.98


3700 colones or $6.67


2600 colones or $4.69



1800 colones or $3.25 I got it without the bun.

We also had a total of 5 Coke Lights @1000 colones each. So our total bill with tax and tip came to 17620 colones $31.79. Not a bad price really. It is a little more expensive but the food was really good. My salad was entree size. So with the burger and my wife’s meal we actually got 3 entrees.

Here are the groceries I bought on this day.


Gin light 1,800 colones $3.25 and the Coke Zero 1,460 colones or $2.63. Which is pretty good prices.


1,275 colones or $2.30


788 colones or $1.42


559 Colones or $1.01


1,000 colones or $1.80 These were really, really good!


4,517.50 colones or $8.50 this is 1/2 kilo or 1lb of sea bass.


8,100 colones or $14.61 this again is 1/2 kilo or 1lb.

 Here is what we spend on day 4 $151.57 spent and a total left on the budget of $739.41.  Paid $59.73 for community fees which covers water, security and trash removal. Still have to pay electric once we get the bill.

Day 5 was a pretty much stay at home day. So nothing really spent. At this rate I may have to have more stay at home day. Lets see how it goes. I still need to go get dog food! When I go to Coop to do that on day 7 I will also pay the electric bill.

Here is some of the food I prepared on day 5 while I was home hope you enjoy it!



So this is the start of Breakfast. 3 eggs, a couple slices of onion, 1/4 of a red pepper, and some mushrooms that were marinated in minced garlic. Yummy! I call it the Maryland Scramble.



You put the onions and peppers in with just a 1/2 teaspoon of evoo. Let them cook until they are nice and tender.


Than you add the mushrooms! Let it cook make sure you keep moving thing around so nothing burns.


Here is what makes it Maryland. You put just a pinch of Old Bay. Yea right a pinch! You cover that shit with old bay!


Scrabble your eggs and poor it in! Again keep that food moving so nothing stick or burns. Cook it to the point that you like your eggs. If you like them a little wet or completely dry. I like mine in the middle.



Here is the final dish. It was very filling. You can use what ever veggies you want its all good.

Here are some of the pictures from dinner.


That is onion, broccoli, tomatoes, red bell pepper and of course the garlic marinated mushrooms. Have I mentioned how much I love garlic and mushrooms?


Place 1/2 teaspoon of evoo with the onions and broccoli. They take the longest to cook. Just cook until they are soft. Keep moving it around don’t burn it.


Add the peppers! Add salt and pepper at this point.


Now add the tomatoes and keep it moving.


Now the mushrooms!



The final product! It is very tasty! Sorry picture is a little blurry. So that is it for day 4 and 5.

Pura Vida.


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Cost of Living day 3

So you know that one thing you can count on in Costa Rica is that your day will never go as you planned, but it will go as it should be. I actually went out to have lunch at one of our favorite restaurants and thank finish my grocery shopping and look for some gym equipment. Well I got most of that accomplished in 5 hours. 🙂

So lets start with lunch shall we. Got to Kay’s at about 12. Had a very nice lunch see pictures below. It was a much better price than we had the other day at Hard Rock Cafe and there was more food! it didn’t cost me 2 additional trips to the Treadmill to work it off either, so it was a win all the way around by eating local and not at a chain. The price of 10,500 colones in addition to what you are about to see 2 coke lights as well.


This was the Mama’s Meatloaf special. It was very tasty. The meatloaf was seasoned well and it was not dry! Always a plus! The string beans were very good and the potato was a nice touch and there was bacon!!!!! The side salad was good as well.


This was 2 veggie omelets that had a good taste, lots of veggies and very filling.



That is the chocolate cake that came with my meatloaf special. It was good as usual, but a little on the small size. I know it was free with the meal, but a little bigger would be nice.  It was smaller than what is usually served. I’m sure Kay was looking after my diet for me! 🙂 Over all still a good price for 2 coke zero’s, and unlimited ice tea (came with my special) and a full size piece of chocolate cake my wife ate, that I forgot to show which was about 3x bigger or more than this one. Cost was 10,500 colones.  Much better deal than yesterday!

So, after lunch we went off to find the gym equipment store that a couple people told me about. Guess what! Its not there any more! Go figure! It always seems to work that way. When you want something it just all of a sudden goes away. So that wasted time. Ok so lets go to the mall and visit the GNC. I did not include those purchases as it is very special items for our diet. That really shouldn’t count in the budget. We did get everything we wanted to get there. Some protein powder and protein bars and such. Mainly for snacking. You will notice no fruit in my shopping. So finally we are off to the grocery store.

This trip I decided to shop at Pricesmart for the few items. I say a few items as I forgot to make a list and didn’t get everything. So I will be going out later today to get what I forgot yesterday. What I would like to do is pick up the same items in the same quantities at other places each week so you can see the difference. I should have bought less but its Pricesmart so everything is in bulk!  Here is what I bought and the cost. This will last me about 2 weeks. I still need to get me some eggplant, onions, fish, and dog food. Hopefully that will  happen today. May check out the dreaded Maxi Pali that just opened up yesterday. If its not too crowded.


6500 Colones $11.73


950 colones or $1.71


1350 colones or $2.44


2125 colones or $3.84


5195 Colones or $9.38 I get these to handle my sugar drops. They are the best calories for the carbs.


1175 colones or $2.12


7173 colones or $12.95 this will make about 4 meals for us or more.


5198 colones or $9.38 There are 60 eggs total. Yes I had 3 for breakfast today.


3695 colones or $6.67 I buy this as I use mushroom in everything. i like fresh but a small tray of fresh is almost this price. They are good if you marinate them before you use them. I put them in a bowl in the fridge with garlic since I put them and garlic in almost everything I make.


7295 colones or $13.17 in the states this would be under $10 a bit more, but really what else can you use? Never looked if there is a local brand?


8995 colones or $16.23 Dog treats. This might last a week. Remember I have 10 dogs. 🙂 I’ve tasted them they are pretty good. 🙂 I wouldn’t eat a whole one, but I understand why my dogs love them!


So there are the groceries for the day. Yes you can get them cheaper other places and I will try to do that next time. I like the broccoli at pricesmart as it is precut and always looks good. Sometimes the local Ferria or Grocery stores have dark areas all though out so I don’t like getting it there. Ok now for the budget update.

day 3

Doesn’t look good for me. Still have electric, pool service, and community fees to pay. We are eating out again today for lunch. Again local place so cross your fingers.

Pura Vida!




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Restaurant Review: Sisso Taste of Jerusalem


I want to 1st say really good meal at a very good price!!! This is a great find. It is in a strip center called Plaza Florencia in Escazu. My wife and I were looking for a place to eat before we went to the movies that had a nice veggie selection. Yes we got our wish here. Very clean place with lots of parking and an attendant. Lots of other places in this center as well to eat and we may have to go try them out. So let us get to the reason we are all reading this specific blog entry THE FOOD!!!!!


So they started us off with this. On our diet we can’t really have it, but I was already to come off the diet. So as of today I am going to be off. I am however still going to try to use the tools the diet has given me to continue to lose some weight along with exercise. Back to the food. This is a crispy pita bread and I could taste the sunflower seeds in it! It was very tasty by itself. You add that tomato sauce to it and you have a nice flavor. The tomato sauce is a tomato reduction with chili dulce and herbs and spices. Of course she wouldn’t tell me what herbs and spices. 🙂 It was very good! I did eat all the tomato reduction, but only about 1/2 of the chips. 🙂


This was their version of a Greek Salad and they did a nice one. That was a big plate! The tomatoes and cucumbers were thick cut. They are hidden under the tomatoes you can see them peeking out. 🙂 Feta cheese and olives. I would have liked my items cut up, but this was worth the work of cutting things up. Had a very good taste and worth going back for.




This was called Berenjena Baladi don’t ask me I don’t know. I don’t even know if I spelled it correctly. The hummus was very tasty!!!! The black things that have a sauce on them are eggplant. Again very nicely done. They roast them and than grill it some how. I think that is what she said I’m not 100% sure. Now the salad and the black glob on the left of the plate was a make your own type of thing. She has you come up to the counter and pick the items you want on your side salad. They had a nice selection! I think it was one of the best salad bars I have seen. The black glob is more egg plant. It was an eggplant dinner no doubt! This was my main meal. it was filling!



This is their veggie platter and what my wife got as part of her meal. This is a meal. Again there is eggplant and we have huge tomato a piece of corn which I have to tell you was the best corn I have had in Costa Rica! It was tender and it was sweet! I would go back just for this corn!!!!!! Ant he other items is a potato. Grilled and some onions grilled. All of it had a nice flavor.


This was the wife’s main meal. She ad to remove the potato and the corn, but she could eat the rest. Again very nice meal. She felt the chicken was under seasoned, but I felt it was nicely done.


This I’m not sure which one of our meals it came with, but it was just torture having it sitting there. Very nice tasting pita. I had to try and and it was even better when you put it in the hummus!

So there is the food now for the prices:

We had 3 coke lights at 3000 colones, the Baladi plate I had was 3951.22 colones, The chicken plate my wife had was 4849.59 colones, The Greek salad was 4252.03 colones, and the veggie platter was 2252.03 colones. With tax and tip it came to 22,515.00 colones.  Now at today’s exchange rate that is $40.71 for our meal. That was pretty damn good for the amount of food we got and it being in Escazu. You walk away hungry and it is your own fault!!

So lets review: Good good at a fair price, parking is good, wait staff was nice, attentive and spoke some English. The place was clean and the bathroom was nice as well. So I give this place 5 seashell1out of 5. I don’t usually give this kind of rating as I can always find something wrong and take off one seashell, but really I couldn’t find anything! They do a great job and a fair price, who can ask for anything more than that! I will go back as it has now become one of my favorite places to eat!

Pura Vida!


Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food Chick Tip of the day 5/15/14


Today’s Chick Tip… new favorite egg salad…..mix four hard boiled eggs with one avocado and season with salt and pepper (I used lemon pepper and basil salt). Served today on a warm corn tortilla with baby spinach, tomato and just a tad bit of shredded cheese. The easy fruit salad is a kiwi, clementine and a strawberry!

BONUS TIP…..when storing the egg salad place the avocado seed in the container to keep it green!

Pura Vida!

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Restaurant Review: Leno Y Carbon


So, at the suggestion of our nutritionist we had lunch here one day. One would think she would keep our diet in mind when suggesting a place. You would think that if the meal says on the menu Zero carbs than it should have zero carbs right? Well that would be wrong. The zero carb meal we purchased had corn, and tortilla and cheese and all manner of things with carbs in them. So that didn’t make me happy, but lets move on.

The restaurant itself was very nice. Good parking, but it was a little busy, which is always a good sign. A very friendly parking attendant. The staff was very friendly and nice and kept us full and our table clear of dishes. So the service was very good.

One major complaint and I don’t know if it was just something on the day we were there or if this was just an issue in general, but there was no water in the bathrooms! The kitchen had water, but the bathrooms did not. You could not flush and you could not wash your hands! Luckily I did not find this out until the end of the meal. Lucky they did have pitchers of water in the bathroom that I used to flush and wash my hands with. My wife was not so lucky as they did not have these in the ladies room. 😦 So I am gong to have to take off major points for this issue.



So lets move onto the most important items the food!



This was the chicken salad and it was ok. The chicken was the hero of the salad as it should be. Very juicy and it was seasoned very well. The salad itself was lacking a few items and like in most restaurants it was not as advertised as far as the items that were suppose to be in it. Over all it was an ok salad.


