Cooking and eating through a new culture

Ooo La La

Some of the best days are the days that just evolve…and it all started with a dress.

It is always a risk to put a little polish on at this time of the year, where days can morph from sunny to soggy in a matter of minutes. My weekly wear consists of your basic jeans and a T-shirt but lets face it, I was sick of practicality. I wanted posh. So while we discussed the plan for the day, I picked a little number I hadn’t worn in ages and some nice sandals.

Rafa looks up from the couch, “You look lovely. Let me take you out for breakfast.”

We make our way to the other side of town and the whole way, I drooled over what I wanted. Our destination: Chez Christophe.  At one point we had a decent Tico breakfast place, but it has since be transformed into a crappy cowboy-esque sports bar, complete with its own mechanical bull. Bleech. But lets face it, nobody does breakfast better than the French. Chez Christophe has to be one of our greatest finds so far; a tiny little eatery, with a luscious menu and nice staff. The menu may not be extensive but it does hold a perfect balance of what you need. And what I NEEDED was this:

WAFFLES! You see, we had been here before for coffee and lunch but waffles can only be bought on weekends and they are divine. Fresh and light as air they soak up the maple syrup perfectly. I was so happy. Since I feel obligated to report full disclosure, I must write that Rafa says I make better omelets and he did find a hair in his meal. I wondered how the woman seated behind Rafa with the Prada messenger bag and Bulgari watch would have handled this discretion. On a whole, the place is cozy and reasonably priced and you just cannot keep me away from these waffles.

There were a few things we needed to do, so after breakfast we ran some errands with the idea of meeting up with friends in a couple of hours, but as that time neared they had to cancel. So without missing a beat, we picked up the chilled bottle of sparkling wine we had in the fridge, our plastic champagne flutes, and bought some prosciutto and cheese at Auto Mercado and headed to our favorite little park, Plaza de Francia. It is a tiny, diamond-shaped park nestled in a quiet neighborhood that Rafa and I like to dream about buying a house in. The park usually has a handful of people lounging and playing around. The enormous bay trees hold numerous critters including this little guy:

A few months ago, doing the same things as we usually do (drinking mimosas in the middle of the afternoon), I leaned back on the park bench to look up at the tree and there exactly above us was this little guy wondering WTF we were doing and why we were making so much racket (notice the one peeper stare, as if to say, “You people again?”) He has been there consistently through many bottles of sparkling wine.  Needless to say, he has heard us solve all the worlds problems.

As the afternoon darkened, we were still loath to head home. With one final errand to run, we ended up next to another favorite destination to wind down a perfect day: Tierra de Vinos. Located in Curribat just west of the EPA, tucked into of all places a plaza, is a small wine store. On one stressful day a few weeks ago, Rafa and I wandered in to decompress and discovered to our delight, they offered Beaujolais! As much as we sampled the wines of South America, we have found, to our dismay, that well…they have been giving us heartburn. It may have to do more with the fact that we usually buy the cheap stuff, but still…it has caused much consternation. But Beaujolais has a wonderful lightness yet it is still complex and lucky for us, inexpensive. A bottle, corked and served there, runs about $15 USD.

Sitting outside on the patio sipping our wine, we also ordered a gooey chocolate brownie because nothing says hedonism like wine and chocolate with someone you love.

For a day that really had no set plan, that could vomited down rain at any moment, we were French.  And it all began with a little dress.


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