Thursday, July 30, 2009

arenal noshings

It's true that when in Costa Rica, the food is not going to be the rich mole's and spicy chiles that you'll find in Mexican cooking. In fact, the food is quite simple. Comida tipica (typical food) called gallo pinto (rice and beans) and casado (rice and beans + protein) are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's modest and can be quite lovely, just like the people of Costa Rica.

Our first stop in Arenal was where we were exposed to the most Americanized version of dining in Costa Rica. Well... actually I take that back. It's actually kind of hard to find real, honest to goodness, comida tipica in major Costa Rican cities. Randomly enough, our very first stop was at an Israeli restaurant on our way from the airport to Arenal. Loveat is a super cute restaurant serving ecclectic foods from burgers to pad thai to casado.


I was starving and the view was amazing. We were lucky enough to meet one of the owners, an Israeli lady who had moved to CR 5 years prior with 18 people. They opened this restaurant alongside the ziplines right next door. I always admire people who can take such a big leap of faith.

inside the restaurant

The first thing that we ordered was guanabana (pronounved gwa-NAH-veh-nah) juice. It's a funky big green fruit that is sweet but round, kind of like ripe pineapple. It was very tasty.

oddly refreshing guanabana juice

As for the main course, what option did I have, really? Of course I got the Med platter and I was very glad I did. Everything was just the perfect texture and taste. I thought to myself that it was quite odd to be eating perhaps the best falafel I've ever had in Costa Rica, but I wasn't about to argue. I was too busy eating.

look at the cute little pita patties

Here are come random pictures from other restaurants we went to.

the coolest iced tea, ever. look at that lime! the flesh was an amber color I've never seen before.



Then, for our one year anniversary (!), we went to the nicest/most expensive/most American restaurant in town, Don Rufino. Why did we do it? We read very good reviews, it was open late and had wine. Mostly the the latter two.

mmm... the wine was a lovely white blend from Chile.

some sort of steak, but I have to admit the potato piles looked like teeny turds.

The seafood plate was so much food. it was buttery and garlicky, but not overly so.

The obligatory anniversary dessert.

check out that tea timer!

Arenal may not have been the food mecca of Costa Rica, but I think more than anything, we chose the wrong places to go (barring the two restaurants I mentioned). Better food was to be had, and we were determined to find it.


The Food Librarian said...

Yummy! What a great vacation!! Everything so green. Sometimes we forget that in LA, huh?!

Katy ~ said...

I am starving for all that gorgeous food! All your pix are just lovely!

~~louise~~ said...

Oh Cori, thank you so much for sharing your anniversary. I've been just catching up and it sure sounds like you're having a wonderful time and really getting to enjoy that new camera. The drinks look delicately refreshing; the Seafood Salad amazing!

girlichef said...

You are killin' me!! All of these photos are absolutely amazing!! You look like you're having such a rockin' time :D