This was the zero carb meal I was talking about. As you can see there are a few carbs in here. I forgot, well didn’t realize that the steak was going to have cheese on it. So I didn’t ask to leave it off. The chicken again was very tasty. It did have skin, but ate it before I realized I wanted to take a picture. There was a BBQ pork and the steak that I mentioned. Again BBQ has carbs. Not sure who is calculating the carbs on these meals, but they really need to take a nutrition class. Over all this was a good plate of food. You felt full after eating it and more so if you ate allt he stuff we had to pull off as they were too many carbs for our diet. The steak was a little tough, but not the worst I have had. The pork had a good flavor, but was a bit dry. The side salad was a side salad nothing to talk about there that is for sure.  My wife and I both got this same meal.

After a meal I sometimes like to have coffee. I have gotten in the habit of asking, “Do you serve Costa Rican coffee?” this waiter said and I quote, “hahhaha of course we do!” So out comes the coffee. Here is a video of that experience.

Here is a picture of the final product which was excellent! I loved the show and the taste of this coffee!


So I guess it is time to wrap this one up. The prices were fair. It was about $50 for 2 entrees, 1 salad,  2 1/2 cups of coffee and about 4 cokes. The food overall was good. I wouldn’t say it was great, but it was good. The service was great! No doubt about that. The bathrooms sucked. That is going to bring the rating way down sorry to say. Hopefully it was just a temporary issue and not a permanent one.  Would I go back and eat again? Yes especially when I am off the diet as I saw the desserts going to another table and if they taste anything like they look I want me some!!!!!!!!!!!

So I give them 2 seashell1out of 5.  I could have given them 4 if it wasn’t for the bathroom issue. I would go and check the bathroom 1st if bathrooms are an issue for you. If not I say go eat and enjoy!!!!!!!

Pura Vida!



Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Leave a comment

Food Chick tip of the day 5/8/14

Today’s Chick Tip…..Today’s tip comes to us from one of you, Wilma Jeanne. Wilma posted this a few weeks ago and I just had to try it. Quite delicious if I do say, thanks Wilma!

fc potato

BONUS TIP – if you are in a hurry microwave the potato for about 5 minutes to soften it up before slicing. Another tasty cooking method is to wrap it in foil and put it on the grill. One more tip – add some of your favorite fresh herb to the mix (my favorite, rosemary)

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Food Chick Tip of the Day 5/7/14

fc fruit

Today’s Chick Tip…..I could not resist buying a mini watermelon and canteloupe earlier this week, even though I knew it was way tòo early in the season for them to be summertime sweet. My fix, I added some fresh mint and put them in an airtight container for a couple of hours. The result was a delicious fruit salad!

Pura Vida!


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Food tip of the day 5/6/14

pancakes-1431-2 text

Grain-Free Banana Pancakes

People are always asking me how I eat without grains. I have stopped eating any wheat, rice, oats or other grains. It was an experiment last year that really paid off in terms of my digestive health and energy levels. I’m not intolerant to any of these items, but I have come to believe that my body (and most others) are not designed to handle grains.
I get asked especially about breakfast. Breakfast food is full of grains: cereal, toast, pancakes, waffles, and muffins. Lots of times I avoid grains at breakfast by avoiding these foods. Instead I eat a lot of eggs and vegetables. Scrambled eggs with some green beans on the side. A salad with a hard boiled egg. Two fried eggs plus the leftover broccoli from last night.

But I also make grain-free versions of all our favourite breakfast items.

These banana pancakes are just as simple as regular pancakes. I have written the recipe to be adaptable to any number of bananas. You need one egg for each banana.

Here are some other grain-free breakfast ideas:

Grain-Free Banana Pancakes
adapted from Real Food Forager
makes 3 medium or 6 small pancakes per banana

some very ripe bananas
1 egg per banana
1 T to 2 T coconut flour per banana
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla extract
butter or coconut oil, for frying

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer or a strong whisk to mix together the bananas and eggs.
Sift in 1 T coconut flour per banana used. If the batter is still runny, add more coconut flour. This depends on the relative sizes of the bananas and eggs.

Heat a frying pan to medium and add some butter or coconut oil to coat the pan.
Spoon the batter into the pan and wait four minutes. Check the underside of the pancakes, since they do not produce bubbles like regular pancakes.
Flip the pancakes and fry the other side for one or two minutes.
Repeat with the rest of the batter.

This post comes from Simply Cooked. Check out their blog!

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6 Food Combining Rules That Will Banish Indigestion Forever

So in my attempt to eat better and healthier I found this and figured I needed to share it. I like the concept and for at home eating I can see this being easier to accomplish, but if you eat out no way you can do this! So I get there have a glass of water or something. wait 30 min. Than I order a soup and eat it. Wait 30 min. Get a salad eat it wait 30 min. Now if I have bread with my dinner I am screwed. So gong to skip any starches. Order my dinner with just meat no sides and I’m done. So dinner is a min of 2hrs. If I should happen to have bread at any point I’m screwed as I will have to wait 2hrs. So I guess the planning should be to lump the foods together at different meals. So breakfast should be your fruits, lunch your veggies and bread and than dinner your meat. I guess you are good. This food combining thing seems very difficult if you ask me. Who knows. Anyone out there do it and want to share how you do it to help us out looking at this thing? I will be happy to post your input as a follow up! Enjoy!


food combining bento box

6 Food Combining Rules That Will Banish Indigestion Forever

This comes from Organic Authority’s website.

Do you eat healthy yet feel like a walking Pepto Bismol commercial? It’s not what you’re eating buthow you’re eating: improper food combining can cause gas, bloating, headaches, and stomach cramps among other icky things. The good news is you can combat your indigestion with a few simple tweaks to how you’re combining your meals and snacks.

Here’s the deal: each food we eat influences our digestive system in its own way. Some foods take longer to digest than others and require specific enzymes to do so. When you eat two different foods that are being digested with conflicting enzymes, the resulting discomfort isn’t pretty. Luckily, if you keep the following food combining tips in mind as you prepare future meals, you’ll feel an immediate improvement.

7 Food Combining Rules To Banish Indigestion Forever

1. Always eat fruit on its own

This is the most basic and important rule of food combining. Not only is fruit one of the fastest foods to digest, its acidity levels interfere with how other foods are being digested – which can cause fermentation in your stomach (Yuck!).

2. Don’t combine starches with protein

Starches and protein need different digestive enzymes (starches require an alkaline environment, while most proteins require acidic). When they’re combined, the two enzymes essentially cancel each other out, which causes fermentation and leads to bloating and gas. When working on food combining, always avoid foods like pasta, rice, bread, or potatoes served with chicken, steak, or fish.

3. Only eat one type of protein per meal

Some proteins require different digestive enzymes which can slow down digestion. Avoid eating nuts and meat, eggs and meat, cheese and nuts, cheese and eggs, etc. during the same meal. If you have protein for breakfast, try not to have any other protein until dinnertime to give your body time to fully digest it.

4. Avoid drinking liquids with your meals

Liquid can dilute the stomach acids necessary to aid digestion. Food combining rules dictate that you drink plenty of fluids before your meals, but never during. After eating, try to wait wait one hour before drinking liquids again.

5. Don’t mix starches and sugars

This one’s really going to blow your mind: things like jellies, jams, honey and syrups shouldn’t be eaten with bread or cake. Combining sugar and starch leads to fermentation, which means gas and bloating (and sometimes the fetal position – just trust me).

6. Eat meat last

Because food is digested in the order it’s consumed, it’s best to eat foods that are quickly digested first, followed by ones that require more time to digest. Here’s a general food combining guide to keep in mind as you’re preparing meals:

  • Water and Juice: 20-30 minutes
  • Fruit, Soup, and Smoothies: 30-45 minutes
  • Veggies: 30-45 minutes
  • Grains and Starches: 2-3 hours
  • Beans, Meat, Poultry, and Fish: 3+ hours

Bonus tip: Avoid eating while stressed or distracted. “We need to be in a calm state in order to properly digest our food and assimilate its nutrients,” says Dr. Carrie Runde, naturopathic physician at the Casey Health Institute. “The body’s not designed to eat a meal and digest it when the nervous system is in panic mode, so eating that sandwich while driving and talking on your cell phone may lead to bloating and cramping all afternoon.”

Have you tried food combining to improve your digestion?

Pura Vida!


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5 Top things Costa Rican Restaurants need to know

no inconsistency

In the wake of last night dinner and a friend making the suggestion to create a post about the top things Restaurants in Costa Rica need to know that they are doing wrong!

  1. INCONSISTENCY!!!!!! Yes please just say no! This if you listen to nothing else I say can save your Restaurant. Everything you serve should come out the same every time. If you salad calls for cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Make sure that is what it has on it every time. How do you combat this? Keep a recipe for every item listed on you menu. Say what you do and do what you say! Keep things measured. If one day your plate has 6oz of beef on it and the next there is only 4oz you will lose a customer or two or more when they talk to their friends or write a blog seen by hundreds  of people a day all over the world!  For the love of all that is the Food Gods if you have it on your menu be sure you have it at every service! Telling a customer you are out is bad! Yes it happens sometimes, but it shouldn’t always happen. Offer a discount on another option. They will lover you for it!
  2. Service believe it or not can actually make your restaurant a success even if you just have ok food and prices. A great wait staff that knows what they are doing, is attentive, knows when to play with the customer and when to leave them alone is golden! A glass should never go empty unless the customer says so. There should never be a dirty dish on the table. You should not have to ask for salt, pepper, napkins, or for gods sake silverware. You are in the service industry and you need to stand out above the rest! If a customer asks a question about a menu item you server should not have to run and go check for you. They should know the menu in and out.
  3. Price for Quality is again a big point and one of the hardest points for a restaurant to control. You are not going to pull the wool over a customers eyes buy charging more and serving less. I like most, but not all customers are willing to pay a little more if #1 and #2 are there and the quality of the food being served is there as well. In Costa Rica local fruits and veggies are the cheapest anywhere. You should be shopping and looking for those bargains. If you are selling a $12 salad it better be one amazing salad! If your steak dinner is $30 you better have over 8oz of meat and it better be tender and juicy. Don’t be greedy. Higher prices will kill your business. Restaurants thrive on repeat business not the one timers. If your price for the quality is way too high that is all you are going to get is one timers.
  4. Presentation of the food is the cherry on top of the Sunday. If what you are serving looks like you just slopped it on a plate it tells the customer you really don’t care. If you don’t care whey should they care to come back. I’m not talking big and fancy and swirls and stacks that like like you created a master piece, but something presentable. It should be neat and organized on the plate. There should be room and space for people to cut their food without it falling off the plate. This doesn’t mean give them less. See #3 it means get new plates! If it doesn’t look appetizing it may not be appetizing!
  5. Cleanliness is that which binds all these things together and makes you THE RESTAURANT to go to.  The tables should be neat and in order and bused. See #2. Utensils, floors, counters, etc should be clean. Here is a big tip! Bathrooms need to be clean, orderly and functional! Nothing will turn off a customer faster and have them not return than a bathroom that is disgusting. If that is  how you keep the bathroom, the customer is going to wonder how do you keep your kitchen! I have been to places where there is no running water to wash your hands, no toilet seats, no paper towels.

So in summary Good food, good service, good prices, good presentation, and a clean place will keep your customers coming back time and time again. They will also tell their friends who will tell theirs. People will blog your praises to hundreds of views a day all over the world! So please restaurant owners of Costa Rica heed my words and take care. You never know who is there and what reach they have to either praise you or bury you in the sand!

Want to turn your restaurant around? Email  me at I would be happy to come in and evaluate (not review) your place and help you to make it the best place in town!

