Sunday, July 20, 2014

Restaurant Reviews

I have been living in Costa Rica for a little over 2 months now, and wanted to share a post about places we have eaten and our thoughts.  Some we have eaten at other times before we moved here as well.  It's hard to pick favorites, as we like different places for different reasons and food.  Here goes though.  I will update this list as we try different places as well and will try to post links to those that have websites.

1.  Green Room Café.  We have eaten here twice for dinner since moving here.  A couple local people recommended it to me, and we finally tried it.  Awesome place.  They have a regular menu, and a special menu that is written out on a chalkboard in the restaurant.  There is indoor and outdoor seating.  They have live music on most Friday and Saturday nights.  They also have a lot of local art displayed inside, which I believe is for sale.  I have also heard that they have an organic market there sometimes, but I have not asked when.  I need to do that.  Anyway, both times we ate there, no wait and easy to get a table.  We were told to sit anywhere we wanted to and both times, we sat indoors.  Both times, we ordered the exact same meals, so I guess we must have liked them!  :).  We started with two appetizers, falafel and guacamole.  Both awesome.  Kurt was leery of the falafel, but the second time we ate there, he ate that entire app himself!  The chips served with the guac are really good and taste homemade.  For my meal, I had the best mahi burrito of my life.  It was super spicy and just incredible.  Kurt had a grilled jalapeno and cheese sandwich with fries.  The sandwich is made with thick bread and the fries crispy.  We both had sodas, but one time Kurt had a juice that he really enjoyed. The second time we ate here, our friend RJ joined us.  He started with ceviche and had the mahi tacos, both of which he raved about.  One note, the Costa Ricans seem to like to go heavy with the cabbage on the tacos, so if you are not a fan, order none or ask for light.  RJ took about half of his off the tacos and I would have too if I ordered them.  The website says cash only, but we have paid with a card both times so I think that is an old entry.  We heard no music the first trip there, but the second time there was an acoustic duo playing American type music and they were really good.  Service has been awesome both times.  Prices are very reasonable.  I think our meal each time was around $40, but that was for drinks, 2 apps, and 2 meals.  They also use all local ingredients to cook their meals and make drinks.  I imagine we will be back here many times over.

2.  Taco Bar.  This is one of my fav places to eat in the world.  It is VERY casual, the one in Jaco anyway.  There is a bar you can sit at with swings, or there are tables outside to sit at as well.  We ate here many times before moving here, and we have eaten here twice since moving back.  They have 3 other locations besides the Jaco one, but the only other one I have been to is in Escazu, and I prefer Jaco, just for the casual beach environment.  Anyway, I get the same thing every single time I go here.  Ahi tuna tacos (two) spicy and well done with cheese.  You order at the window, they bring you the tacos on shells, and then you go to the salad bar in the middle of the restaurant to put the toppings on your tacos.  I usually add lettuce, onion, a spicy sauce they have.  They also have these little potatoes that everyone raves about.  Kurt eats a ton of these every trip.  They have bread as well that is pretty yummy.  You can go to the salad bar as many times as you want, so I have seen people go back multiple times for more salad or potatoes.  Kurt gets smoothies there for most meals and raves about those as well, but I usually get a Diet Coke.  We have never had a bad meal here.  We went with another couple last time, and our male friend said it was the best taco bar he has ever been to, which is saying a lot since he is from the land of taco bars, San Diego.  Prices are reasonable here as well, I think our bill is usually around $25.00.  Side note, they have breakfast here as well.

3.  Los Amigos.  Probably the most popular sports bar in Jaco.  Located on a corner near Taco Bar and El Lagar.  They have a huge menu here for a sports bar, with lots of variety in food. Kurt's fav thing here is the menu item called Big Ass Smoothie.  He adds extra protein and its great for workouts.  Anyway, I always get the shrimp pad thai and its incredible.  Kurt gets the mahi rice bowl most trips.  We had a guac app once that I would say was OK.  They served it with crackers in a package, and I thought that was a turnoff as I hate anything in a package.  But, it was decent besides that. We always get awesome service.  We tried to go here to watch one of the Costa Rica soccer games recently and the entire place was reserved ahead of time, so that shows how popular they are.  They have both indoor and outdoor seating and take credit cards.

