You definitely will not lack for good food in Costa Rica! Like many cultures, the one traditional joy you can bring is serving good food. Of course, the setting for that food matters almost as much as the taste. We dined at the veranda of the hotel with steak as good as you could find anywhere.
And if you are staying at the San Jose Marriott, I recommend the café near the end of the resort. $10 platinum breakfast covers most of the price.
Really nice weather to have breakfast outdoors. The only hitch is that we had to deal with a fine layer of volcanic ash which the staff were busy cleaning up every morning. It coated everything, but didn’t really bother me – I can’t say the same for my “clean freak” wife. Hey, we Army guys are just glad when there’s no dirt in our food!
For some reason, my wife, Eloisa really enjoyed posing in the adjacent garden. Hey, if Daraius can put pictures of his wife, Emily, in every shot, so can I.
So, I have to relate a funny story at this point. See that croissant? It is a strawberry croissant, which we both thought was spectacular, especially warmed. Apparently, strawberries are a key crop of Costa Rica and the waiter let us know he was from that area. My wife, was so impressed with the pineapple we had as our platinum gift, that she raved to the waited about it and said they should make a pineapple croissant. Between my wife’s Filipino accented English and the waiter’s English somehow this got mis-construed. Later that afternoon, we had a knock on our door and were surprised by two gentlemen wearing chef’s hats. The head chef had come to our room to apologize for the breakfast that morning and had personally baked two mini pineapple upside-down cakes for us! I assured him there was nothing wrong with the breakfast, but also didn’t turn down the extra desert! Lost in translation, as they say…
Out on the town, there is nothing but more good food. If you want to eat authentic and cheap, go to the Central Market. It is all enclosed, so no need to worry about the afternoon downpours, and they smartly spread the food establishments all over the market so no two are together. This means the “fragrant” smells can’t cluster in one area and overwhelm the passerby. If you have been to a third-world market, you know what I mean.
The first picture above is of a cheese and flour tortilla that was simply fantastic. They also had a similar one made with egg, sort of like an omelette. The second picture is a little fuzzy, but it is a coffee roaster. I have to confess, I am not a coffee drinker, but my wife is and she thought this was the best coffee she had ever smelled or tasted. Needless to say, Costa Rica – great coffee and bringing back whole beans is one of the easiest gift choices to make. IT was $5 per quarter kilo, so not cheap (I think), but a great gift nonetheless.
Lastly, our tour guide gave us a lunch recommendation for a place called Spoons. It is a chain, but even so, I thought it was great. I got the chicken with rice and black beans and my wife got the same except pork belly, both for less than $20.
There was a little problem in speaking only high school Spanish, but it all worked out well in the end. The main problem is that they look at my Filipino wife and automatically start talking high-speed Spanish, but she doesn’t know any more than “Hola”. It all works out OK when you get them to stop and have a chance to say “Soy esta Pilipino”!