Pura Vida!

Don’t forget to check out our Cafe Press shop! $3 of every item purchased goes to Charities here in Costa Rica. Also check out our House for Saleand Rent listings as well!  If you are traveling and you want a cheap $4.99 a month and good VPN so you can watch hulu, your countries Netflix, and amazon click here. Good for travel or if you live here in Costa Rica. Don’t forget about our Amazon shop as well!


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Restaurant Review: California Bar and Grill (Formerly Bar Rill)

So we were asked to join about 19 friends tonight for dinner. We went to a local restaurant now called California Bar and Grill it used to be called Bar Rill. New owners took over about a month and a half ago. The owner seems like a very nice man, as we have met him a couple of times now. We went when they 1st opened up and I decided not to do a review as it was their 1st night open. It wasn’t advertised as such he wanted a soft opening. A friend told us that they were going to have a salad bar! Oh yes there is that damn “S” word again. So we decided to go check it out. This was back before we went on the WCE (Worst Cruise Ever) back in the end of March. So not going to rehash that just click the link for the Salad war and the WCE is back up for this story. Well just an over view in case you don’t want to read those or you already have and don’t remember.


So we get there and our friends are already there and as soon as we walk in they let us know there is no salad bar. So we ask the owner and he tells us that they were not ready to open up the salad bar yet, but they will have it next week. Our problem is next week we will be on the cruise. So we figure ok we will check it out on our return. We did and no salad bar. Oh well lets move on. So “S” Word recap done. Flash forward to current!


Tonight we get there and a number of our group are already there and eating. They got there early. Cool so hopefully the kitchen won’t be over worked if everyone comes in at different times. So we sit down and about 10 minutes the waiter comes and asks us what we would like to drink. “Diet Coke please” He than says, “No we don’t have diet coke”  we than say, “Oh ok whatever you have that is diet.” He than responds, “Nothing” Oh great than just give us water. Well water is better for us. I think the waiter did tell the owner how upset we were that we had to drink water and they ran next door to the store and bought a 6 pack. Others came in and ordered diet coke as well, so we only had 1 coke. So we nursed it the entire time we were there.


Now for this bit keep in mind that this was a large group and the owner knew we were coming days before this event. We were there to support our Doctora Candy’s brother who was doing live music. So he had another big party of the family members for the singer. So he knows this way in advance. We look over the menu and the food seems good. Looks like stuff we can eat on our diet. The prices seem reasonable. So we wait and we wait and we wait. Now we are at about 45 min since we ordered our soda. Finally he comes over to take our order after I flag him down. I asked for Ensalada Verde, Ceveche, and I order the whole fish. Nope they don’t have that. Ok now after 45 minutes of thinking I am going to have a whole fish I now have to look at the menu again. Which i had to borrow from someone else as he took ours to give to someone else as they didn’t have enough menus to go around. He than tells me they have other fish. GREAT! I say, “Sólo el pescado con una ensalada verde y verduras a la parrilla” Now mind you my Spanish isn’t that good, but he spoke English and I said in in English as well be he seemed rushed. My wife than ordered the Filet mignon paused to see if he would say they didn’t have it and ordered it medium rare as usual. He repeated it back and said medium and before she could correct him he ran off. Ok that is fine if it comes out medium she will deal with it. Whatever.


So again we wait……..and wait…..Mean while mind you our one set of friends who sat across from us ordered before we did. Again mind you they came in after us. Again whatever. Here he comes with our food. Wait didn’t they order before us? OK oh well Pura Vida. So here are pictures of what we got.




Now remember I ordered Ceveche which looks nice, but look at my plate. A breaded fish which I was not told would be breaded. A side salad, rice, beans, avocado and a plantain. Yea so not what I had ordered. So I try the ceveche 1st. Its room tempature? Ok not sure about this. It was ok, but nothing to write home about and may have tasted better if it was actually cold. Ok no problem. Looked at the beans can’t have those but I will try it. Oil just sitting on the top and it was very runny. So ok dip the tip of my spoon in it so I can taste it. Oh my got my sugar just shot though the roof!!!! Ok so I’m thinking haven’t had sugar in a long time so had someone taste it. Yep they agreed. Lots of sugar in the beans. Not what I was expecting. So I move onto the salad. Oh by the Gods do the restaurant owners not know what a salad spinner is? The salad was so wet I could have used it to wash my hands. I tilted the plate and water just ran off it. So I taste it. Nope no taste what so ever. Ok lets move on. I take a tiny piece of the plantain. Nope yuck. On to the fish. It was actually warm inside! Plus! Score! Well other than trying to scrape off the batter. Which I couldn’t so I just ate it as is, because I was so hungry at this point. The fish itself had a good flavor, but it was ruined by the batter and the fact that it was deep fried! So there was grease everwhere. YUCK! The rice was rice. It was ok no salt no flavor at all just rice. Now here it he kicker. This next picture is the same dinner. Do you see any difference? The quality was the same as mine. BAD! Look at it and than look at mine. So consistency in preparation is lacking yet again.


So the this next picture is my wife’s meal. Again salad sucks. The steak if you remember was suppose to be medium rare, he heard medium. It came out raw!!!!!! It also was just room temperature and the bacon it was wrapped in was almost not cooked at all either. I told my wife to send it back, but nope she didn’t as she was starving at this point as well so she ate it. She did say it was seasoned well and it didn’t seem tough. So two good points.


This last picture is the price. The owner did knock off 10% for the issues. Well that was nice.Considering I sent back almost my entire plate and 1/2 the ceveche 10% is just a gesture. He would have scored more ponts had he just charged me for the 2 diet cokes and my wife’s meal.



Now remember my friends who ordered before us? Well they got their food last. 3 couples and one single person who had ordered after them (got the same food as them some of them) got their food 1st. Don’t know if they forgot them or what. So I had to flag him down and ask where their food was. He apologized and in about 15 minutes their food came out. Her’s was the same as mine above and his was shrimp tacos. He said the shrimp tacos were ok. The shrimp seem a bit greasy. I guess it was the butter garlic sauce. It only came with the shrimp on the tortilla and a little cup of chopped onions and a little cup of salsa. Not really what I would call tacos but ok.


I surveyed the table of 19 people. Some said their food was ok and other said it was not good. Most of the complaints was no flavor and room temperature food. We had one young server doing our table of 19 and a smaller table of 6 or so. I felt sorry for the poor kid. Oh and to top it all off the salad bar is still listed on his menu! Even though two weeks or more ago he told me he wasn’t doing it.

So lets wrap this up shall we they get 1 seashell1out of 5. I’m only giving them 1 as the place was nice, the live music by Clasicos del Almawas really good and the company we were with. I’m sorry to say this is now our 3rd trip there and we were disappointed each time. I have a 3 strikes rule, so we won’t be back! It must be something about that place as when it was Bar Rill we had the same issues with the food and service. If this as a drop in group out of the blue I could have cut him some slack, but he planned the live music and he knew there were going to be two large groups. No excuse. Sorry. I hate doing bad reviews, but sometimes you have to call it as you see it.

Pura Vida!


Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | 2 Comments

Spanish names for Cuts of Meat!

This will come in handy! I know I will be using it next time. Although my butcher speaks English, so but you never know. Always good to have!

This was posted byt Ninfa DePalma on a facebook group. 

Spanish meat cuts

Pura Vida!


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Animales Atenas Costa Rica Dance Fundraiser

dog dance

at 6:00pm


It’s time for another dance to raise money for Animales Atenas Costa Rica. Come join in the fun at Don Tadeo’s Sports Bar Friday May 9th. We will have a small entry fee plus a 50/50 raffle (one winner gets half the money). Let’s dance the night away for a great cause! (Ok maybe not dance the night away, we’re starting at 6:00 for all of us who go to bed EARLY!!)

Categories: Charity, Food, Restaurant Reviews | Leave a comment

Costa Rica Expensive? What? Part II Groceries


So this is Part II and in this one I will talk about the cost of Groceries and what they cost. So sit back have a cup of your favorite coffee and I really hope you are drinking Costa Rica Coffee and not Nesacafe instant! and enjoy today’s offering.




Like most things in Costa Rica it is really all about location and what you are willing to accept and not accept. As an example I was walking though Pricesmart and there were a couple items I was looking for. One was way to pricey even for me and the other item was way to pricey even for me, but I bought it anyway. So why did I buy one, but not the other. I know the 1st one I could get somewhere else cheaper and I would be going there as my next stop and the other I know I wouldn’t be able to get it anywhere else. Now I could have just done without it as it wasn’t a necessity to have, but I bought it any way. Its all a matter of your outlook and your pocketbook. There are so many options for your grocery needs in Costa Rica. Sometimes I think more than even in the states. I have complied below a list of a couple of those options with prices at each for the same or very similar items. You will notice that I only gave prices for 1 place for meats. I find all the other places to be inferior quality meat and thus would not suggest buying it at any of the places listed on the chart. As you can see his prices are so much better and so is the quality!

So lets 1st talk about Pricesmart. There are a couple of them here in Costa Rica. They are the equivalent to Costco in the states. They do have kirkland brands and a majority of your US brands you are looking for. Some items are cheaper while others are not. The difference between the bulk stores in the US and the ones in Costa Rica, is that bulk doesn’t mean cheaper here. You can go to a local market and buy 6 let say Paper towel rolls and it be the same price as a pack of 6 in Pricesmart. The meat products here are in larger quantities and they just don’t look good to me. Many people get their meat here, but there are better options!

Auto Mercado is the equivalent to Giant in the states. Its design and layout is very much the same. Again many US, Canadan, and German products can be found here. Their chicken and seafood is very good. The meats are hit and miss. They are way more expensive than Uncle Earls. You can find North American style cuts here as well as the local stuff.

Coope is the local Co-operative market here in Atenas. Now the prices I gave for them in the chart is the regular everyday prices. All items have two price stickers on the shelves. One is higher than the other. On Wednesdays the Coop day you get the lower price. Some items it is worth going in when they are busy for while others not so much. You do have options for lower prices if you shop on a Wednesday.

Feria is the local farmers market. Prices are cheaper here. Mostly fruits and veggies. There are many other things you can get at the Feria and many people buy their meat here. Me personally can’t bring myself to do it. Just don’t like the looks of things and again beef you can forget about it!!!!!!! Don’t even bother. If you missed it here is the video of my trip to the Feria with Eunice from Remax.

Uncle Earls is a butcher. A very good one at that. I will only buy my North American style beef products from him. See my blog post where I talk about the meat here in Costa Rica. Moo…Mooo…Slaughter…Grill…Eat!

Last but not least is Walmart! Yes they have Walmart here in Costa Rica. All of them have groceries. They are very much like the Walmarts in the states. I really can’t see a difference. Not even in the prices really. So, it should go without saying but I am going to say it they have US brands here. Walk into a Costa Rica Walmart and you feel like you have just went back to the states.

Now in addition to these you also have the Mega Super’s, The Pali’s, the, Mas x Menos, and the list could go on. There is a war raging right now for your $’s. So I would suggest taking a list and checking out the prices at all of these places and decide which is cheaper and most convenient for you to shop at. Once you know plan out your day and set a driving route that maximizes your drive and you get the best products at the best prices.  It will take a little work on your part, but your pocketbook will thank you!