4.  Caliche's Wishbone Restaurant and Bar.  We have been here twice after moving and had eaten here once prior to moving.  The seating is right on the Jaco strip so its great for people watching.  The appetizers here are awesome.  We have gotten a couple, both with chips and black beans or guac.  Both good.  I always get the mahi burrito here and it's great.  It used to be my fav until I discovered the one I really like at The Green Room (above).  Credit cards accepted.  Great service and have never had a bad meal here.

5.  Graffiti.  We have been here three times, all prior to moving here.  I consider this higher end dining, for Jaco anyway.  This in no way means you have to dress up though and casual is kind of the way of the land in Jaco and Costa Rica in general.  I think I wore a sundress and sandals.  Anyway, the décor in this place is awesome.  All graffiti covering the walls.  It is a small place, so on busy nights, I would recommend reservations.  We were lucky each time and they fit us in, but it was slammed each time we were there.  It is also kind of out of the way and hard to find, so ask around as it is not right on the main strip.  The menu here is on a whiteboard and changes daily and sometimes changes while you are there depending on availability. Every meal I have had here is creative and awesome.  We also split a dessert there one time for Kurt's bday, it was called Elvis something or other and it was truly amazing.  One of the best I have ever had.  Service is always awesome, and the place is just a gem. Credit cards accepted.   Highly recommend for a nicer meal out.

6.  Lemon Zest.  This place is raved about by everyone I encounter and it is a favorite for people.  We ate here once after the move.  I would suggest reservations on busy nights, but we lucked out and got a table.  They have indoor and outdoor seating.  This place is higher end, both in price and ambiance.  I would say it may even be a little snobby for Kurt and I, since we like casual places.  Service was perfect though.  They had a regular menu and specials which are told to you by the waiter.  Truthfully, I would prefer special written down so I don't have to remember them.  I had a seafood soup that was amazing, followed by a coconut shrimp entrée.  Both fabulous and prepared perfectly.  Prices are high for Jaco, but the food is worth it here.  Credit cards accepted.

7.  Jaco Taco.  I have eaten here once, and it was the night I arrived in Costa Rica to live and I was exhausted.  But, they were open as they are 24 hours, and Kurt had no food in the house since he can't cook without me.  Mexican food is very sparse in Costa Rica, so this place is popular when one wants to get a Mexican fix.  Great service, although we were the only table when we were there late at night.  I had a burrito and it was awesome.  It also was a great serving size, as I was starving and it filled me up.  Prices are great, and it's awesome to have a place open all night in Jaco in case you are craving a snack.  Kurt ate here quite often before I moved down, and he liked every meal.  It's a great place to watch the game, and they play American sports so Kurt would watch the Tigers.

8.  Amancio's.  Italian place in Jaco.  Pizza and pastas.  We should have only ordered one pizza.  We thought they were smaller sized, but they were HUGE.  I had a tuna and onion pizza and Kurt had cheese.  We ended up bringing home the equivalent of an entire pizza.  Super good food and exceptional service.  Indoor and outdoor seating, we sat outdoors here.  We also had a yummy bruschetta appetizer.  The credit card machine went down while we were eating, so we had to pay cash, which could have been a problem if we had no cash, but it was fine.  TVs to watch as you eat as well. 

9.  Pizza Pata.  Kurt ate here once before I moved down, and the other day, we were waiting for our travel agent to finish with some other people and he was hungry, so we stopped in.  I ordered a tuna and spinach one slice pizza and Kurt ordered three cheese. The pizza is awesome and a huge serving for one slice.  Cooked while we were there, and the prices were low.  Service was great.  They also have cheese and crushed pepper in packets on the table.  And wow, that crushed pepper was spicy, even for me!  Many say this is the best pizza in Jaco.  I don't have much to compare it to, but I thought it was pretty great.  They also deliver.

10.  Pops.  Chain ice cream place.  Lots of choices, both yogurt and ice cream.  Lots of different shakes, sundaes and other ways to have your ice cream.  I have not had much here, as I usually just go with Kurt and watch him eat.  But, I had a sundae there once with caramel ice cream and it was amazing.  They have waffle bowls for the sundaes made from scratch that were awesome.  Quick service and good prices.

