After our first night in Costa Rica we got up to search for food. We have a kitchen in the unit we are staying in so we can prepare some of our meals. I have been looking forward to the tropical fruit, one of my favorite things here. Before our arrival I had checked online and knew there was a grocery store nearby. Last night and this morning we stopped into the two Mini Markets at the resort. Both were disappointments. They had plenty of packaged junk foods, sodas and alcoholic beverages but no fresh food. Gary did find a package of brown rice but we left it there opting to wait until we went to the grocery store in town. We were told it was 800 meters away. We left the resort and turned onto the main road and walked. There was not much to see, a few houses, a parked bus and a couple of guys running up to stopped cars, peddling something. Then it was our turn to be stopped. A pleasant looking young man stopped in his car to say “hola” as we were walking, wanting to tell us about a new resort call “Secrets”. He got out of the car and gave us a brochure. There was a “special” on tomorrow for only $180/person, $360 for two at the new resort, where we could get a taste of the place, eat and drink as if we were actual members of the club. “No, thanks, we are not interested,” we said and politely moved on. The brochure gave me the creeps. The eligibility requirements included having to be 35-70 for married couples and 35-65 for single women; why was there a five-year age limit for single women??
We found the grocery store, Super Luperon. The name made us think of the chemo drug, Lupron, that I almost had to take 11 years ago during my journey with advanced ovarian cancer, but that’s another story, never mind, anyway… It looked like a hangout, there was a bunch of teens out in front. The store was a bit of a disappointment. It was small and the produce section was even smaller. Still, I was happy to pick up my fruits, Pineapple, Papaya, Mango, Bananas. We grabbed 5 gorgeous Avocados, some Onions, Lettuce, Cabbage, Tomatoes. We bought beans, nothing but beans – Black Beans, Garbanzo Beans and Lentils, all grown in Costa Rica. We looked for Rice. All they had was White and most was the partially cooked variety. We remembered the Brown Rice at the Mini Market. We chose a small package of uncooked White Rice. It’s a vacation, we’ll be decadent! I found a container of Organic Tahini (made in Israel) and Gary found Pacific Soy Milk (made in Oregon). I didn’t know Pacific made the kind of Soy Milk we liked, made with just Soy Beans and water, but this was it. I also grabbed a box of Silken Tofu and a package of Nori. They had Nori! With white rice and avocado I’ll be making Avocado Maki. We were set with the minimum basic comforts of home.
At the register, the cashier asked us if we wanted the Avocados since all five cost about $11! We haven’t been eating avocados as much at home because they are so expensive, but again, we splurged. After all this is a vacation, and my big birthday month celebration.
The dollar is currently strong relative to the Costa Rican colones, but some of our precious necessities were pricey. The Soy Milk was about $7.80 and the Tahini was about $12.40 and unlike the produce, beans and grains, they included sales tax.
Breakfast: Once back at our condo, we sat down to enjoy the rewards of our hunt. We had Papaya and a bowl of Oats with Soy Milk, of course, plus Bananas. Gary had brought Raisins and Walnuts with him on the plane so we had them to add to the cereal.
Dinner: The rest of the day we spent exploring the resort. While relaxing by the Infinity pool someone asked if we were interested in a Pilates class. I jumped up and went along. It turns out I was the only one. I had a private class!
For dinner, I got the Black Beans cooking after they had been soaking for a few hours. I also prepared the White Rice. While they cooked I made a Guacamole with Avocado, Tomatoes and Onion, thinking that I forgot to pick up a lemon or lime, or a Mandarina Aceto which I was familiar using instead when in Costa Rica.
The beans took a long time to cook. You may remember, that when I cook beans at home, I often love to eat them plain, I find them so delicious. This was not the case here. These beans were not delicious. They had a slightly bitter taste. I could see why people would add salt and oil and tons of spices to these beans to make them tasty. We had no spice, nada. What we did have was Tahini. Tahini came to the rescue. And Chef Gary thought to use a little chopped Pineapple with it in place of Lemon or Lime. It worked. We used lettuce leaves for Tortillas and made a meal.
Evening: Bananas served as our sweet treat for the evening.