So below is a price comparison chart for groceries at each one of these places. I used Giant from the US to show US prices. I have used a currency converter to get the most recent exchange rates. I converted everything from KG to Lbs, and gallons to liters or liters to gallons. I tried to match the quantities at each location as best I could. This is pretty much comparing apples to apples. If I couldn’t find a US brand at one of the Costa Rica stores I used a local brand that was comparable to it. So take a look at the chart and than lets talk! 🙂

grocery prices

Ok so as you can see Costa Rica is the winner! Most of the items I priced were cheaper here in Costa Rica than in the states. Yes some were more expensive, but over all grocery shopping is less expensive here than in the US. Now this next chart really bring it home.

groceries compared

Now with this chart I made sure that each store I added up the same items. If the items didn’t exist in the big chart at the top in all the stores than I did not include the item in the total. So this is apples to apples again. What you should notice is that for your produce it is cheaper to go to the Feria. As it should be! Again the US loses! Your other items its kind of  a close run. The US did win when it comes to the other non food items, but not by much if you look at Pricesmart. Again because it is mainly a US brand store its pretty close to Giant prices in the US.  It would pale in comparison to a Costco in the states. This isn’t a bad thing, because as you can see the other items are more expensive at the other stores.

Here are a few other things you need to know about shopping in Costa Rica. Let me stress this one point by telling you a little story. I promise to make it short. 🙂 Well as short as I can tell a story. Oh god its already gone on too long and I haven’t even begun the story yet.

So when we 1st got to Costa Rica and got our pricesmart card we were so happy. We shopped there all the time. There was this one item that my wife loved. It was Pineapple jelly! We bought it every time we went shopping. All of a sudden it isn’t there? Strange? Did they move it? Nope. Ok they are just out. So we go back the next time. Yes its there. We buy a jar. Next time nope not there. Next time nope not there. It has been over 8 months and the Pineapple jelly has not returned to pricesmart. I thought to myself, self ok they discontinued it or can’t get it any more. I started to see this trend in Auto Mercado and Walmart and Coope. Ok there is something to this, so I asked around. What I was told by a couple of people was this. If an items begins to sell like hot cakes, they will discontinue the item. It is more work to keep restocking the shelves so they just don’t carry it any more. This falls under the Pura Vida category. So the moral of this short yet now so short story is do not fall in love with any item. One day it is here and the next it is gone. Make sure you have options and alternatives.

  1. Buy it while you can and every time you can. You never know when it will go away or for how long it will go away. So stock up. I have 7 jars of minced garlic in my pantry right now as it went away for 2 months once.
  2. Price shop. This is common anywhere. Check your prices. Check them closely. Sometimes the local brands are cheaper and just as good, but sometimes they are not. I have been shocked that an imported items was way cheaper than a local product. Don’t just grab the item you know. It will raise the cost of your grocery shopping!
  3. Sometimes once you factor in costs driving around to other places it doesn’t save you money to save on certain items by going to more than one place to shop.

We go shopping once a week. We make a day of it. We go to our dietitian in the morning. We have lunch some where. I than hit the Pricesmart (right near where we usually have lunch) than we hit the Auto Mercado, on the way home, and than Coope if we need. I very seldom every shop at Walmart. Kind of out of the way and their prices are too much like those in the states. So we leave in the am and are home about 4pm. Its an all day event. Now I have to admit that I do not shop at the Feria much. As I get my veggies at either Pricesmart or Auto Mercado or Coope. Its a matter of convenience I am there and the prices are just a little more expensive and the Feria isn’t on the day I do my shopping. I could change the day, but again its a matter of preference really. I have developed my route that I’m only going maybe 10 min. out of my way driving time to visit all 3 places in one day.

There really isn’t anything you can’t either find here in Costa Rica or substitute. Its a matter of changing your mind set. You are in a new land and new ways of doing things and new foods in some cases. Shop local and shop fresh! Change the way you eat and shop and you can spend very little on groceries.

Part III will be on transportation costs. Own a car or take public transportation?

So let me go ahead and wrap this one up. I give Costa Rica 4 seashell1 out of 5 for Groceries! The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 out of 5 is the now you see it now you don’t aspect of what may or may not be available.

Pura Vida!




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Restaurant Review: Hidalgo’s Steak House

Hidalgo's logo

Yes Hidalgo’s steak house is up on the chopping block today for review. Can I say I really like this place a lot. So lets start with showing you some pictures of the property. This place is huge! You should go during the day so you can walk around and look and explore. He has what I like to call a little museum. I keep going at night so I don’t get to look around much, but I do plan to go during the day one day this week. So here are some pictures of the property.

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So let us get to the bigger point and the reason we are all here reading this blog. THE FOOD!!!! Well I can actually say I have been here many times before. I have never, ever been disappointed by my meal. Here is what we got the night we were there. We started off with these two dishes.

IMG_2092 IMG_2091

Yep you guess it Ceviche! Mine is on the top and my wife’s is on the bottom. Mine was just corvina and hers was a mix of corvina and shrimp. It was very, very tasty. Now I will have to say the shrimp in my wife’s dish did taste like it was steamed not cooked in the juice of the Ceviche. I think he may have been out and didn’t want to disappoint my wife.

Just a quick tip I learned a long time ago in the Restaurant business. It is much better to say you are out and apologize and try to sell something else than to try to throw something together and have it not be as good as what you could have served. As an example in my restaurant we served pizza. Well someone didn’t order enough cheese, not me, and we had this huge rush over the weekend and Sunday (we are closed on Mondays) we run out at like 1pm. We are open until 10pm. I have my guys go out and buy cheese from one of the other pizza shops in the area. (Yes we would help each other out like that from time to time. I sold bread and other items to other shop owners) I got nothing but complaints! They hated the cheese! I explained it to them and offered them a discount on the next order. Now the consensus from the people who complained, as I did ask what they would have liked us to do was that I should tell them we are out and offer them another choice with a discount. That is what I did the next time it happened and I got Zero complaints!

So back to the food. This was very tasty! It was presented well and had a good flavor to it.


OH the great salad war of 2014 comes to mind with this one. If you have not read that blog post please click on the link and read it before you go any further. This was an ok salad. It had Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumber, peppers, and onions. Now if he would just added maybe some Zucchini and broccoli this would be a very good salad. I would also suggest cutting the veggies up a bit. I hate having it on my plate and trying to cut everything and the food falling off the plate as it was full. Plate being full is a great thing, but not when you have to cut up the veggies. The dressing was a mustard and was very tasty!


Crap didn’t notice not a good picture,but this is the T-Bone! Nice! It was cooked just the way we ordered it. It had a very good flavor, even without a salsa on it. We got double veggies so he gave us grilled broccoli and its under the steak and it was a good amount! Very tender! It did have a bit of gristle on the one side, but that is to be expected on T-Bones. My suggestion would be to check it before it is cooked and trim that off before you put it on the grill. Very nice meal!


This was the rib eye! Nice! Tender! Juicy!  Cooked just the way I ordered it medium rare! This is in a jalapeno sauce! Not to hot, but has a nice kick to it. I do like my sauce to make me cry and sweat, but this was still a very nice sauce for the normal person! I enjoyed it very much. My wife tasted it and said she is going to get it next time! Again the same broccoli as my wife’s dish. The presentation is very good! This was a great steak dinner!

Now he does have limited hours so be sure to check is Facebook page. The link to his page is at the top of this article if you haven’t already checked it out you should and once you have gone and had a great meal at his place give him a like!!!!!!

So lets wrap this one up shall we. The place was very clean and neat and very nice. The grounds are huge and beautiful even at night. I will tell you at night you need to bring some bug spray. It doesn’t interfere with your dining experience so don’t let that stop you from coming at night. Its Costa Rica after all and all the restaurant are open air. The food was excellent! The service was amazing! The presentation was as you can see very nice! The proprietors are so nice and so accommodating and so, well just wonderful! The husband waits on everyone and the wife cooks. The prices are reasonable. Not the cheapest, but fair. So we had the 2 ceviche, 2 large salads, 2 steak dinners, 4 coke zero, a coffee (local not instant) he grinds the beans for each serving and a tea and it was about $60. Not bad for that!

I give them 4 seashell1out of 5. Now if the salad just had two more items, the steak had no gristle and the shrimp were not steamed I would have given them 5 out of 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You must go see them! Facebook message them or call ahead to check that they are open. Sometimes they close for private parties. Love this place!

Pura Vida!





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Costa Rica Expensive? What? Part I 1/2 (Video)

So while I was out gathering up prices for my Part 2 I took some video. We went to he Friday Faria in the center of Atenas. It is always nice to get out and support the local community. You can shop, eat, meet people and just have a nice time. So I hope you will enjoy this offering until my Part II is completed. I want to be sure to bring you all the correct pricing and information that I can. So grab your favorite drink, be it coffee, tea, or something with a little kick, watch and enjoy the video is about 12 minutes long, but worth the watch. I want to thank Eunice for coming a long and helping me with this video. She was a dream and a pleasure and showed me many things! Enjoy!

Pura Vida!


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Food Chick Tip of the Day 4/25/14

locarbWith the spring and summer months upon us many folks are looking for some quick fixes for the ex- tra pounds that reached our waist lines over the winter, I know I definitely am! This month we are going to concentrate on low carb snacks and light meals and reiterate the “little” things we can do to help burn some extra calories.

I am going to revert back to my former “life” in Baltimore where I had a small catering company called Dinner at Your Door. We specialized in the South Beach Diet and actually had several clients whom we made three squares and two snacks and a dessert for seven days a week. We helped one couple lose a combined total of 80 pounds in six months. Of course, they were also on a regimented exercise plan. I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to exercise and eat right for both your physical and emotional health!

Don’t be afraid that low carb means low flavor, trust me, it does not. This month’s recipes will show you how flavorful and easy it is to live a low carb life- style. I am not saying don’t eat carbs, I love my breads and starches but I am say- ing that too much might be just that, too much! At the restaurant we use a lot of whole wheat flour for many of our rec- ipes including our wonderful Cream of Crab Soup. Again, just a little twist on a traditional comfort food! Low carb living! For this month let’s do a day’s worth of eating South Beach Style! Beginning with your morning we will have a full day’s worth of food including breakfast, lunch, dinner, two snacks and dessert. Yes, you can even have dessert!

BREAKFAST Swiss Cheese and Vegetable Frittata – be sure to have your ingredients ready as omelets cook quickly and if avail- able use a non-stick pan so your eggs slide off easily. • 2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) • ½ small onion, thinly sliced • ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced • 1 small plum tomato, diced • ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried basil (I prefer 1 teaspoon fresh basil cut into thin strips) • 3 eggs, slightly beaten • ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomato and seasoning, cook for three minutes. Meanwhile, season eggs with salt and pepper and whisk. Pour directly over vegetable mixture and swirl pan so eggs completely surround vege- tables until eggs are almost set, about 5 minutes. Finish off under broiler until eggs are fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. This recipe serves 2.

MID-MORNING SNACK Peppery Cheese Popcorn – this would be a great dessert to sneak into the movie
theatre after dinner! • 6 cups freshly air popped popcorn (1/3 cup uncooked kernels) • Butter flavored cooking spray • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt Place popcorn in a large mixing bowl and coat lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese, pepper and salt to taste. This recipe serves 2-3.

LUNCH Bulgur, Cucumber and Mint Salad – this is also a great side dish for grilled fish. • 1 ½ cups water • ¾ cup bulgur wheat • 2 plum tomatoes, diced or 8 grape tomatoes cut in half length wise • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded, • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint • 2 tablespoons EVOO • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice • Salt and pepper to taste • Bring water and bulgur to a boil in a medium sauce pan, reduce heat to low and cover until water is absorbed and bulgur is tender, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Spread bul- gur on a large plate. Toss in ½ the mint and place in refrigerator to cool for 5 minutes. Trans- fer to a mixing bowl and fluff with a fork, adding remaining dry ingredients. Whisk together the lemon juice and EVOO and toss the mixture. Garnish with remaining mint. Serve room temperature or chilled. This recipe serves two.

