Cooking and eating through a new culture

Cocoricó, Cahuita

Playa Blanca

Ahhh, Cahuita.

The whole Caribbean actually. It’s lovely. Sure it has elements of the wild, wild, west; dirt roads, drugs, roosters waking you up in the wee hours of the morning….but it also has blissful stretches of beach, animals that fall right of National Geographic, and that sultry, tropical sun that lulls all your cares away. There isn’t much to the place: a muddy road through the center of town with more empty places than full but in reality it has what you need and that’s all.

Rafa and I try to make the trek over the mountains to the beach whenever we can and like most things we do, we squeeze in as much adventure as possible. We’ve explored the gringo haven of Puerto Viejo, the soft sand beaches of Cocles, all the way down to the idyllic Mazanillo. Most evenings we just hang out at the cabinas, with some wine and a simple meal but there has been a couple of times where we had an exhausting day in the sun and a meal out sounded much more satisfactory. On these occasions, we normally find ourself at Cocoricó. There are a couple of reasons for this….there’s not that much to choose from and I am seriously addicted to their Pasta Carabina.

To say pasta is a staple in my diet is an understatement. I have been fed pasta since before I could hold a fork. Anyone who doesn’t eat pasta has something seriously wrong with them, and yes, the Atkins diet is the work of the devil. As the story goes, a traveling Italian girl found herself in this tiny little town and fell in love with a local Tico (Can you imagine that?!) and after bouncing around together for a bit, they came back and opened Cocoricó. Given the limitations of what can be imported to the far reaches of Costa Rica,  Cocoricó has a fine menu, balanced between local and Italian cuisine. Normally I do not order out what I could easily fix at home, but the cabinas are not as stocked as my kitchen and pasta is comfort food…and it soaks up the wine too. As extensive as the menu is, I have yet to waver from my favorite. Pasta Carabina is a light coconut sauce with shrimp over spaghetti. It’s not a curry nor is it Thai. For me, it is the perfect blend of Tico and Italian and a perfect meal to close out a full day in the tropics. Rafa hasn’t found his go-to dish but he has experimented more with the menu than me and hasn’t been disappointed. It seems they do a brisk pizza business judging by the take out orders I saw flying out of there, but it may have to do more with a gringo’s bad case of the munchies than anything else.

Cocoricó is located on the main drag and easy to find. It has an open air, quirky vibe to the place. The widescreen TV at one end of the business has a constant cycle of movies and music to enjoy your 2 for 1 happy hour cocktails (I stick with wine, thank you) , not to mention a few comfy couches to lounge on too. You better like Michael Jackson, Madonna and Bob Marley. Just say’in.


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