Cooking and eating through a new culture

2011…in review

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So I made it a year. Tis the time to look back and reassess, adapt and move on. Usually, moving on meant just barely keeping my shit together, but this year I seriously evolved. This was not something I was actively trying to accomplish either. It’s just that when I think back, to things that only happened a little over a year ago, it seems like an eternity and I am such a totally different person. Funny, since I have been following other bloggers, not many have hung on. Yes, I could have written more, and more often. Sometimes Rafa and I would just sample a place quickly, and I would think to myself “Next time, I will write about this.” So, here are a few places we hit that I have failed to mention and that are worthy of your colones:

Product C

Rafa and I stopped in on a Sunday afternoon and had a small nibble. There is a dramatic pause here because I am reliving the sheer awesomeness of their raw oysters. They were a special that day and I was leery of even thinking about getting them. Oysters are an all time love of mine and I have had some silky sweet succulent sliders. Raw (well, duh) with a drop or two of lemon, only. My good friend and sailing aficionado, Jess, and I would wander into places sunburned and surf soaked to suck down some cocktails and seafood and nothing would get us going more than harassing the staff on the quality and constancy of their oysters. Moving to Newfoundland and opening up our own oyster farm was something we seriously considered (after imbibing said cocktails). I had believed the only good oyster was a cold water oyster but Product C changed my mind. If you are jonesing for some hardcore fresh seafood, look no further. This place beats them all hands down. Oh yeah, we had some pretty amazing carpaccio too.


Now this place claims it’s a pub. It’s not. It’s just a tiny bar (with no stools) and a handful of tables. It caters towards the younger set, so if you wander in after dark, it’s usually booming. It has Costa Rica Craft Brew, but not on tap (hence, not a pub). They do play good music, but (God forgive me, I am getting old) it can get quite loud. The kicker is they do have a nice kitchen that offers up some good grub and some excellent fish and chips. And that’s my problem. I haven’t written about this place because I cannot stop ordering the fish and chips. My hometown has fish fry dinners that are out of this world and the Hoxton’s fish and chips remind me so much of home that I am willing to deal with all the pretentious 20 year olds and the fact that my ears will ring for days afterwards.


This place is only a few doors south of Olio. We wandered in, of all the nights, on belly dancing night and I must say, it was fun. Run by two Turkish gentlemen so full of energy (and probably ouzo) you cannot help but be impressed at how much they are able to accomplish. Service was good even amongst the gyrations of the belly dancers and the food was superb. Real honest to God Mediterranean and lamb balls to die for. Yeah, I belly danced too. I had nothing to drink that night, so I can say this with a clear head: I really think one of the dancers was a dude.

La Petite France

This is a tiny little place tucked into a corner of Curridabat on a very busy street. A street we happen to use often since EPA is on it, and well, yeah…the kitchen. Anyway, we stopped in out of curiosity and were not disappointed. It’s French and there is no two ways about it. Open only for a few hours a day, with a tasty but limited menu, it’s worth sitting and overlooking the crazy street for these lovely baguettes. As much as I try, I cannot help but also have one of their superb éclairs. I can pass over any of the local sweets, but when it come to these pastry perfections, I sweetly succumb.

My consumption of alcohol has dropped precipitously. I hardly drink beer anymore, but if I do its only CRCB and the most I can do is two pints. Same goes for wine too. Rafa and I can share a bottle (over dinner) and that’s enough. Mostly we just save up for Sunday mimosas, which are certainly drinks best enjoyed leisurely, with tasty snacks and a nice view. Besides:

Unfortunately, I have become MORE addicted to cheese this year. Being on a tight budget certainly reined in my consumption but I discovered Pricesmart here has been importing some seriously awesome European cheese. Even as I type this, I am nibbling on a slice of French Blue that I have hidden from Rafa in the back of the fridge.

I am the happy hedondist.

I know I seem to write all about blue skies and rainbows. It has nothing to do with convincing you that I am living in paradise and more with the fact that I have altered my out look on my life. I had a lot of anger stored in my tiny body. I had spent years grinding my teeth smooth, seeing doctors about my stomach issues, and getting headaches that would cripple me. They are no more. Alas, I did have a minor set back a few months ago. A traffic altercation escalated between Rafa and an illegal, non Tico, taxi driver. I had assumed that Rafa, with his silver tongue, would smooth things out but things unfortunately turned physical. With 20 years of self-defence training behind me, I shot out of the car like a hellcat and put a beat down on him like he has never had…at least by a woman. This guy was bigger than Rafa or I by at least 60 lbs but there was a ferocity in me I never knew existed. He retreated bloodied and bruised, leaving me behind jacked up on adrenalin and Rafa with a torn shirt. For weeks, the whole situation bothered me. Things truly could have gone horribly wrong. The thought of something happening to Rafa left me cold. As one friend told me, “Yer gonna have to meditate on that one.” And she was right. So mister illegal taxi driver, I am sorry for that level of violence… but I am not sorry for defending someone I love.

We have also been dealing with an illness in the family. Not wanting to air family issues or ruffle any feathers, I will only say that personally, it has been challenging to meet up to the expectations of all around me without being intrusive. This is something I have never had to deal with before, but as the year winds down, I feel very honored to be a part of this family and offer all that I can.

Rafa gave me an opportunity to let go of my old existence and build a new one this year. Sure there will be this gap in my resume for 2011, but I feel now that I can conquer any challenge that comes my way. If I had to sum up the year in one word, it would be blessed. I feel very, very, blessed. It’s been a long time since I could look back like this and feel this way. And and even longer time to look forward to so much, with someone.

“In a true partnership, the kind worth striving for, the kind worth insisting on, and even, frankly, worth divorcing over, both people try to give as much or even a little more than they get. “Deserves” is not the point. And “owes” is certainly not the point. The point is to make the other person as happy as we can, because their happiness adds to ours. Because in the right hands, everything that you give, you get.”

Happy New Year everyone!


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2 thoughts on “2011…in review

  1. Dawn! Been secretly stalking, *ahem*, following your blog since a shared friend mentioned it to me. I finally have to comment 😉 Great post. Glad you are in a better place (literally and figuratively) and I am living vicariously through all your eating endeavors. Buffalo has some great food, but sounds like the palate-pleasing is in full throttle down where you are! Jealous? Yes, I am.

    • Thanks! I really appreciate it! There are many things I miss but there are also so much that fills that void. Feel free to send me pictures of food porn: homemade fresh apple pie, succulent Greek Souvlakis, and I would swoon over cherries and peaches…in any form. THAT would certainly make me jealous! It is wonderful to hear from you and I hope you are having a fantastic new year too. Please give me best to everyone and know that if you ever want to visit, the door is always open. Pura Vida!

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