AFTERNOON SNACK Celery with Herbed Cream Cheese and Walnuts • 1/3 cup walnuts • 1 8 ounce packet reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives • 16 large celery stalks, trimmed • Salt and pepper to taste Heat oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees. Spread walnuts on baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until fragrant and then roughly chop. Combine walnuts with cream cheese and chives in a mixing bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Using a rubber spatula fill each stalk with mix. This recipe makes 8 servings. (this is a great make ahead snack that will hold for 3-4 days)

DINNER Lamb Chops with Chimichurri Sauce with Feta, Cucumber and Radish Sal- ad – this Mediterranean style dinner is perfect for dinner on the patio! • 8 3 ounce lamb chops • ¼ cup EVOO • 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves • 2 peeled garlic cloves • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice • ½ teaspoon dried oregano • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Heat grill to high. Rub lamb chops with EVOO and salt and pepper. Grill 3 minutes per side for medium rare. Re- move meat from heat and allow to rest for minutes. Meanwhile combine re- maining ingredients in a food proces- sor and combine until just pureed. Sea- son with salt and pepper and serve with lamb. This recipe serves four. Feta, Cucumber and Radish Salad • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced radishes • ½ cup fresh mint leaves • 2 tablespoons minced red onion • 2 tablespoons

EVOO • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar • 5 ounces reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste • Combine all ingredients (except feta and salt and pepper) and toss in a mixing bowl. Gently toss in feta and salt and pepper to taste. This recipe serves four.

Don’t forget to stop by her facebook page and give her a like and drop her a comment about what you think of this post.

Pura Vida!


Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Food Chick, Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Bella Italia Restaurant in Atenas

Menu 1

So this place just opened up here in Atenas it is right across from I.C.E. in the town center. Here is a picture from the tables.


So it is very nice place. There were a few little hiccups, but the Owner fixed them right away so it was all good. Lets get right to the food shall we. While we were waiting they send this out for us for free.


This was very nice treat. It was toasted well. The salsa we pretty good. I can’t have the bread on my current diet but I did take a taste so I could give a view of it. I did take a taste of all the food that was presented. So the next item up is.


Ensalada Mixta : Nice looking salad. The salad is where I had an issue. There was a little bit of label left on the peppers that were cut. Good thing is you could see it was cleaned well. They took it away and replaced with a new salad. Perfect and as it should be. Now the other issue which is an issue with restaurant in general in Costa Rica is that the menu made no mention of oranges. Nice treat, but I can’t have them! So I gave them to my friend who also got this salad. So bonus to her she got extra oranges. Now it was suppose to have lettcus, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and hard boiled egg. When it came out the 1st time it did not, but the new one did have eggs but still missing the onions.It doesn’t say red peppers but it had red peppers. Again thanks to my friend who pointed it out. She also got a new salad because hers didn’t have egg on it. Now this was a good salad. If it had maybe two more types of veggies in it and remove the oranges, I would put this one in my top 5 salads in Atenas. So to make this to my top 5 it needs to be lettuce, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, hard boiled egg, chili dulce and another veggie of some sort. Now the price is a little high for what you get. It was $6.


Margarita pizza: The dreaded pizza debate! The crust wasn’t cracker crust so a plus! See my blog called Pizza! Pizza! on what I think makes a good pizza. A good amount of cheese. It was a little over done. I did try a little piece so I could speak to its taste. It was ok. Not a great pizza but it was an ok pizza. The crust was bland, the sauce was ok, and the cheese was good. It would be #3 on my pizza picks for Atenas. Might even move up as the prices are reasonable! The small one is $7. More than enough for 1 or even two people to eat. So it get bumped up on the value. I think their highest price pizza is $13.66.


Lomito de Res: This was a good meal. The veggies were done well. I forget to ask for no mash and extra veggies, but that is ok. The veggies were cooked in butter, but oh well. They tasted yummy! I am not suppose to have real butter. The mash potatoes I put a little on my fork to taste it. They were ok nothing impressive and they needed salt. Now lets talk about the steak. I was not asked how I wanted my steak and it came out medium rare! Perfect!!!!! So those who don’t like it that way you may want to be sure to ask how it will be cooked. It wasn’t the most tender steak I have had, but it wasn’t the worst either. I could cut it wth the butter knife I had with a little effort, but not much so it was tender. It needed some spice of some sort. Maybe a little more salt and pepper would have given it a very nice flavor. This meal was $12. Not a bad price. I have had less for more. So it is a good value for a steak meal.



Vegitariano Mixta: This was to have Squash, eggplant and tomato and it did! It was very good. Seem the owner who was the cook has a light hand with the salt. Which is ok taste the food 1st and be ready to add salt. In a town of a lot of expat retired people that might be a good thing. This one cost $6 as well. I think it would be better priced at $4 but better value for the value than the $6 salad which also if it was $4 would be better priced.


Filet de Corvena: The fish was grilled well. The veggies were the same as what was on my plate. The potatoes again were the same, but she got double the amount that was put on my plate. This was priced at $8. I think a very good price for the amount of food and again it needed salt but it was good.

This was the only big problem I had with this place!


Yes cringe now!!!!!! They only serve pepsi!!!! The only bad part!! Really……

Here are some other pictures of the place. It was clean, neat and very nice. The bathroom is for the entire strip center but I did not use them, but I’m told they were clean. Since they are public I can’t use them for a review of the restaurant.



So lets us wrap this one up shall we. We had two appetizers, 2 dinners (Steak and Fish), and 4 drinks for a little over $36. Not bad at all really!  The food needs to be seasoned a little more. but over all was done well. The price is very reasonable. The owner/cook came out and talk to us. He was very friendly. Only spanish, but I got most of what he was saying. I will go back many times. Especially once I can eat pasta and such! So good job guys.

So I give them 4 seashell1out of 5!

Pura Vida!





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Great Costa Rica Salad War of 2014

So it seems an innocent post on Facebook has erupted like Mount Saint Hellens! Here is the post I made in the Facebook group.

So anyone know if the under new management Bar Rill is actually doing a salad bar like I have been told and have yet to see?”

Who knew what this one little comment would grow into. It was fierce and it was bloody. People blocked people and just was not pretty. Now the issue is Bar Rill a nice enough restaurant has been taken over by new management. One day while sitting at Greggos a bar we go to for dinner once a week, a friend says, “So hey you know Bar Rill is got a new owner and he is going to be doing a salad bar?” He knows we are on a diet and need to eat lots of veggies so this would be great! I love a good salad bar and have not found on here in Costa Rica that is good. Pizza hut had one but it was small, you got one trip  and it cost like $10! STOP THE INSANITY! I digress. So I say cool when do they start? He tells me on Wednesday. So my wife and another couple go to check this out. Well the one couple that joined us the wife is a vegetarian, so she too is excited about his Salad bar. The best part is all you can eat for $6. Amazing. I’m so juiced and so ready for this. We get there and we notice no salad bar. OK lets check it out we are here and see what its all about. So we talk to the owner and he wasn’t ready. Tells us they will have it next week. It just so happens we go on a cruise next week so hopefully it will be up and running and ready to go by the time we come back from our cruise.

We get in on a Saturday from a long flight and airline food. So we are hungry and ready for a great salad bar in Atenas. We go to the restaurant and Nope no salad bar! Really? I had my heart set on a nice, personally made, full of goodness salad bar. So we turn around and head out. The owner comes up and asks us to come back in. I explain we were looking for the salad bar and would be back when it is up and running. His reason was the cook was out sick today. Not sure that is a good reason. Salad bars are the easiest thing to do when you cook is out sick. I still today have not heard of a salad bar being set up. Which is why I asked the question I did in the Facebook group. So now you are all caught up on what prompted me to start the Great Costa Rica Salad War of 2014.

Now the war itself was pretty funny really, but people take their food and salad very seriously. Another shop owner who does a wonderful Sunday Brunch with all kinds of food on it says,”as a matter or fact I may try to add to Sunday brunch” and this is when it started to get stupid and crazy. Here are some of the comments that were said after this message. 

There are a lot of bad food choices at salad bars”

Wow really bad choices? Like what carrots? Broccoli? Nice green veggies? Yes I will agree dressing does make your health salad unhealthy. Use a nice vinaigrette or just some oil and vinegar. Or just a splash of lemon or and or lime juice. bad food choices? Really? 

A “salad bar” in the tropics ….??? Poor restaurant owners … they will lose colones big time.”

Really? With the proper equipment and the proper management of the items its not that hard! A nice cooling table with lids and you are going to be just fine. Which is the equipment that Bar Rill happens to have! Becasue no tropical place has a salad bar! 

So at this point the owner who does the Sunday brunch, keep in mind the above are just highlight of what was said. There were many, many more messages. These were just the ones I found to be the most outrageous. So back to it. He asks if there is an interest in adding (not replacing), but adding a salad items to the bar. Here is what happen and you will just chuckle yourself to death on this one.

 I vote no. It’s not feasible from a restaurant owner’s view I think. And, when I go for Sunday brunch, the last thing I would want to order is salad because I am there for eggs, bacon, hash browns, a bit of fruit, toast. I want breakfast. How much can one person eat at one meal? Salad is for later”

Ok so has this person ever been to Brunch in their life? Really? “Br(reakfast((l)unch) combined. What do a lot of people have for lunch? Oh by the Gods Salad! Say it isn’t so! Who is anyone to say what is feasible or not for a restaurant owner. That is really up to them not us to say. He is only adding it to the bar. Not replacing items or making it some big production. They already do a huge veggie omelet when they have the omelet station so no big deal. This is the part I really love when we started talking about items. This was said.

this is Costa Rica, I want to eat Costa Rican foods”

Ok so no items that anyone listed on the “Brunch” Bar are Costa Rican Fair! Not even the eggs Benedict when they have it! You want to see some Costa Rica items for Breakfast here are some you will love and I think should be added to a “Brunch” Bar. 🙂

tico french toast

Tico French Toast Stuffed with all kinds of fruit!

tico eggs benedict

Tico Eggs Benedict

Now that is come Costa Rican “Brunch items” Love love love to have me some of these! I digress again. Food gets me so distracted.

So this thread goes on for day and over 120 comments being posted. It did finally end and there was much blood shed. Here is the real reason I am writing this blog. A salad is a special thing. You can’t just slap some lettuce down on a plate and put a little cucumbers and some tomatoes on it and call it a salad. This is an example of what is not a salad!!!!


This is what is served at most Restaurants here in Costa Rica as both a side salad (maybe you can get away with it as a side salad), but not as your dinner salad and defiantly not as your entree salad!

You should have some good items in to make it a salad. If it is your starter than just a nice verde (green) salad is good. You can put just about any veggie in it and the more the merrier!!!!!! I’m not talking quantity. I’m speaking of variety is what makes a good salad. 1, 2 or 3 items does not a salad make. An ok salad have 4 or 5 different items and a great salad will have 10 or more!!!!!! Again not in large quantities of each item, but enough that you see you have a good variety. Now if it is your main entree you add some protein to it. Again one or two ounces does not an entree make. You should add a min of 4 to 8 oz of protein to any salad served as an entree. Here are some examples of ok and good salads I have had in Costa Rica.

good salad 2 good salad ok salad

Now there is one place in Costa Rica that I have found a great salad. It isn’t your most traditional of salads as it isn’t a cold salad. It is a grilled veggies salad. It is called Ensalada Mixta de Vegetales al Carbón and has the following in it:
Combinación de berenjena, cebolla, chile dulce, zuchini, hongos frescos cocidos a la plancha con aceite de oliva, sal, especies y aderezo light sobre una cama de lechuga.

