Fresh, clean and green
I’ve had a stressful two weeks that have led me to neglect this blog. Thankfully, and just as things were getting too much, the weekend arrived giving me time to recuperate, sleep and enjoy food again. The best part about this weekend is that it falls right before Kuwait’s National and Liberation Days, meaning I don’t have work until Wednesday! I haven’t felt this happy about anything in a while.
So after responding to a few pending e-mails, catching up on some TV shows and going on a trip to the Yasmin Farms with my family, I’m finally ready to face this blog again. And to confront the writer’s block I’ve been feeling lately, I thought I should start with a prompt from The Daily Post. I picked the first challenge that caught my eye, “Describe the most satisfying meal you’ve ever eaten, in glorious detail.” My kind of challenge! Because what’s better than writing? Writing about food!
I recently posted about a memorable meal I had in Texas, mansaf in Jordan and even the fabulous everything-pizza that I made at B‘s. But those are only a few of many exquisite meals that I’ve had. This post will be dedicated to the cleanest, greenest and freshest meal (well, two meals) I’ve had; lunch at La Botanica Organica Café in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. I knew I was going to eat there even months before I traveled. It was at the top of my to-do list in Costa Rica and I couldn’t wait to try this little vegetarian gem, run by the laid-back and friendly Lea, Brian and their young boy, Foster (he’s in the photo below). I managed to have breakfast and lunch there while staying in the area for a weekend.
The ambiance is what makes this place. You know the Bohemian crowd, the jungle setting, a small, dark bathroom that felt like a haven for a rattle snake or two, the fist-sized spider (no joke) weaving its web as I tried to study the menu, the warm reggae-calypso that made me smile and the brewing strong coffee that distinctly smells like a holiday to me. Those are the elements that set this small, but thriving, café apart from everything I’ve ever experienced before. The fact that the food is local, organic and wholesome only completed the picture for me.
I’m glad my driver/tour-guide humored me and let me eat here twice. A city-man is how he describes himself, this burly man in his forties. He appreciates big meals at local stops and laughed at the idea of vegetarian food served at a café owned by a couple of Americans. La Botanica Organica was definitely not his scene but I think he saw how badly I wanted to eat there and half-heartedly went along with my plan.
On my first visit, I had lentil pita-burger with avocados, a salad on the side and a Thai lemonade. I loved the yogurt that was served with my lunch, I ended up pouring it into my sandwich and using the citrus, mango dip as dressing for the salad. By the way, I have a soft spot for condiments. I may even blog about that one day. I mean, what’s a meal without sauces and dips to experiment with, drizzle and spread?
Back to my lunch, though! My crunchy, fresh and absolutely satisfying lunch. I finished my food and didn’t feel sluggish at all. In fact, I was ready for dessert because I knew it would be just as good as my main course. I ended up ordering the ice-cream sandwich – homemade coconut ice-cream between two oatmeal cookies with a big mug of black coffee. Pure joy! Pura vida! Rainbows and unicorns!
I loved the presentation (I just had to quickly sweep the evil goji berries off my dessert)! The cookies were soft and not too sweet, the ice cream was mild and light. This is the ideal dessert. All you other desserts out there? Be jealous. Try harder. You can be better.
I loved this meal because it tasted like the Caribbean should. I know typical Caribbean dishes revolve around the meat, the curries and spices but I wanted something sunny, light and fresh. La Botanica Organica’s menu perfectly brings that together that with gluten-free breads, garden-fresh produce and the rustic décor. This meal was definitely satisfying and glorious. I leave with you a few more pictures. Try not to drool!