If you’ve been following our Costa Rica trip, you know that we had lots of good, fresh food; nothing fancy, but all delicious. So we decided our last night in Quepos we’d go high-end and eat at La Luna, the highly-rated restaurant at Gaia Hotel and Reserve. Several people we met at our hotel highly recommended it, too, so we put on our best bib-and-tucker, climbed in our taxi and we were off, gearing our arrival to try to catch yet another gorgeous sunset.

As with most others, both hotel and restaurant sit high in the mountains so golf carts are used to transport guests up and down (thankfully!) We were escorted to a table with a marvelous view of the sea and the sunset, although truth be told, there probably aren’t any bad views. The sunset wasn’t the best we saw, but it was still beautiful.

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Luckily we arrived early because our server informed us that until 6 pm, all drinks were 25% off. No flies on us! We quickly ordered a pitcher of sangria and sat back to enjoy the view and peruse the menu.

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We decided to share two appetizers:

Gorgonzola & Sun-Dried Tomato Tart
Sautéed sun dried tomatoes, & fresh gorgonzola cheese baked to perfection inside a housepastry topped off with caramelized red onions, served over a roasted mushroom ragout
and
Caribbean Blackened Tuna
Seared, blackened tuna medallions, served with a radish, sweet chili and coconut escabeche
Unfortunately, my photo of the tart was out-of-focus, but the tart was incredible.  All the flavors complimented one another and combined in flavor that made us exclaim over and over.  As you can see, the tuna was beautifully presented, but we both thought the non-tuna part of the dish had flavor that while tasty, overwhelmed the tuna.  We did manage to eat them both, though!

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We sipped our sangria while deciding on an entree and although we decided not to share, we both chose the same dish, one that had been praised by the same fellow visitors at the hotel pool.

Jumbo Shrimp Tagliatelle
Jumbo Costa Rican shrimp sautéed in garlic with green onions, sun dried tomatoes, capers and tagliatelle pasta
tossed with Parmesan cream sauce.

Your choice to substitute a roasted tomato broth for the Parmesan cream.

We both went with the Parmesan cream.  It was every bit as good as we’d been told and although by the time we were finished, we were much too full for dessert, we managed to put away every morsel and bit of sauce.  (We felt it was our duty!!)

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The next day just after noon, we piled into a van and were driven to the Hampton Inn and Suites near the San Jose airport, a 2 1/2 hour drive as opposed to the 4+ hours it took us to go the opposite way at the beginning of our trip. As you can imagine, the restaurant choices near the airport aren’t exciting, with many of the restaurants sporting the names of American chains. We decided to try RostiPollos, a Costa Rican restaurant specializing in roasted chicken and dish with a Costa Rican flavor. We ordered cheese cubes (imagine mozzarella squares), plantains that were breaded, and chicken “wraps” (corn tortillas to wrap around roast chicken and refried beans, pico de gallo and avocado.)

It looks good, doesn’t it? Looks, in this case, were extremely deceiving! The cheese cubes were by far the best item. The chicken was dry, dry, dry and even the good beans, avocado and pico de gallo couldn’t salvage it. And what was done to the plantains should have been criminal. We could have used them as as substitute soles for our shoes if they’d been needed. They could scarcely be chewed. When Shannon asked for sour cream, something that the waitress obviously didn’t know in English, the waitress went away and just never came back.

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Thankfully, we’d ordered beer, so we managed to moisten enough food to keep us from being hungry. We left most of the food on the table. In the hotel’s elevator, we met a man with a pizza from Papa John’s. When we mentioned where we’d eaten, he made a face and said he always gets pizza. Who knew?

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We went from the sublime to the ridiculous in less then 24 hours but with the one exception, our culinary experiences in Costa Rica were delicious.  The next day we boarded the plane for Miami early in the morning, where any food had to be brought or bought.  The hotel’s breakfast-to-go put us firmly back in plastic food land:  a breakfast bar so sweet I couldn’t finish it, a Wonder Bread-style blueberry muffin (can any muffin packed in plastic be good?) and an apple.  In the Miami airport, I had an excellent Spanish baguette filled with chorizo, prosciutto, Manchego, tomato and delicious peppers.  Then it was back to the plane and home.  Overall, four thumbs up (from both of us) for the food of Costa Rica.

Comments
  1. Bastet says:

    Great post…too bad about that last meal, which does look very good! Thank heavens for beer!

  2. The joys of travel food. Great photos though. 😀

    • Raewyn, I can’t complain since all but that meal were fine. As for the airlines, Southwest is the only one I know that still give you snacks (and decent ones at that) and since I fly them whenever possible, it all works out. I don’t mind bringing my own food but it’s a bit harder when you’re coming home because you can’t make anything and in this case, we didn’t have a chance to buy anything.

      janet

  3. wmqcolby says:

    Janet, that has GOT to be a swell vacay. I have been to Honduras and El Salvador, I have YET to go to Costa Rica. Sweet! And glad you made it back safely.

  4. The Good News says:

    What a fun trip. Divine food is one of my favorites, too. The shrimp looks fabulous.

  5. Madhu says:

    Great photos, especially that of the Sangria. I usually forget to take out my camera at meal times! The Jumbo Shrimp Tagliatelle had me drooling 🙂

  6. M. R. says:

    I think my favourite shot is the one wherein you and Shannon appear to be holding up small buckets of sangria. [grin]

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