Now in Gringo speak those items are:

Combination of eggplant, onion, sweet pepper, zucchini, mushrooms cooked grilled with olive oil, salt, spices and light seasoning on a bed of lettuce.

Now even though it doesn’t have 10 or more items it has a very nice flavor and I get it every time we go! Where do I get this you might ask? I get it here!

It is well worth a visit! No doubt!!!!!

Here is what the salad looks like:


Now that is a good salad.

So that is my story of the Great Costa Rican Salad war of 2014. I hope you have enjoyed it and you have learned a little something about salads today. I just want to say to all my wonder Costa Rican Restaurants out there please I am begging you please make a good salad!

Pura Vida!

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Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Rants, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pizza! Pizza!

Home made pizza by me!

Home made pizza by me!

Doesn’t this pizza look so good! Its round and gooey and cheezy and has a little tickness to the crust. This is a picture of a pizza I made myself. I use to own my own Pizza and Sub shop. We had the best pizza in the area. Its not just me saying it I was told that by customers and even other pizza shop owners. This one I made here in Costa Rica. The cheezy goodness and the sauce and the pepperoni was just a blend and a wonderful explosion of flavor in your mouth. The crust was so nice and hand tossed with just the right thickness and herbs added in. The smell while it was cooking was amazing.

So is your mouth watering and do you wan to put a piece of pie in your pie hole yet? I’m know you do. You want to run out right now and go get a pizza like this one. Well guess what, YOU ARE NOT GOING  TO FIND ONE LIKE THIS IN COSTA RICA!!!!! Nope you won’t. What you will find is what my wife and I like to call cheese and cracker type of pizza. No don’t get me wrong in the right mood I can eat a true Italian style crust pizza, but that is a very rare mood and it better have some good cheese, sauce and toppings.

Now there are 3 important things that make a really good pizza. The 1st is the crust. It has to be light an airy and have a little substance to it. It can’t be too dense or too airy. Doesn’t have to be 3 inches thick either. Again some people like that and that is ok and I prefer a thicker crust over a thin one. The crust should have some flavor to it and not be just dough. There should be some herbs and spices mixed in with the crust. It should be hand tossed and slapped out like a pizza was meant to be. This helps with the rising of the crust in the oven. It allows some air to get into the dough.  When you cook the crust you don’t want to over cook it. A nice brown crunchy bottom and sides with a soft, but not raw texture inside.

The 2nd items is the sauce. It has to be a very good red sauce! Don’t give me none of that white pizza crap or the oil and garlic sauce crust! Yea ok it can taste good, but that isn’t a really good pizza sauce for a really good pizza. You can’t put too much on the pizza. if you over sauce it the dough won’t cook properly and if  you under sauce it what is the damn point of putting sauce on it? You have to put a light coating of sauce on the pizza but not too light. Nice even coating. You want to think about a night breeze that is just cold enough for you to put on a light covering and not a huge winter jacket!!!!!!!!!!  If you put the sauce on too heavy you crust won’t cook and can even be raw. Raw dough is not good at all! The sauce is where most of your flavor comes from.

The 3rd item is the cheese. You have to have good cheese. It should be a mozzarella and provolone blend. Don’t go buying that crap in the market ok. Go to a good store and buy some good cheese. Not shredded you want the kind that are in the shape of a ball. The shredded sits on top of the pizza like bamboo shoots  a crossed its surface. It just doesn’t give it a good texture. The ball shape cheese melts very nicely and evenly over the entire pizza.

Now toppings are unimportant to a good pizza. They are just toppings people. Those 3 things are really all you need to make a good pizza. Now toppings do lend to make up for a fault in one of the three things above, but if any two of the three are bad you might as well be french kissing your dog! Its going to be about the same experience. People they are called toppings for a reason! They go on top of the pizza! Not burried on the bottom of the cheese or even worse the sauce!!! So put those things where they belong!!!!

Here are some example of what you will find and get here in costa Rica.

Riu palace pizza Bella Vita 995045_10200243694280279_1829861480_n

As you can tell from these pictures cheese and cracker. That is all you are going to get. Not that much cheese either and if you look the one even has the TOPPINGS under the cheese. Not good people not good! Now for what it is worth if  you want a pizza these will do in a pinch. There is only one place I recomend here in Atenas for this type of pizza an that is Alida’s.

They have a good pizza, but it is a little expensive, but when you want a good pizza mind you cheese and cracker, Oh I mean traditional Italian pizza this is the best place to go. My wife likes to get their 4 cheese pizza as it has a little kick to it. Me I don’t get it at all really and only because their other food is so good! So she gets pizza and I get good Italian food! Works out well.

I give Alida’s pizza 3 seashell1out of 5 as their sauce is pretty good! They are a bit pricey I think their pizza is like $18. It is worth it if you are craving a pizza and are ok with the cracker crust. I gave them 3 because of their other food options are so good! If I had reviewed them as a hole they would have gotten 4 out of 5. Oh wait I just did! 🙂

Now mind you that isn’t the most expensive pizza either. There are some places that charge upwards of $25 for a 14 inch cheese pizza. Insanity!!!! I won’t go to those places to have pizza.

Now a really good pizza in Atenas is at Pizza Rica! Their crust is thicker than any crust I have seen in Atenas. Now you have your pizza hut and your papa johns pizza here, but I really don’t like those chains. Their crust is the traditional hand toss with a good thickness to it, but I just don’t like their sauce or their cheeses and their crust while thick has no flavor other than flour. Pizza Rica on the other hand has a very good pizza. No doubt and it is reasonable priced.  Her is a link to them.

As you can see from the reviews very good! I would not doubt suggest you go visit them and have a taste of their pizza as you won’t regret it.

I will give Pizaa Rica 4 seashell1out of 5! No doubt the best in town. Still not perfect but it will do what you need when you crave a pizza.


Now sad to say though I only give Costa Rica 1 seashell1out of 5 as I have tried so, so many places and only these two stand out! I’m sorry Costa Rica, but you need to get people to make a better pizza!

Pura Vida!



Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Review: Inka Grill Santa Ana

So yesterday as we were going to do some shopping for a party we are having tonight we needed to have a little bit of lunch. So we drove by Inka and figured lets go in there as we have never been to one yet. So we had lunch today. The service was excellent and the place was pretty no doubt. Looks like a wonderful place to eat! Lets look at what we had for lunch.

Ceviche Gran Inka

Ceviche Gran Inka

This was their version of Ceviche. Not really what I call Ceviche, but ok. Yes those little circles under the orange sauce were octapus tentacles. It was OK. The sauce was the highlight of the dish. The rest of it had no real flavor and I could not tell that the shrimp was soaked in anything.

Ensalada Inka

Ensalada Inka

Nothing at all impressive about this salad at all. Mainly lettuce and a little cucumbers, hearts of Palm, small amount of tomato, and just a few slivers of onions. The dressing had a good taste to it.

Corvina Nova Andina

Corvina Nova Andina

This really had no flavor at all. The sauce in the spoon I thought was repulsive. It was a nice potion size, but we will talk about the prices later. The veggies had no flavor really either, so they were just steamed with nothing.

Lomito Portobello

Lomito Portobello

This was just ok. I had asked for the meat to be medium rare and the waiter did understand, but it came out medium. There was no red at all anywhere on the steak. Now it was suppose to come with mash potatoes, but I asked for grilled veggies. The veggies actually were very nice.  They were better than what my wife had gotten with her Corvina. The Portobello sauce is in the cup I was not impressed at all, but it was the only flavor on this plate other than the veggies. The steak had no flavor at all. It was however tender.

Terrin de chocolate

Terrin de chocolate

This was the best part of the meal. It had the most flavor and was just excellent. The strawberries were a bit tart tasting, but the rest of it was very nice.

Cafe Americano

Cafe Americano

Come on guys we live in the land of amazing coffee. Why do you continue to serve Nescafe? I really did not like this coffee at all. I had to add 3 packets of a splenda and 1/2 a packet of non dairy creamer to make it drinkable. Hint to all restaurants in Costa Rica serve your countries best coffee!!!!!! Not this American crap please!!!!

So you have seen and I have told you my opinion about the food now be ready for the sticker shock!

Ceviche Gran Inka 7,955,75 or $14.48

Ensalad Inka 6,185,84 or $11.26

Corvina  10,610.,62 or $19.31

Lomito 11,495,58 or $20.92

3 Cokes 6,073.17 or $11.05 (3 16oz bottles)

Terrin Chocolate 3,243,90 or $5.90

2 Cafe 2,747,97 or $5.00

Now you have to add 13% for tax 6,280,67 or $11.43

Now you also add 10% for tip 4,831,28 or $8.79

Grand total for Lunch (hold on to your socks!) 59,424,78 or $108.15

Yes I am not kidding $108.15 for a lunch! Really a dinner, but we had it for lunch! No way!

So I think it is time to wrap this one up. The service was top notch! The restaurant its self was very pretty. The food was just ok. They need to taste the food on their menu and fix it before they send it out. If they would have put a little spice even just some salt and pepper on the steak and the fish it would have moved it up. There was nothing on the actual products. It was a very bland meal. The best part of the meal was the dessert as it was tasty and reasonably priced. We won’t be going back unless it is just for dessert.The prices were insane! Really insane.

So I give Inka Grill 3 seashell1 out of 5. 1 for service and 1 for the restaurant itself and 1 for presentation. I can’t give it anything for the food or the prices.

Pura Vida!



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Food Chick Tip of the Day 4/16/14

Today’s Chick Tip….Today’s tip is a blast from the past for The Food Chick…..Wendy Wells-Tockey from Fort Worth Texas has asked for my Mediterranean Tuna Salad recipe. I started making this tuna salad over 10 years ago and it is simply delicious. It knocks it out of the park in terms of flavor but is great for your waistline!

Combine 1 – 4 ounce can of your favorite tuna, packed in water(drained), 1/4 cup each diced red onion, diced sundried tomato, diced Kalamata olives and 1/4 cup diced artichoke in water (drained). By hand combine these ingredients. Remember to keep your tuna as flaky as possible, do not over work it and turn it into mush

For the dressing combine 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp each lemon pepper and dried or fresh parsley and a pinch or so of season all. Add just a dash or two of extra virgin olive oil. Whisk together well and pour over tuna mixture. By hand, lightly mix together being sure to keep the integrity of the tuna in place.

Now, for the zing factor! To taste add fresh basil leaves, either torn or cut chiffonade style and feta cheese (remember the feta is salty so be sure to add small amounts at a time and to taste test often). I also love to add Garbanzo or Chick Peas that have been drained and rinsed.

Serve this over your favorite lettuce mixture or packed in a pita with some baby spinach!

BONUS TIP – Remember that taste buds are subjective. If you are unsure of an amount just add a little bit at a time. You can make the entire recipe with lesser amounts and add more based on your taste buds!

Thanks Wendy, I know what I am having for lunch today! please stop in and like her page! Let her know you came from us!

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Top 5 things I have learned

Ok so a couple things I have learned to help me adjust to Costa Rica and hopefully they will help you also.