11.  Heladeria El Barco.  Located next to Restaurant El Barco.  Gelato style ice cream served in a variety of ways.  Super yummy.  I have only technically eaten there once and had a cookie gelato that was amazing, one scoop in a cone.  Kurt has tried a lot and likes it all.  They have this meal you can get with a waffle and ice cream on top that looks amazing.  Have not had that yet.
12.  I Love Sushi.  When we ate here the first time, pre-move, it was located on the main highway and not in downtown Jaco.  They have since moved to downtown Jaco.  We ate here one time since moving.  The service was perfect in both locations.  The last time we ate there, the waiter brought out a free appetizer to try, fried green beans, that were awesome.  We both started with miso soup, and split three sushi rolls.  The rolls were all incredible.  Kurt commented it was possibly the best sushi he ever had.  Downfall to this place is price.  It seemed really high priced for Jaco.  Our bill was around $70 and we did not have alcohol, just sodas.  Supposedly, the local favorite place for sushi that has more reasonable prices is Arigato, so we will be trying that next for sushi just to save money.
13.  Dolce Vita.  I met up with a friend for lunch and she suggested Dolce Vita.  This place is located in the marina shopping area in Los Suenos Resort in Herradura.  This place has a menu and also inside, lots of bakery like treats and desserts.  I was not super hungry, so I had a bowl of minestrone soup which came with some amazing bread.  The soup was awesome.  My friend had soup and bread as well.  Service was good and there was seating outside and inside.  Prices were reasonable as well and the views are great there.

14. Surf Dogs.  Ate here once while watching Costa Rica lose in the World Cup.  Boo.  Kurt and I split some appetizers and I had one passionfruit daiquiri.  They have all these premixed units on the wall with different flavors.  Anyway, the daiquiri was incredible and left me buzzed the entire time I was there and after.  So, fabulous drinks.  The food was below average.  I was starving, so it hit the spot, but was your typical bar food that is nothing special.  Service was OK.  Waitress did not come to the table very often to see if we needed more to drink.  The place was slammed though, so I will cut her some slack.   I would prob not eat here again, but would have drinks for sure.

Border Run to Nicaragua from Herradura

In Costa Rica, you have to leave the country every 90 days and re-enter if you are not a resident. Technically, if you have applied to be a resident, you do not have to do this, however, there is another law that says if you do not leave every day and are not a resident, you cannot legally drive and your insurance is invalid.  So, even though Kurt and I have applied for residency, we still had to do this border run in order to still be able to legally drive in the country.

Kurt was coming up on his 90 days on August 1, so we decided to go on Friday together and get on the same schedule.  I had until September since I was in Michigan in June for a wedding, but we want to be on the same time schedule to make things easier.  Hopefully we are approved soon and don't have to keep doing this.

The law used to say that you had to leave for 72 hours before you could come back, but, that is no longer necessary. 

We had two country choices, Nicaragua and Panama.  I read a lot online before doing this and decided that Nicaragua seemed like less of a hassle, so we headed to the border at Penas Blancas. 

Got up early and stopped once to get gas and some snacks. The drive was LONG.  It should have been about 3 hours, but there was a TON of construction and traffic, and it took about 4 hours.  I downloaded this great app called Waze, that a lot of people in Costa Rica use. It was great telling us where police officers were ahead of time, since using a radar detector is not useful in this country since the police do not use radar for the most part.

When we got there, we parked right next the entrance.  You can get a guy to watch your case for a few bucks.  You don't have to, but I would not chance leaving my car there and pissing them off by not paying.  You can also exchange money in case you plan on going into Nicaragua for lunch or seeing the sites.  We exchanged a small amount of money and headed off.  There are a TON of handlers there who want to help you get through the process. Hiring one of them could be helpful, but you can figure it out yourself.  Since Kurt has been through a TON of borders, we decided to forego hiring anyone.  In the meantime, we had to tell about 100 helpers we did not need help.  It is very annoying and they are VERY pushy.  Anyway. First place we went was to pay the Ministerio de  Hacienda Direccion General de Tributacion.  This building was to the right of where we parked and right at the entrance.  Small wait in line.  This was a fee of $7 per person and they gave us a yellow receipt we would have to show later to prove we paid. 

We next went to Costa Rican customs.  To get to this building, you have to walk a ways down the main road outside the first building.  Handlers will again drive you crazy.  There is a form you have to fill out, one per person, to present to the customs person.  Bring a pen!  Got to this building and there was a kind of long line.  Waited, and it went quickly.  Got to the front, and they checked all documents.  There are restrooms outside the customs building.

