Costa Rica isn’t someplace I would choose to live. But outside of one issue, we really loved our time there. Well, maybe two issues, but the issues go hand in hand. There are A LOT of perks to living in Costa Rica– or even just visiting for a short while. It’s a beautiful place. Certainly a bit green-washed, but the amount of nature and wildlife there is undeniable.
And the produce? Oh, man. amazing. And for people who like us– who eat mostly fruit? It’s a dream. It true dream. And while you really could exist on the variety of fruits there– it was so nice having amazing access to so many fresh vegetable and green lettuces too. We spent so much of our day in the kitchen, testing out new ideas together.
Marlowe and I were little chefs all day long. I mean– what else were we going to do in the rainforest? Yes, explore a bit. Yes, some beach time. Yes, monkey and wildlife gazing. But we spent a good amount of time just playing with our food and it was a blast. It also helped that our bed and bathroom were in a small cabin– but our actual living space was completely outdoors– the kitchen, the dining table, the “lounge” area (a hammock and a bench). So we just existed outside, in nature, snacking on fruit and whipping up meals. (Why, yes, this would have been the perfect time to create a second cookbook).
Outside of the occasional package of rice noodles, rice pasta, and a jar of mustard, every single thing we bought was completely and totally unprocessed. It was a dream. We literally had 3 tiny bags of plastic package every month and were completely zero waste outside of this. (I look forward to this when we move to Guatemala too).
We popped into one local bodega a few times to buy the rice pasta. But every other item of food was purchased at a local stand. There were two nearby. Also– worth noting, I had the most arm muscles I’ve ever had in my entire life. We could only buy from the stands twice a week– so I would do a few trips back and forth (the walk was about 600-1000 meters) with crates of produce and racks of bananas. I don’t know if you ever carried a rack of bananas, but they are heavier than they look!
As mentioned, we ate A LOT of fruit, but here is a post with mostly photos of the cooked meals we ate 🙂
We had a few potlucks with friends! It was awesome. All vegan. Mostly gluten-free. I think there was only one where there was one meal with a little gluten. This one was Indian-curry-themed— I think I remember we planned this, but I’m not 100% sure. Oh man, it was good.
Marlowe not only ate salads the size of her head– but requested them! There were plenty of days where I offered to cook and she would ask for a giant salad instead. We had to use a giant soup pot to toss our salads in! Honestly– this wasn’t even a big salad for her– because she had a potato salad with it too (very random for us). Her salads were insanely large. She’s all about red onion in her salads too. We had great breath 😉 The potato salad was just steamed potatoes and some sort of mustardy dressing she made. She probably wouldn’t want this now— as she is sick of potatoes– but I would totally devour this.
Not only did we have a few potlucks, but sometimes we would make a giant feast just because and ask a nearby friend and neighbor to join us 🙂 It was also great because we would do a lot of trades with people too– like, maybe I make a big feast– but with the tomatoes and rice, the neighbor has sitting around. It was a great way to reduce food waste and spend time together. Here we had salad, yellow turmeric rice, beans, yuca arepas, guacamole, adobe-style jackfruit, and fermented hot sauce. I really made some amazing hot sauce during our time in Costa Rica! Marlowe kept trying to convince me to open a fermented hot sauce business.
We also attempted to stuff the arepas to make them sandwiches like a Colombian restaurant we would sometimes visit. Wasn’t terrible at all.
Ps. The only way Marlowe and I both like raw tomatoes is in pico de gallo. Sometimes we’d serve it with food sometimes we’d top it on a salad and call it a day.
Smoothies were tough with a pretty basic blender– but we still made it work. This was the longest amount of time we went without blueberries, haha. SOMETIMES we’d find organic blackberries which were awesome. But mostly we stuck to banana maracuya spirulina smoothies. Sadly, the maracuyas were the only thing we couldn’t find organic.
Asian ginger turmeric curried noodles. Rice noodles, cabbage, carrot, broccoli, and lots of herbs.
Sometimes we would take the 7km journey into “town” — Puerto Viejo to go to the market. We liked to check out what produce they had and there was a vegan stand that often had gf products too. Occasionally Marlowe would get a burger or pizza there.
It’s funny because here the sun doesn’t rise until 8 am. There– you would have to be at the market no later than 6am to get the best fruits!
Sometimes when it’s hot out but we’re craving starch we opt for a cold Asian noodle salad. Usually with a miso tahini dressing or something similar.
One day we found homemade miso in the market— we were SO excited. Lots of different soups followed. This was sort of a mix between pho and miso soup. Aka: throw whatever Asian seeming ingredients we have into a simple soup broth.
Jackfruit to go.
Hodgepodge meals— one of the perks of not having Alex around. I love him. And I’m grateful for his food. But like I said, Marlowe and I like to experiment. We’re not picky about these things– we just want to have fun in the kitchen. Our meals aren’t always the prettiest. And some attempts are a total fail. But sometimes the ugly meals taste good! Sauteed turmeric cabbage, rice, salaf– probably with some sort of mustard dressing. Roasted potatoes. Carrots. And home-fermented ginger carrots.
Mushroom tomato pasta (like in the cookbook). And a giant salad. Because what’s better than eating comforting salad in the rainforest? (The answer is mangosteens and rambutans– but pasta is good too).
Sorry I’ve been a bit silent this week! I hate to admit it — but I’ve been feeling under the weather with some women’s health issues. It’s annoying really. So many issues since March’s vax shed. I finally went and did some tests this week. Ovaries aren’t looking good. Hoping to fix some of these issues soon! Anyway, more on that another time.
I have a lot more thoughts on what we ate in Costa Rica– like emotionally how it affected us and the families we met and their diets. Lots of things! but I’ll share that in another post. <3<3 I hope you guys are well in the world! Take care!
ps. if you’re curious about the two qualms we had in Costa Rica– it was mold (EVERYWHERE!) and lack of sun. Well, on the Caribbean coast anyway— we didn’t have these issues on the pacific coast. I need more sun and less mold for sure.