Easy Costa Rican Souvenir

In December of 2006, we found ourselves "stranded" (not as drastic as it sounds) at Las Tortugas Hotel on Playa Grande in Costa Rica. It's a long story - one better suited for a completely different blog entry. Suffice it to say that the hotel and its restaurant were a Godsend. Anyway, for lunch I ordered a traditional casado. The dish is typically made up of meat (chicken, beef or fish), rice, black beans, veggies/salad, a local soft cheese and a fried plantain or two. The name, casado or "married", is somewhat of an inside joke as Ticos will tell you that what you see before you is what your wife will cook you for the rest of your married life.

When the waitress brought out our dishes, she handed me a small jar of a greenish brown sauce. I asked her about it and she told me it was Salsa Lizano and that I could put it on the beans. Not one to pass up a new flavor, I put some on the beans and... wow... it was fantastic! How do I describe the flavor? Hmmm... not sure but it's good. In fact, once we got back to Tamarindo, I picked up a couple of bottles at the little market across the street from our hotel. I've since used it at home on broccoli (a vegetable I normally avoid), sauteed veggies and, of course, black beans.

The next time (or the first time) you visit Costa Rica, run by a local market and pick up a couple of bottles - one for yourself and one for a friend. They're inexpensive and a nice reminder of your vacation. Hint: If you don't have any plans to visit CR, you can find them on Amazon.com in all kinds of sizes. I used some this past week on some sauteed veggies - tasted great!

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