Next, you have to go to Nicaragua.  You walk a ways down the main road.  You can rent someone to give you a ride in a little cart, but we were not lazy, LOL.  Got harassed by handlers, again.  On the way two police officers stopped us at booths to check our documents.  Got the Nicaragua building, which is off the street to the right.  Have to pay $1 municipality tax and then you head to customs.  There, you pay $12 to enter Nicaragua.  Remember to have a copy of your passport.  I think they ask for that for people from certain countries.  We did not have one, so they sent us to a yellow building outside to get the copy, which cost $12 cents each.  Went back in, waited in line again.  There is a customs form you have to fill out here as well. 

Once you get done there, you can go into Nicaragua.  However, we did not want to go into town as we had a long drive back.  So, we walked to the other side of the building and started the process back into Costa Rica.  You pay another $1 tax to exit, then wait at the window again, and pay the $12.00 fee again to exit the country.

The next step was walking the main road again back to Costa Rican customs.  We had to stop at the two checkpoints again, and for some reason, the one officer gave us a hard time.  Even though the time is not on anything, he kept saying we had to stay in Nicaragua for 4 hours before we could leave.  I knew this was not true.  Of course, there was a handler there who could "help" for $20.  If we gave him $20, the 4 hour rule would not apply.  Since we had no desire to wait 4 hours or go into Nicaragua (lunch and a taxi would have been more that $20), we gave him $20.  He then said it was $20 per person.  We got annoyed and said no and started to walk away.  I guess he changed his mind and wanted to help us, so he took the $20 and the officer smiled and let us through, no problem.  Pura Vida!

Then, you go to the Costa Rican customs.  There, they will ask for your proof that you are leaving Costa Rica within 90 days.  We both had bus tickets that proved we were leaving within 90 days that we got from Rebekah at Solutions Travel in Jaco.  Those worked fine and we were set to leave and drive back to Jaco.

Found our car right away, tipped the guy who watched it, and we were off.  Long drive home, stopped once in Liberia for a snack.

Exhausting day.  Was glad to be home.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Food in Costa

One thing Kurt and I are really enjoying in Costa Rica compared to the US is the food.

I also have a lot more time here to concentrate on healthy eating and cooking, so that helps with this love as well.

Almost everything we buy now is not processed or in a box.  In MI, almost everything I bought, with the exception of fresh fish, was processed.

This is how our eating/shopping habits here have worked thus far.

Every Friday, we go to the veggie and fruit market in Jaco and stock up for the week.  I am getting pretty good at knowing exactly what we need to make it through the week.  We generally buy some variety of the following:  lots of bananas (usually like 12 or so, and this does not even take us through the week sometimes), a zucchini, radishes, potatoes, a couple tomatoes, 6 avocados (which I use to make guac), onions about every other trip, nectarines, limes, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, and mammon chino.  Kurt also buys this bread he likes, and sometimes, fresh squeezed OJ and fresh baked pie, depending on his mood.  The pies are made by the Mennonites and always look amazing (I may have sneaked a bite of one).  The quality of the food here is amazing compared to the local grocery stores and cheaper.  We love the market.  If we need stuff in between Fridays, we go to another local market that carries just fruit and veggies.  We also buy eggs at this market usually.

Cheese and yogurt we buy from a local dairy farm.  We can also buy milk and eggs there, but have not yet.  I talked about our first experience there in a previous post.

Fish we buy at a local fish market.  They have about 7 types of fish on a regular basis, and so far I have bought tuna, marlin and sea bass.  I should branch out and try something new, but I like those and have stuck with them.  We buy fish about once every other week. 

At the grocery stores, the only food items I really buy are seasonings and spices, toiletries, milk, butter, pet and cleaning supplies. 

I mentioned to Kurt the other day we have so much less garbage to take out here, and he said it is because we are eating so much less in a box.  He is right!  It's so kewl.

