Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jaco old and new

Jaco hotel loves the mix of old and new in Jaco Costa Rica. As you have seen in our earlier posts, the town still turns out for the annual tope horse parade. Travelers and expatriate residents both seem to appreciate that while big box stores have arrived in Jaco, Maxi Bodega and Auto Mercado, you can still shop at several traditional tico grocercy stores with lower prices, such as Fruitastica, although despite the name of the tico store, for fruit you would want to go to the thriving weekly fresh produce market or the tiny store in the side of the municipal palace. There is an excellent fish monger, Pescaderia Bertil which has a great ceviche. Oddly, the butcher is a new development, for the Argentinians.

I have been dwelling on commerce here, but you also see the mix of old and new with all the open fields with the distinctive Costa Rica brahma cattle grazing and people using push carts and bikes to haul loads long distances and the prevalence of free range home style poultry. So you get fresh cruelty free eggs. But back to the restaurants -

For restaurants, Jaco offers several gourmet restaurants, including the elegant al fresco Eclipse at Jaco hotel Docelunas and Lemon Zest and five others on the main drag. Moderate priced american oriented fare is common. There are lots of restaurants that seem tico but that are moderately priced and full of tourists. These are generally not as good as the restaurants that are moderately priced and full of ticos! They tend to be less centrally located, a little further away from Bohio. El Estero on the north side of town is one of the best.

And then perhaps many people's favorite part of old Costa Rica, the soda rustico. We'll be getting a little more in depth in weeks to come, but here's the basic story: a "soad rustico" is a typical Costa Rican restaurant. Traditionally, rusticos have served "casados." That's a typical meal plate with beans and rice, small salad, small vegetable serving, and 3 to 4 ounces of beef, pork, chicken, or fish. Fish ! You will be within a mile of the ocean. Get the fish. Anyway, casados cost about $4 and they are healthy and delicious, if you think fresh and bland is delicious. Most places the portions are a little smaller than North Americans are used to, but a couple, including Soda Garabito and Soda Rustico, they are enormous.

That's all for now from the Jaco hotel. Check back

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