Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Back in Chepe

The past few days have been a little on the hectic side (or at least as hectic as things can get in breezy Tamarindo) hence my blog and web page neglect. I managed to wrangle up five private dinners in a row leaving me to beg, borrow, and steal ingredients around town. ON both of these nights I sat and fed a mother raccoon bits of orange from my hand while the rest of the paying guests finished their dinners.

1st: Salad of Watermelon, Cucumber, Fresh Basil and Local Feta Cheese.
2nd: Roasted Dorado with Local Organic Baby Zucchini, Nicoise Olives & Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette
3rd: Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Lemon Sorbet and Pearled Melon

1st: Shaved Pear and Fennel Salad with Cucumber and Queso Fresco
2nd: Seared Loin of Tuna with Bacon Roasted Mushrooms, Sweet Corn and JalapeƱo Puree and Tomato Jam
3rd: Roasted Bananas with Brown Butter Caramel and Vanilla Gelato.

With a few free days on the cooking calendar, Fernando and I left Tamarindo early this morning for San Jose to go out with some friends, have a small dinner party, and price out some kitchen ware for the promising operation there at Sueno del Mar.

In Costa Rica, and quite possibly the rest of Central America, it seems that there are only a few terms that can be used in the naming of restaurants, much like the infamous Chinese Restaurant Syndrome in the US (Golden Jade Buddha Moon China Palace II). One of the most popular themes here is the "party theme": Chicken Party, Seafood Party, Corn Party, granted they all have a bit of a nicer ring to them in Spanish. High in the hills above Atenas and few hours out from San Jose, we stopped at Fiesta de las Pupusas for a quick bite to eat. Now, if you have known me for even a minute, you will know that Pupusas, the little Salvadorian bean and pork rind stuffed tortillas, are very quickly climbing the ranks on my list of favorites, nestling comfortably somewhere between corn dogs and fried blueberry pies.

We sat at chest high concrete tables and ate until we were almost swooning from delight (ok I was completely swooning). Pictured above is a shot of one of my three pupusas smothered in pickled cabbage, and encurtido, mixed vegetables soaked in vinegar and hot chilies. To push back the fiery spice I drank a batido of Blackberries in milk and sugar as we made plans for future road trips and book itinerary (including personal cooking lessons from Fernando's Salvadorian Mother) before paying up and heading downhill towards the city.

At this point, a nap, shower and shave were in order before a night out on the town with friends.

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