We eat so differently here too.  I make Kurt breakfast every morning, which I NEVER EVER did in MI.  Maybe like once every 6 months.  We generally only ate breakfast if we were on vacation.  We eat more eggs here than we ever have, I never even bought eggs in MI because they would go bad before we ate them.  For breakfast, I generally make Kurt eggs with potatoes, or French toast, or pancakes.  I make my own syrup.  I also will cut up fruit for him pre-meal, and sometimes make toast with his meal.  About every other day, I make him a smoothie as well with chia seeds we bought at the Friday market.  The pugs love breakfast time, as Gretel is obsessed with eggs and Oscar is obsessed with nectarines.  Kurt does not really eat lunch.  I will usually eat either a bowl of cereal for a late breakfast.  For lunch, Kurt will just snack on fruits and cheese and stuff like that, but I usually eat cut up carrot slices with guac.  Dinner, we generally have fish (tuna or marlin usually).  With mine, I sometimes fry an egg, have rice, or zucchini.  For Kurts, I roll his fish in a pita and add things like black beans, veggies, potatoes, etc.  I also will sometimes broil fresh broccoli. I like having a snack at night, so I usually make myself banana ice cream, which is banana, ice, a tiny bit of milk and cinnamon in the blender.  I make it thick, and eat it with a spoon.  I sometimes also freeze bananas and mix with some granola for a snack.  We buy the granola at a local health food store.  We drink a lot of water, mixed in with some orange juice for Kurt and Coke Zero for me.  I know, I know.  Shoot me, I still have not kicked the diet pop or caffeine habit.  My one vice.........I am drinking WAY less though.   I have been making beans differently too.  Buy those NOT in a can, and make them myself in the slow cooker.   I make them spicy, adding in cumin, onions, tomatoes, pepper, salt, etc.  I freeze half, and pull out as needed to make meals.  Rice I don't buy in a box either.  Buy that and make a couple cups at a time in the rice cooker. 

We eat out once a week.  We try to eat someplace different each week (although I am aware I will run out of places soon, LOL).  This week, we ate at a place called The Green Room and it was amazing, I absolutely loved it.  I hate a mahi burrito and Kurt has a pepper grilled cheese and fries.  We split from guac and falafel for an app.  Super yummy.  I highly recommend the place if you live in the area and have not been there.  I have heard they have amazing breakfast there too.

In MI, I would not eat breakfast, and neither would Kurt.  For lunch, I generally had a boxed tv dinner type meal, like Lean Cuisine, which I would scarf down at my desk since I barely had time to eat.  Kurt would either not eat, or would order in food, like Mexican or Subway.  We would sometimes eat lunch out.  Dinner, we ate in a lot, but a lot of it was boxed, processed, crap.  What a difference living here has allowed me.  With the extra time on my hands and the markets available everywhere....

So, that is the difference in eating here in Costa Rica.  I can't imagine the positive impact this is having on our bodies, eating so well all the time.

Pura Vida!




Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Freedom in the US vs Costa Rica

My husband posted this picture on his facebook wall today that he found online.

This sign documents really well why we don't think the US is free. Everywhere you turn, there is a law, a rule, somebody telling you what to do, judgmental people.  There is a car accident, and someone runs out and names a new law, naming it after the person who just died.  LAW after LAW after LAW.  It is never ending.  And the US people seem to be fine with it, most thinking that the laws are there to protect them and keep them safe.  It's pathetic.  I have no desire to live someplace where my every move is monitored and there is a law I have to follow with every single thing I do.

People in the US don't get simply having personal responsibility.  Why do we even need a sign like the above?  Seriously.  We need a ton of rules on a holiday that is supposed to be celebrating our "independence"?

The US is not free any longer, and has not been for a long time.   We send these men and women out to war to supposedly protect our freedom, and in reality, all they are protecting is the government's agenda, whatever it may be at the time, and that is just wrong.

However, until the US people get that and do something about that, the country will continue to just be in downward spiral of giving our government complete control over everything we do.

Can't wait to celebrate Independence Day in Costa Rica in September.  I will be taking my dogs and going to the beach, where nobody will be videotaping me, I can stay as late as I want, drink alcohol, sleep there if I want, light off fireworks if I want, and no police will be searching my bags.  And unlike the US, I doubt there will be any crime that day, or shootings, or anything remotely dangerous happening.

Pura Vida to true freedom.

Final Game for the Ticos

Saturday, Kurt and I headed into town to watch the Holland vs Costa Rica game.  We ended up at Surf Dogs, and it was packed in downtown Jaco!  Los Amigos' tables were all reserved almost 2 hours prior to the game.  Crazy.  Anyway, we had lunch (split from appetizers) and watched the game, which went down to the end and Costa Rica lost in penalty kicks.  It was horrible.  But, I was so impressed with the Costa Ricans watching.  Everyone got up, post loss, and started cheering for their team.  In the US, people would just be pissed they lost, look for excuses as to why, blame someone else.  Here, they are simply proud of their team.  They is true patriotism.   It was a great experience being part of the World Cup as a spectator this year. 