10431230-pura-vida-costa-rica1. Pura vida is taken very seriously by the locals and is really a way of life and a philosophy. Most expats don’t see it this way. They see it as a way to show up when you want, do what you want and just be lazy. This is not true. It is how they express the slow living. Yes it can be frustrating at times, but it is their way and we are not and should not try to change it. Even if you have residency or even have citizenship, but you were born somewhere else you are still a visitor to this country. Embrace their way of life and keep it simple. This one is what I think is the most important of all the tips I can give. It will help you in every aspect of living here in Costa Rica. Enjoy it and take it to heart and don’t let your life in your home country spoil the experience you will have here.

buy_it_now.jpg2. Going..Going…Gone If you see it, you like it, you better buy it! It won’t be there when you get back. This equates to many things and in different ways. 1st example furniture. If you go into a store like Ashley’s and see a sofa you like. Get it now! Don’t walk away from it! Some might buy it out from under you. They don’t have a stock room! What you see is what you get. 2nd example is food products. I buy a number of things and minced garlic is a necessity in my house! I buy it at Pricesmart. Now they usually have it and I buy maybe one jar. Well they were out of it for 3 months at one point. So when it came in I bought 5 jars and anytime I go I buy 1 jar and try to keep a min of 6 in my pantry. That will get me though any drought. 🙂 Than there is the times when it just won’t be sold anymore. My wife loves the pineapple jelly at Pricesmart. We would buy it every time we went there. One day we go and its gone. That was over 6 months ago. 😦 So I asked a couple people and what I was told was if an items sells really well they will stop selling it. Its more trouble to keep restocking it , so its better to not carry it. So keep this in mind when you are shopping. If you have space buy the bulk quantity or follow the buy it now policy! Good luck!

  1. Consistency? The lack of this can drive an expat insane here. As an example you can go into a restaurant and order the same food over and over again prepared by the same cook and get a different dish every time. Now this doesn’t happen everywhere and all the time, but it does happen a lot. 1st example is a restaurant where I get consume de pollo (Gringo speak chicken soup) sometimes they use real chicken broth and it is a wonderful soup with a poached egg and chicken meat. There are other times it is made with the powder stuff they have here which I really do not like. 2nd example is salads. This happens a lot. You order one and it comes with certain items lets take for instance a chef salad. You get your lettuce, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, cucumbers, and avocado  all standard in a salad. Now what makes it a chef is it is topped with meat like bacon, ham, cheese, and sometimes chicken or steak. You my order it one time and it has all these things. Next time it has none of the meat items except maybe bacon. The next time bacon, ham, chicken. You get the idea. Again all this is from the same place and the same cook who prepares it every day. I just look at it like every time I eat out it is an adventure and what I get I get and no matter what it is going to be tasty! Well most times. 🙂 Go with it people its an adventure!

hours of operation4. Posted hours of operation We learned very quickly that yes most places have their hours that they are open posted, but we have also learned that is subject to change and be altered without notice. Also keep in mind most are closed for lunch. Yes even a restaurant will close for lunch! Now that can range from 1 hour to 3 hours in the middle of the day. So we head out for dinner and  we know that we should not have our heart set on any one place to eat. We go to the 1st place that should be open and it isn’t so we drive until we find a place that is and we eat there.  There was one time when we drove to 4 places before we found one that was opened. Next day I asked around to see if there was some holiday or event I didn’t know about? Nope there wasn’t. Now why is this? See #1 above as one of the answers to this question. The next answer did shock me a little when I was told this by a couple owners. If they make enough money they will close and take the day off. Again see #1. There are also family emergencies that happen. You have to remember most of these places are family owned and run so if something happens they are closed. There is also the no show of the employees. Again this could be for many reasons but see #1. They don’t have a lot of employees that if one or two or Gods forbid all of them get sick that they can just call someone else to fill in for them. So they close. All of this is understandable. So you have to be a little relaxed and understanding and know that you may head to one place, but end up somewhere totally different!

4416_1155105753829_776392_n5. Ouch my ears! Costa Rica can be a noisy country. The locals love their music and they love it loud! Not all areas are this way, but most will have some sort of noise you may not be use to. Parties start at 9 pm or later and can go all night long. Can’t tell you how many times a neighbors house has had a party and they did loud Karaoke until 2 or 3 am. Now mind you I have had my party or two, but lets face it us old expats go to bed pretty early here so my party started at 5 pm and ended at 10 and the music and loud horrible Karaoke stooped at 9 pm. 🙂 They do love their fireworks here! You never know when you are going to hear the bangs and see the light show.  Than there is the wild life and depending on the areas you live in there could be Howler monkeys, you will mostly have birds, there can be roosters, cows, horses, pigs, and dogs! There are all manner of sounds. The animals of Costa Rica do not know what time it is. So i f you think you are only going to hear a rooster 1st thing in the morning you are so wrong. They make noise all hours of the day and night! Dog you can hear barking all the time. Most locals don’t keep their dogs in the house so they are outside all day and all night  or even roaming the streets. So be prepared for dogs barking! So you can either complain about all the noise or adjust your habits. I recommend a good set of headphones to sleep with at night. Me I can sleep though almost anything. My wife on the other hand puts in ear buds and listens to something I have no clue what she is listening to while she is sleeping. It is an adjustment no doubt. Again it may be noisy but the beauty that comes with it is well worth the noise. the birds and the monkey’s and the wild life is so great here.

Well those are my top 5 tips to help you visit and live in Costa Rica. I hope you find it informative and helpful and just remember we are here and this country is what it is and they have a way of life that is different from our own. We are not here to change them or make them more like us, if that is what you want to do while you are here you are going to be very, very unhappy. Embrace the difference. Live in the moment and enjoy the wonders that Costa Rica has to offer you while you are here.

Pura Vida!

Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Pets, Rants, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Worst Cruise EVER! Norwegian Getaway Caribbean

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo we had to do another visa run for our 90 days and I decided we need to do something a little fun and make it a really good trip. I’m tired of these stupid border runs that are long days and where you just feel so exhausted and drained when it is done and its just stupid in my opinion. Our paperwork is in and yet when we got back the border official only gave us 60 days and the only reason she gave us that was because we are leaving again in May. I have a feeling she would have given us less time. Which is really stupid as she looked over our residency paperwork so she knew we put in our papers almost a year ago! Not my fault it hasn’t been completed yet! Hello? I digress from the real reason of this post.

OK, the title kind of says it all. If it wasn’t for the company of my wonder wife and two female friends this trip would have been called, “The Cruise from HELL”. So because of the company I kept it is just the worst cruise ever. Let me tell you it was. So lets take this point by point shall we.

Arrival at the dock we got here very early. Everything went pretty well the person who took our luggage was very nice, funny, and just started us off on the right foot. So I thought, “OK cool this is going to be a good trip.” So we get inside and we get checked in. Again bright, cheerful, funny and happy people. I’m feeling good about this trip. Then we get to the waiting area.

They have a lot of drink for you some water and what I think was orange juice and coffee. OH the coffee was horrible! We drink some water while we wait, and wait, and wait. Yes we did get there early and so did so many others. Its time and they start to call group numbers. When you come in they give you a plastic card with a number. We were number 13! Hey I am cool with that. I have no superstitions about 13. We watch as the 1st group is called and the people hand the nice gentleman their cards and pass on though. Now the guy calling the group numbers off either didn’t have a command of the English language or just was very confused as a couple of times he either forgot number or called off the wrong ones. Since they were going in order not sure how that could happen. Here is my biggest issue. People would go up to the man collecting the numbers and hand him theirs. Theirs were not yet called. He only turned on couple away. Its not like the people he let in had disabilities or were older or anything like that. I would not have cared if someone who was disabled or who was much older got in ahead of me. He allowed people with group numbers higher than our to enter both at the time a number was called and in between numbers being called. That did not make me happy as I sit in the hard chairs waiting like a good person for my number to be called.

We arrive and it was not clear as to where to go. So we headed to our cabin. Nope that was not what we were suppose to do. Again was not clearly stated nor was there any guidance once you got on the ship as to where to go.

So we hit the cafe while we wait to be told we can go to our rooms which we had already done and dropped off our carry on luggage. So the cafe was ok. My only issue with the Cafe was it didn’t really change. Breakfast and lunch was always the exact same food. No variation to it at all. No special events or themes. Just same stuff over and over and over. So I age the same stuff every morning and for every lunch. We would meet our friends there for Breakfast and our conversations would take us well into lunch time. So we would eat lunch there as well. The food was ok. Nothing great and nothing amazing about it. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo as you can see not the best looking food an it really had no flavor to it at all. We never saw the lobster or shrimp back at all on the cruise. So it was just for the 1st lunch. We ate lunch every day in the Cafe.

So lets talk a little about the rooms. We had a family mini suite. I am so glad I got that! It was small enough and I couldn’t image if we had 1 or two kids with us, as I would have killed them both by the end of the cruise had we been in that confined space. Overall the room was nice. We got it as it had a balcony and boy was that tiny as well. You had two chairs and you had to sit facing each other as the chairs really would not have fit side by side. Here are some pictures of the room and as you can see it is a nice room other than size no complaints and for two people the size was fine. I also didn’t know that there was drawers under the bed and under the sofa to store you clothing. So we lived out of our suite cases the entire time. Someone should have mentioned that to us. 🙂


Now our room steward was a pleasure to have! He was friendly and nice and greeted us and wished us well and left us little notes on our towel animals. I loved that he tore up paper and made eyes on them for us. Gave them such a nice touch. I can’t rave about him more. Now our traveling companions had a horrible steward. They had to ask for things, he never smiled and never really did anything and tried to stay out of sight. Not really good in my opinion. Now look at these lovely little creatures our wonderful steward made for us! I liked the sexy bunny and the dog the best! You know why I liked the dog. 😉


The design of the ship was ok. We were lucky and our rooms were right near the elevator. Here is my problem with the design of the the ship. There was no center elevator! There were only two one aft and one forward so if you had to get anywhere you had to go to one end or the other end of the ship. So there was lots of walking going on. God forbid you confused your aft and forward it was double the walk. I did mix them up as in thought something was after and it was really forward so walked from forward to aft, got on elevator got off and had to walk all the way forward again. I know I need the exercise, but really? We couldn’t put something in the center of the ship?  There was a stairway from deck 6 to 7 I believe but that was it. I did use them a couple of times, but some of the companions I was traveling with could not take the steps. Here are just a few random shots of the ship and nothing to get excited about.



Lets get to the meat and potatoes of why we all cruise. THE FOOD!!!!!!! If you love food on a cruise you may want to take another cruise as this one is not for you! We not only ate at the Cafe, but many but not all of the specialty restaurants. I was not impressed by any of them at all. One or two were good, but not for the additional fee you had to pay which ranged from $10 to $20 a person to eat in them. I already paid a hefty price to be on this ship and now you are going to charge me more to eat in a restaurant with sub standard food and sub standard service? Yep not a good experience. If you know me you know I like taking pictures of the food I eat. I have very few food pictures to show you. 😦 It just was not that impressive and it was not that good. So here is what I took.

Escargot and not impressed. No shell? Really? It was just butter and garlic with cheese really.

Escargot and not impressed. No shell? Really? It was just butter and garlic with cheese really.

French onion soup. it was ok nothing to write home about.

French onion soup. it was ok nothing to write home about.

This was just a sad scallop appetizer. Small and had no taste.

This was just a sad scallop appetizer. Small and had no taste.

Yep other than the ones a the top of this post that is all the food pictures I too. Sorry my foodie friends it just wasn’t impressive. Its not like I forgot my camera or something as it was tied to my wrist the entire trip. Most trips I have min 300 pictures of the places and food this trip I did like 100. So lets talk about the specialty restaurants we went to.

Cagney’s: Steak house Price $30 per person adults and $15 per child. 

