Before I left for Costa Rica, I was warned by guide books and travel websites that Costa Rican food is nothing special compared to the food in Mexico and other popular travel destinations nearby. Meals are usually typical Latin American dishes, always incorporating beans and rice.
I wasn’t expecting much, but I love Latin American food so I knew I’d be happy with anything I got. But what I got turned out to be much much better than what I expected.
The options we have for lunch every day were overwhelming. In Grecia, a town to the west of Carillos, is Café Delicias, an American style restaurant with the best burritos I have ever eaten. When we’re feeling homesick, we catch a bus to Alajuela, where we hop into a taxi for a short ride to the mall and the Food Court. Here is where we gorge ourselves on KFC, Burger King and Taco Bell. In Alajuela, when we’re wandering the streets, we’ll stop in to a bakery somewhere along the way and pick up some freshly baked bread. Or we’ll make a visit to the indoor market, and order empanadas from a tiny restaurant tucked into a corner somewhere.
At home in Carrillos, everyone agrees that the best place to eat is Bochini’s, an amazing pizza place. Unfortunately, Bochini’s isn’t open for lunch, which leaves us to find some other place to fill our bellies. Sometimes we’ll turn to the little café next door, La Carreta, but more often than not, we’ll stock up on Oreo Wafers and Costa Rican crackers at the SuperMercado across the street.
No matter what I eat for lunch, I can always expect a great dinner when I get home. Mi madre, Cinthya, cooks the best food, no matter what it is. Everything comes with rice, of course, but the meals range from soups to quesadillas to pork chops. And it’s all delicious. I have a list of food I have to figure out how to make when I get home, and each day it grows longer and longer because I know that once I’m back in the States, I am going to miss everything I’m eating now.
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