Date night this week we had sushi at I Love Sushi in downtown Jaco.  It was awesome.  The sushi was expensive for sushi, but incredible and I loved the ambiance of the place.  We split three rolls and both had miso soup.  All the rolls were unique and tasty.  Highly recommend.

I have been taking some random pictures on our runs in the neighborhood and around the yard.

The dog above cracks me up.  He is behind this fence and sticks his nose and face in this hole and barks and barks at us.  He sounds pretty scary, but I am guessing he is a teddy bear when around people.

Took Midas to the beach again.  He loves it there. 

There is an area where I run where there is a ton of cattle lazing around.  I always say hi.

Lucie is getting more and more used to the country and new house.  She is coming out and cuddling with me some on the couch and demanding attention. I am glad she is not hiding any longer.

Midas likes to be by us ALL the time.  This is Kurt, pre-workout, with Midas on the couch.

Our wall going up around the pool.  It is about done.

 When we go for runs and walks, we have random dogs that will follow us and walk or run with us.  They are all super friendly.  I have not met an unfriendly dog in this country.

This spider was found on the porch.  It was about 4 inches across and kinda creepy, yet kewl at the same time.  It spun this web in a very short period of time. 

Horse on my daily run.  I need to take it some carrots or something.


Taratula seen on our walk today.  Not poisonous, but creepy just the same.  Up close, you could see it's fangs. EEEEEEKKK.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Ole Ole Ole Ole Ticos

We went to Dominical on Sunday to meet up with Jesse and Diana and watch the game.  They live about 15 minutes from there, but used to live there and they love hanging at the beach there.  WE went to a restaurant/bar called Tortilla Flats.  While there, met some other people as well.  I think almost the entire place was Americans, which was kinda strange.

It took about an hour and 20 minutes to get there and we were early so we grabbed a table and ordered from chips and guac while we waited.  Once we got there, we ordered lunch.  I had mahi tacos and Kurt had a grilled cheese and fries.  Everyone's food looked awesome.  The game and atmosphere at the bar was awesome and Costa Rica won in a shootout!  We had a blast.  After, we went to the house of Antoinette and Doug, two others we met at the bar via Jesse and Diana.  Anyway, they have a beautiful home half way between Dominical and Uvita.  We got to meet their puppies and hang there for a bit.

Had to run some errands and I saw this sign.  It amused me.

This is our neighbor Neil's dog.  He visits the house sometimes and sits by our gate, sometimes sauntering in.  Kurt decided to dance with him after a recent walk.  Really sweet puppy.

We saw a snake yesterday!  While driving home, on the main road before you turn onto our side street. It was a baby boa constrictor, which means it was only 6 feet vs the 18 feet that they normally get to.  We stopped the car and got out to check it out.  Pretty sweet.  I love how nature is just everywhere here. 

Also, after the gym last night, we came home to two froggies hanging by the pool.  One swimming, one sitting by the pool.  Super cute.

The cement mixer is at the house for the building of the wall around the pool. They have the footer done and started building the wall.

Today, we headed to a dairy farm in Jaco called Productos Tulín.  They make their own milk, yogurt, cheese, raise chickens for eggs, etc.  Anyway, today, Kurt and I were there for cheese mostly and to check out everything.  Milk, you have to order in advance as they need to know in the morning how much, as well as eggs since they sell to a lot of local places as well.  But they had lots of cheese and yogurt ready.  I guess every Saturday from 9-12, they sell outside the farm on the main road.  We ended up buying three kinds of yogurt (mora, fresa and pina) and got various cheeses to try.  She even threw one in for free as I think she saw me eyeing it, LOL.  Anyway, the staff there was so nice.  When we got there, they brought everything out for us to check out and explained that everything is natural.  Loved it there.  Love that you can buy fresh like this as well.  We were going to stop at a place that sold fresh eggs, but we passed it and did not want to turn around, so I found some at a local fruit market that were fresh.  Super yummy.


It was Oscar's turn to go to the beach earlier this week.  He loved the car ride, and liked walking on the beach, but would go nowhere near the water, LOL.  He loved being with us without the other dogs around though.  :).  He did not go far on the beach before he got tired, my old man.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Return To Paradise

So, I went back to the States for a short time to attend the wedding of two of my favorite people, Ron and Erika.  Flew Delta Thursday night and returned Spirit the following Tuesday night  All flights were easy and no delays.  Yay.