Here is a link to the PDF for the restaurant: Cagneys_Getaway_04032014

Our table had the following:

Wagyu Beef Sliders* CARAMELIZED RED ONIONS | APPLE & CELERY SLAW was my appetizer and it was not wagyu that I could tell. I have had some amazing $60 an ounce stuff. This may have been the lowest of the low quality, but did not have much taste and it was not as tender as it should have been.

Shrimp Cocktail JACK DANIEL’STM COCKTAIL SAUCE was the appetizer of my companions and they said it was nothing to really write home about.

Arugula Salad SHAVED PEAR | RED BELL PEPPER | RED ONIONS | SPRING ONIONS | RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE it was a salad. Nothing special really.

New York Strip* – 14oz Cajun Seasoned (spicy) was my dinner. It was cooked the way I liked it medium rare. I had a line of gristle down one side that I couldn’t cut with a steak knife. I had to trim it away myself.  You would have thought the chef would have done that before serving it. The seasoning was not spicy at all! I like things very hot, but this had no real heat at all. I’m not 100% sure it was a 14oz steak either. It was rather small if you ask me.

Filet Mignon* – 8oz Simply Grilled is what my wife had and it was good she said.

Double Cut Lamb Chops* EGGPLANT & ZUCCHINI LAYERS | BAKED GARLIC | LAMB JUS our friend really did rave much about this said it was OK.

I think this is what our other friend had, but not sure. Grilled Garlic Shrimp ORZO PILAF | GARLIC & BLACK PEPPER BUTTER | LEMON ZEST Again I’m not sure as she didn’t really say anything about her dish.

My wife did get with hers a head of roasted garlic and it was pretty good so I ordered two of those. 🙂 Yes I ate two heads of roasted garlic! I love Garlic. That was nice of them to bring that out for me.

The service in this restaurant was good. Our waitress was attentive and she was nice. I’m sorry you think about the price of the cruise and you add $30 per person and its not worth eating at.

Illusionarium: Price was $40 per person (I not sure it may have been $45) for adults and not sure what the kids price was. 

This has a set menu so there were no choices to be had. It started with a plate of prosciutto and tomatoes with mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar. It was than followed up by a filet with shrimp and a dessert with a mix of items on it. I ate the shrimp and I picked at the steak as it was over cooked because she didn’t bother to ask me how I wanted it. She just brought out the food. There were not asking of question or of what I would like to have. Nothing was impressive at all about the food. Service was ok seemed a bit of a performance as well so it was timed. Could have filled my glass of soda more, but it was OK.

Now the show on the other hand if you like magic this is the place to go. I loved the show. It wasn’t just 5 magicians performing, but a story they were telling from beginning to end and the wrote in the magician acts. You will be amazed and excited. You will love the show. Go for that, but not the food! Would I do it again? Yes for the show, but again the price not so sure about. Oh and no one wanted to see the show so I went alone. 🙂 Seated me at a table for 8 all by myself!

La Cucina: Cuisine: Italian Price per Guest: $15 Adults | $7.5 Children

Here is the link for the PDF of the menu LaCucina_Getaway_04032014

So that table had the following as a meal:

Fried Calamari — Garlic Aioli, Crisp Italian Parsley was nice and had a good taste to it and it wasn’t rubbery! Always a plus!

Beef Carpaccio* — Arugula, Mustard Vinaigrette was very nice had a good flavor

Insalata Fresca — F risèe, Spinach, Arugula, Shaved Pear, Red Bell Pepper, Parmigiano Reggiano, Mustard and Lime Vinaigrette was actually a salad to write home about.

Meatballs — Rigatoni, Housemade Meatballs, Tomato and Basil Sauce this was a meal, but I wanted to taste the meatballs so they brought me a small bowl of this. It was really good. The meatballs were tasty, the sauce was nice and the pasta was cooked to perfection.

Ossobuco Gremolata — Veal Shank, Creamy Polenta was had by my wife and our friend. Again it was just OK nothing to write home about.

Ribeye Steak* 14oz — Polenta Al Formaggio, Garlic Butter is what I think our other friend had, but again don’t remember as she really didn’t say much about it.

Tiramisù — Lady Fingers, Espresso, Mascarpone Cream was what our friends ordered and they said it was OK and they didn’t eat much of it.

Affogato — Vanilla, Chocolate or Macadamia Nut Ice Cream, topped with Espresso yes I got this and I was not impressed at all and if you do get it don’t put the Espresso on it. The coffee and espresso on this ship is horrible.

We had OK service in this restaurant and we were placed at a table way in the back in a corner. Didn’t really like that, but we had a view of the ocean so it was OK. I’m not sure why we got that table as we ate early about 6pm and there was hardly anyone in the restaurant. Would I go back? Yes and I think the food was of a quality that it was worth the additional price. I hate paying additional when I am on a cruise but it seems they all are doing this now.

Cuisine: French Price per Guest: $20 Adults | $10 Children

Cuisine: French Price per Guest: $20 Adults | $10 Children

La Bistro: Cuisine: French Price per Guest: $20 Adults | $10 Children

Not even going to try and explain what we had here. The food was horrible. The service was terrible an so bad we had to talk to the manager. It took 1/2 hour before someone come over to take our drink orders, than another 1/2 hour for our food order and than 45 min to get our 1st dish. He never came by and filled our drinks unless we pulled him over. Again it was not busy. We ate dinners at 6 pm. Seemed like a lot of people on the ship were eating a lot later. Not worth the price, not worth the trouble just really don’t go to this one at all!!!!!!!!!!!!

Teppanyaki: Cuisine: Teppanyaki Price per Guest: $25 Adults | $12.5 Children

So this was your typical hibachi type place. Pretty standard food. You had your shrimp, steak, fish, rice, veggies, soup, etc. Nothing amazing about this place so I would not spend the extra money to eat here if you have already been to a hibachi type place. This is very loud place. Each table has two chef’s that work it at the same time! Not my favorite setup. The food was good. Here is a video of what our Chef did.



O’Sheehans Bar and Grill: Cuisine: Irish Cost: Complimentary 

This was the place we ate dinner at the 1st night on the ship. It was ok. We came because they advertised Prime Rib. So we had to go. No we didn’t. They do it pretty much every night. Its their thing. Wasn’t good. The service was ok not great so really don’t even bother. We did have lunch here one day and it was not worth it either. Salad was lousy and their wings they say is spicy, but it wasn’t. Really not worth going to even if it is included in the price of the cruise.

That is pretty much were we ate. After eating at these places we didn’t want to spend more money on food and service we were not going to like. So we never even bothered to try the other places on the ship. Just wasn’t worth the price of admission and especially not worth the up charge you will have to pay!

So I am not going to list and go into all the various clubs and bars on the ship. None of them are really worth going to. You really do not want to go to the Bliss bar! Stay away especially if you are prone to seizures! It is horrible.

The ice bar may have been something cool and interesting to do once. See what I did there I made a funny. OK so I think I made a funny. Whatever! 🙂 It cost $20 to go in and you only get 2 drinks and since none of us were really drinkers we didn’t go in. Not sure how I would have looked in the poncho they put you in. 🙂

Entertainment was horrible on the ship as well. We went to a number of the trivia games and they were a joke, the bingo was a joke.
The shows were a joke with the exception of the Illusionarium and the Comedy show was pretty good. I did enjoy the comedy from the professionals! The crew on the other hand and mainly the cruise director was horrible!!!!!!!!!!!!! Joey was Ok, but the rest was just bad!!!!!!

So they did do a fireworks show one night. It was short and sweet, but it was enjoyable. Do not expect some huge show. You are on a cruise ship people. The finally was not that spectacular, but it was a nice touch and we enjoyed it. Here is some video I took of that.

So lets wrap this one up. The steward we had was amazing, only 1 of the 29 restaurants did I really enjoy, service was crappy, crew was very unhappy and just an overall bad experience for the price of admission and all the up charges.

So I give you 1 seashell1out of 5! Sorry! Wish I could give you more but I think I am being generous with the 1.

Pura Vida!


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Restaurant Review: Restaurante La Finca

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a little restaurant in the town of Sarchi called Restaurante La Finca. Here are the directions:

 I could not find a web page for them but did find a four square page so that is the link I used. We decided to finally make it to Sarchi after being here almost a year and check out some of the furniture shops. Well we go a bit hungry and decided to stop in this place. We are so glad we did. The food was excellent. The place was clean and nice and it had a great view. The prices were reasonable and some were down right cheap for the amount of food you got. All of it tasted very good! A picture is worth a thousand words so lets see that food porn shall we!


Now doesn’t all that look good! I know it tasted good! Granted that wasn’t all my food, but my friends said it was all really good. Now I will have to say as you can see the salad wasn’t anything to rave over. It was OK just lettuce, tomatoes and palmetto.

So to wrap this one up, food was good, prices were fair if not cheap on some items, place was clean and had really nice bathrooms. So all in all I give them 4 seashell1out of 5. I took off some points as the salad wan’t that great.

Pura Vida!

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Review: Tabacon Hot Springs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATabacon Hot Springs at the base of Arenal Volcano and is a beautiful place. The jungle feel and the warm waters is a great way to spend the day. You can check out their resort by following the following link. We did not spend anytime at the hotel portion, but you should know that the hotel and the Hot Springs are in different locations. They are not far and from what I could see they have  a shuttle service that takes you back and forth.

There is a spa on site, but we did not use it facilities either. We were so enjoying the environment and the waters the time just got away from us. The picture to the left was just one of many streams you are allowed to get in and splash around. There are so many of them. The place is huge and so beautiful! There are sitting areas and there is even a bar way deep in the middle of the place. It was so nice! We found it by accident on our second trip there. Yes we have been there 2 times so far we liked it that much.

There is a restaurant on site which had some pretty good food. We were there for lunch and ti was a buffet style meal. The food can be included with the price of admission and I think it only adds $10 per person. The buffet is well worth $10. Here are some pictures of the food they had to offer.

IMG_1648a IMG_1650 IMG_1652

There was another section of food that was all closed trays. It was all the hot entrees. They had beef, chicken, pork, and fish. There was also a pasta section as well. The food was very good! I loved the salad bar! I always love a good salad bar!

There we so many place to get into the water. I’m just going to let the pictures of the place speak for themselves here. So check them out.


These are just a few pictures the place is huge and it is wonderful! We were there 2x in a month. We went once on Xmas even and than again with friends a week or so later. Now most people will go and stay the night and I didn’t understand why until our trip with our friends. Our 1st trip we left early and got there around lunch time. Went in had lunch and then explored the pool and rivers. We finished and were completely exhausted by like 2 or 3pm so we left to head home. It was great. The drive there was about 3 hours from Atenas, but I did get lost a bit. I think the drive home was about 2 1/2 hours.

Now the 2nd time we went with friends we left a little later and stooped along the way for lunch instead of at the Hot springs. So we were there much later and we left around 4:30 to head home. Well that was a mistake! It gets dark, and foggy, and very dangerous in my opinion to drive. The roads are twisty and windy and some are just horrible. It took us about 4 to 4 1/2 hours to get home as I was driving very slowly and very cautiously.  So if you plan on driving there and back leave early and give yourself plenty of time and leave at about 3pm. N o later or you could be in trouble. Unless you like white knuckle driving! Which I don’t.

So lets warp this one up. Price reasonable for the day and the meal, food was excellent, the waters were wonderful. The staff was helpful and friendly. So I give this resort 5 seashell1out of 5! I don’t do this often, but this place deserves it! Without a doubt!

Pura Vida!


Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments