We often say we merely travel for the food. When scoping out a new place to visit, one of the first things we look for is good food.
Tokyo was like that; we just wanted to eat everything we saw in anime. Seriously, I went to Japan with a food bucket list. We deliberately sought out taiyaki and ramen, and we really did just go to Osaka for the food (okonomiyaki followed immediately by takoyaki). We looked forward to the amazing breakfasts served at our ryokan, and we couldn’t get enough of all the little street vendors.
The truth is: we’re from Portland. Portland is a serious foodie town, and we’re no exception. We love to eat.
So when we went to Costa Rica, I couldn’t wait to find out what kind of food they would have. With this trip being largely a surprise, and with no anime to provide clues, I didn’t know what to expect. I suspected tropical fruits and perhaps something with a Spanish flair.
We quickly found out that rice and beans are their thing. Served with every meal, it provides the foundation of their diet. We had it with our morning omelets and for lunch. We had it before venturing out to Isla Tortuga and after our canopy tour. And at our resort, we could count on it having a permanent spot on the buffet line.
The resort of course offered other delicacies, and we ate almost all of our meals there. They were included, for one, so that saved on costs. But we also discovered that they actually served really good food. Tamales, plantains, steak, salad, rice, pork, fish. This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill Sizzler; they had top-class chefs pumping out phenomenal meals en masse.
They also didn’t take the easy route of figuring out one menu and feeding that into a nightly rinse and repeat. No; every day had fresh offerings. And very much like the shows also offered by the resort, each night featured a theme, complete with appropriate decorations and music. We saw Costa Rican food, Spanish food, Japanese, ocean, Mexican, French – and everything was done well.
And if we ever tired of the offerings there, there were two additional restaurants on the resort premises. These were even a step above the buffet (if that’s possible), meals that would typically be reserved for a very special occasion. Check out this seafood platter I ordered (I couldn’t resist)!
Even the snacks passed around the pool were amazing.
And the desserts! We ate so much because we wanted to try absolutely everything… and then we shoved everything aside so we could squeeze in some of the delectable desserts. These differed each day, too, so I couldn’t even trust rotating through them over the course of the week. Like the beans and rice, rice pudding seemed to be a dessert staple, so once I tried that by itself, I had the brilliant idea of trying the warm concoction over some ice cream – yum!
In fact, we were only disappointed with one meal, and that’s only because we missed the official buffet time. The poolside cantina sadly left much to be desired after all we had come to expect; this “calzone” served with french fries (yeah) was dry, chewy, and greasy. Needless to say, we learned to not miss mealtime again.
Forgiving that, even the meals we had away from the resort were delicious (and accompanied by beans and rice). The soda served authentic streetside comfort food, and our B&B in Alujuela was simply superb. Aside from the one meal, we were met with only yummy food.
Seriously, I think we could just eat ourselves around the world. I love a variety of cuisines, and I’m fortunate to live in a town rife with restaurants and food carts catering to just that. I admit I’ll miss that beans and rice staple, in all of its minor variations. And I can’t wait to see what other countries have to offer our taste buds. Until then, I’ll sample what I can locally and dream of the foreign culinary excellence from afar.