Got into Michigan late Thursday night and Ron and Meghan picked me up from the Erika.  Stayed at Ron's Thursday and Friday night.  Friday I went to the office and had lunch with everyone and picked up all the random stuff I had sent to the office to bring back to Costa Rica with me.  Packed it all in the extra suitcase I brought with me.  Friday night was the wedding rehearsal and dinner.  Rehearsal was at The Dearborn Inn and dinner at Andiamo's in Dearborn.  Dinner was awesome, app was calamari, caprese salad, sea scallops for dinner, and hot fudge sundaes for dessert.  All good.  And drinks of course.  Had an amazing time.

Saturday, got up and went for a run at Ron's, then hung out for a while talking.  Headed out to get a massage and go to Kohl's for an errand, then headed to the hotel to take pics and hang with Erika and company before the wedding.  Got to help out with some outside pics with the photographer, which was fun.  Then went to the room to get ready with my date, Ashleigh, who was nice enough to attend the wedding with me.  Wedding was at 600 in the gazebo outside the hotel and the weather was PERFECT.  Sunny, and not too hot.  Judge Weipert, who I practiced in front of in Monroe County, performed the ceremony and was hilarious.  Great wedding, not a boring moment.  After that, apps and drinks were served in the garden area while the wedding party had pics taken.  The food was AWESOME.  They had sesame chicken (which I did not try), as well as lobster pot pies, crab cakes and spring rolls. Our group made sure to stand by the door the waiters came out of, so we ate a lot, LOL.  Headed in to the wedding next.  Dinner was a choice of salmon, beef or chicken.  I had the salmon and it was awesome.  Dessert was great too and the there was a nacho bar at the end of the night.  Reception was fun, everyone danced all night, def not a boring crowd.  Had a blast hanging out with Meghan and all my friends.  Erika looked stunning as a bride.........

Next morning, I woke up and checked out of the hotel and headed to have dinner with my two Aunts and Dad at Pete's Place in Brownstown.  My Mom met up with me there and we went back to Ron's to drop his car off and pick up the last of my stuff.  Headed to my Aunt's house next and hung out there.  Went to Kohls and then to dinner at an awesome Italian place.  I had an amazing marinara angel hair pasta dish.  I never have pasta, so I loved that.  Monday, my Mom and I did some shopping and I went for a run before dinner.  My Aunt made salmon for dinner with couscous and corn, which was super yummy.  Watched two movies with my cousin and then off to bed.

And Tuesday, flight home!

Was a short trip, but about all I can stand being away from Costa Rica.  Nice to get to go to the wedding and see my friends and family.

Back in Paradise now, was kinda jet lagged on day one.  Got back into my daily running and workout routine, and back to not overeating and eating healthy.  Looking forward to the fruit and veggie market tomorrow morning as we are out of everything since I missed last Friday!

Bought a toaster and slow cooker today, and I think that's all I need for the kitchen.  Stopped at the fish market and bought marlin and tuna, which should last a while too. 

While I was gone, Kurt had an iguana get into the house, and saw a scorpion near the door! I guess Midas found the scorpion and just stared at it.  The iguana was under the couch I normally sit at.  Kurt had moved the couch to sweep and thought it was a snake at first, but then realized it was just an iguana.  He got it out of the house.  The cats I guess were terrified, LOL.

The yard guys have started work on the pool area.  We are building an area around the pool that is covered so you can sit out there not directly in the sun.  Should be super nice when done.

Kurt painted our bedroom while I was gone, so I did not have to sleep in paint fumes.  It is jade green and looks amazing.  He is working on finishing the master bath.  He has to paint the ceiling white as the previous owner had some odd cloud mural painted in there. Need to get rid of it.

I got a FitBit while in Michigan.  I am loving it!  You can link to other friends who have a FitBit too, so if you have one, add me at email

Off to run errands soon!  Pura Vida.






Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Weekend in Paradise

**Midas is a handsome boy.  He followed me around the yard while I took pics, so I of course, had to take pics of him.

Friday is Farmer's Market Day, yay!  They were out of Kurt's blackberry pie, so this time, he bought an apple which he says was BETTER. I tried a piece of the crust, and WOW.  Awesome.  Bought the other standard stuff.  Nice that even in the rain, the outdoor market is open, with tarp covering!

