Coffee WIN

Trip Start Jun 06, 2010
Trip End Jun 13, 2010

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Our first day in San Jose (yesterday) augered well for a delicious vacation.  The fresh mango, pineapple, and guava at breakfast made an excellent start to an unexpectedly sunny morning in our unexpectedly fancy hotel.  We spent most of the day exploring shops and museums in the city, during which Ariela and I had an interesting--and filling--lunch at a stall in the central market.  The simple dishes featured lightly breaded and fried meat (pescado for me, pollo for Ariela) prepared and presented in the traditional style (here designated "tipico") with pico de gallo, rice, beans, and fried plantains.  As far as I can tell from my brief Costa Rican culinary education, this plate collectively constitutes a casado.  Dinner was even more spectacular.  Ariela and I shared a dinner for two which included a wonderful seafood casserole, sea bass fillets, and chicken and steak skewers.  Pictures will follow when we get back to Bloomington.

All this is well and good, but Im even more excited (as Ariela can surely attest) about the coffee.  For the last few weeks in Bloomington, Ive been distracting myself from studies with fantasies about fresh Costa Rican coffee.  On the ground here, it almost always seems like a good time to stop for a cuppa.  Weve enjoyed fresh brews in an interesting variety of locales (from hotels and restaurants, to a stall behind the arts and crafts market in San Jose and a snack counter during a bathroom break on the road to Monteverde).  I have yet to be disappointed.  Of particular note, around the corner from the central market we stumbled across a small coffee roaster in an open storefront.  Many places in the city sell fancily packaged coffee for export and a few stores claim to sell freshly roasted beans, but it was refreshing to see (and smell) coffee being prepared on the spot and ground and sold immediately.  I bought a half kilo to bring home, if it lasts that long.  The grounds were still warm when the attendant bagged them for us. As soon as we brought our purchases back to the hotel, it filled our room with a wonderful, rich and complex scent.  Now my day pack smells like wonderful coffee and, even after removing the goods, I keep being surprised by sweet and odoriferous wafts when the breeze changes or I root around in my bag.

Tomorrow were planning to tour a coffee plantation.  I hope it doesnt spoil the mystery...
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