Jardín Del Parque, my substitute kitchen
Everytime I think about it, I give a mournful sigh. I miss it with a depth of sorrow few people can understand and, at times, it can lead me into quite a funk. Maybe that is why I covet those of others. I want my kitchen.
Circumstances being what they are, Rafa and I are only guests, or how I sometimes see it: homeless. Sure, we have a comfortable place to live, but it is not ours and that wears on me. We have been in a long limbo waiting for opportunities to manifest and we still have some time to go. So we wait, and I ache for a kitchen of my own.
Normally, my kitchen would be stocked with a plethora of good-for-you goodies. I love cooking healthy because going out meant splurging on a hamburger, chicharrónes, a plate of prosciutto and cheese, or any number of tasty delicacies I wouldn’t necessarily make (although Rafa savoringly raves about my hand packed hamburgers.) For the most part, what we eat out is what we don’t normally have, but since I have not been cooking, I miss a nice healthy meal of food I feel good about. Enter Jardín Del Parque .
Jardín Del Parque was, oddly enough, right under my nose all along but it took me, and my never-ending search for good eats, to tentatively begin talking to (and then never seeming to shut up) to the owner, whom I met at the Feria Verde. I am horribly self-conscious about my limited Spanish and pointing at everything I see with a childlike “¿Qué es eso?” Then someone speaks English to me and I start chattering away like a monkey in a tree looking for a treat. Needless to say, English is widely spoken at this restaurant.
Only open since the beginning of the year, this lovely establishment is set east of the Parque de National tucked into a small hotel of the same name. The eating area is under a wonderful custom-made bamboo tent, made by the same person who built their tables and chairs. One of my biggest pet peeves about eating around here are wobbly tables. I have shimmed countless tables to keep my food from sliding around but these are perfectly sturdy and something I would even invest in for my future home…*sigh*
Sometimes I find vegetarian food a little lacking (like meat) but you will not miss your portion of protein with these flavorful meals. Not only is the food tasty but everything is organic, locally grown, free of refined sugar or artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, artificial flavors and GMOs. Basically, just like I make!
The plato del dia is an ever-changing delicious offer of all that is good in the world. The meal includes a starter of soup or salad and a generous main meal with a choice of drink. The day I went, I had a mushroom risotto that I still long for. Curious about good fresh mushrooms, I was told these were a combination of some personally grown and farm produced from around Cartago. Oh, how I love mushrooms.
The drinks are wonderfully creative mixing fruit and spice to tantalize your taste buds, like ginger mango, or blackberry cinnamon. There is fine coffee and loose tea (no commercial tea bags here) should you need something to chase away the cool blast of afternoon showers. Since those showers can linger a bit, be sure to add one of their sweet and savory desserts too. I have been finding that my sweet tooth is being refined with my added consumption of Costa Rican made chocolate. It’s not the sweetness I crave, but the depth and complexity of flavor. Needless to say, all the chocolate used at Jardín Del Parque comes from the finest chocolatiers (more on that soon!)
I tend to take my time through the menu since it all looks divine. Open Monday through Friday (because weekends are for decadence) from 11am to 7pm. Be sure to check daily specials on their Facebook page and drool over the luscious pictures they post. Luckily, all this is a short jaunt from where we live. I have a feeling I will be making this place a regular escape. If they get their wifi up, I may just take up permanent residence.