Friday was Gretel's Day to go to the beach!  She was not as excited about the water as Midas.  She was more smart too, quickly figuring out the tide going in and out.  She only got wet a couple times.  She had a really nice time watching 4 dogs with their owner play catch.  She did not want to play fetch though, as that would require going in the water. 

Took her for ice cream after, but she did not want any.  Weird.   So, I helped her out and ate her vanilla gelato.  It was yummy.  Gretel fell asleep on the way home.

While on the beach, took some pics of the new casino/resort going in.  Jaco has casinos, but they are all pretty small and kind of lame (compared to Vegas anyway).  Croc's is going to be, supposedly, Vegas caliber.  We will see. They are supposed to be complete by December 2014, so we will have to check it out then and see what kind of games and amenities they have.

Finally got out my DSLR and went for a walk around my yard and neighborhood.  While out with the camera, I met another neighbor, Chris, from Toronto.  She has a business in town and lives here full time.  Very nice.  She lives up the hill from us.  I played around some with my new fish eye lens, which is pretty sweet.  Takes kind of distorted view pics of the landscape. Love it.




On Saturday, Costa Rica played in the World Cup against Uruguay.  A lot of sports books and TV stations were predicting not only would Costa Rica lose all its games, it would score zero points.  Well, not only did they win, they scored THREE goals.  It was awesome.  We watched at home, but afterwards headed downtown to go to the hardware store and it was CRAZY downtown.  It was like a self-made parade.  People were partying everywhere and the fans were ecstatic!  It was very kewl to be part of.  We took some video and stayed there a while.

Saturday was date night, and we chose Los Amigos.  Had amazing shrimp pad thai and a guac appetizer.  It was a really nice night out, but we ate way too much food, I was stuffed.

The wiring around the bottom of our fence started to be installed today.  This will keep the snakes and toads out of the yard to keep the pugs and cats safe.  Also went today and bought paint for our bedroom.  We are slightly modifying what we are doing with the bedrooms.  We were going to make one bedroom a closet, but we are not making it a bedroom (so we have two spare bedrooms) and making a closer in our bedroom.  We have a HUGE master bedroom, and without a closet or something in there, it is just kinda wasted space.  And, I would rather have two guest beds, in case we have families come and stay. So, we are painting our bedroom and then starting the closet.  I bought a jade green color for the bedroom.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Adventures With Midas at Jaco Beach

We decided to take baby Midas to the beach so he could check out the ocean for the first time.  Super fun.  We chose Jaco Beach since it is closest to the house.  Midas is a pro at car rides since he was in a car from Michigan to Herradura just recently!  :).

Took his collar and leash since we really had no idea how he would react to everything going on at the beach.  It was slightly overcast when we took him, so there were not a ton of people out, which is good, since Midas likes people and likes to bark at them too.  Parked and went down near the water.  Midas had no idea what the ocean was.  He walked right up to it, and when a wave crashed and hit him he jumped a MILE. 

Soon though, he figured out how to run away from the waves or stand there and get wet.  Some big waves came and he got pretty covered when he could not get away fast enough, but he really seemed to like it.  We stayed down there quite a bit walking. 

Then, Kurt decided Midas needed some gelato/ice cream, so we headed into Jaco to the ice cream place that has outdoor seating.  Kurt went in and got the ice cream.  Midas got a small scoop in a dish.  Midas had no idea what ice cream was either, but he quickly learned he liked it.  Took him a while of licking, but he ate the entire container. Lots of people stopped by to pet Midas and ask about him.  pugs are not common in Jaco, in fact, I don't think I have ever seen a pug in all our travels of Central America.  We were going to walk in downtown Jaco with Midas, but I could tell he was getting tired, so we came home.  It was a very exciting day for him!  Next up is Gretel Olivia.  She gets to explore!  I don't think she will like the water as much as Midas though.......We will see.

When we first moved into the house, we did not have all the kitchen cabinets.  For some reason, the previous owner only put a couple in and left the rest open covered with curtains.  I removed those right away.  We got a referral to a guy in the area who makes cabinets and hired him.  He came and took measurements before I even came here, and today, the cabinets were delivered.  It took a long time to put them in!  They are super nice.

Also, yesterday, the guys came to clear out the massive pile of branches and debris from the yard.  They were here a long time as well, but now, no pile at all!  It is the future home of my gym.