By Emiliana Garcia – Editor in Chief of the Voice of Guanacaste
Fondue. Just saying the word is romantic. The concept is erotic: take little pieces of food– bread, meat, vegetables, fruit– and dip them into a hot liquid. The best known fondues are cheese and chocolate but up a mountain in Playa Pelada, there is a fondue that is less sugary sweet but is just as passionate: seafood fondue at the Lagarta Lodge.
I remember the first time I went to Largata Lodge, in 2008 when I was married to a Frenchman. He and I had enjoyed eating fondue when visiting his homeland.
With a mojito in hand, leaning against the railing of the hotel’s veranda, we looked out at the Pacific Ocean. To my right were the green Nicoyan mountains and down below, the zigzagging Nosara River flowed into the ocean where a fiery orange sun was slowly descending toward the blue horizon line. I thought, “This is perfect. I want to freeze this moment,” but I was wrong. The best was yet to come.
On a wooden table, a small bouquet of flowers, a green fabric tablecloth and a display of fondue was waiting for us: a tray with bits of lobster, calamari, shrimp and fresh fish. A saucepan of a homemade sauce of fish and vegetables boiled in front of us. The saucepan was surrounded by six sauces: horseradish mousse– a delicacy that is just a touch spicy on the palate, chimichurri with herbs and garlic in olive oil, pink cocktail sauce, classic pico de gallo, cream of celery with a curry base and another cream with capers. On one side of the table, there’s a green salad and on the other side steaming potato croquettes, crispy outside and soft inside. We didn’t know where to begin.
Between bites, we took sips of a white wine recommended by the owners of the hotel, the Swiss couple, Regina and Amadeo Amacker. The wine was an excellent choice for accompanying the seafood and sauces. The dinner lasted two hours but I barely realized that it had already gotten dark. We could feel the gentle breeze that abounds at this altitude along the coast, and with sadness and angst we knew it was time to go home.
Dinner and Party
By Roberto Acuña Avalos – Junior Editor of the Voice of Guanacaste
For you’re in your 20s, at times the idea of going out to dinner with friends isn’t all that fun. You have to endure the couple that doesn’t stop kissing or the typical misbehaving kid who throws tantrums at the table. However, sometimes the idea of dinner and a party can go together.
For me, coming from San Jose, it’s been hard to find a place in the Peninsula of Nicoya where I can eat delicious food and at the same time have a few drinks with my friends, until I found Gusto Beach in Samara.
From the entrance along a small wooden path, you can sense from the aromas that the site will transport you to a magical and exotic atmosphere, Italian style at its best. The place is decorated all in white with different interior and exterior spaces. It’s marvelous with the terrace facing the ocean, so you can put your feet in the sand— and for those who smoker, the beauty is that we don’t have to walk far.
The menu offers a variety, but Italian food is the house forte. The 14 types of pizzas and different options of pastas and lasagnas stand out, with the added bonus that the plates are perfectly decorated for taking a picture and uploading it to Instagram.
But to fuel the night, there are also a variety of drinks. For example, the drinks menu includes eight types of mojitos, five varieties of margaritas, as well as caipirinhas (Brazil’s national drink) and daiquiris. The best thing about the place is the variety of events that they have on weekends. I have had the opportunity to attend gypsy and tribal nights, during which the staff, the place and those in attendance all get into the concept and the live music encourages everyone to enjoy a night that seems to never end.
Sundays are also a good time to visit Gusto Beach since from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., for every drink you buy, you get two slices of pizza free, so there’s no way to wake up with a hangover on Monday.
The service, the quality and the ambience of the place are perfect, but their slogan says it best: “The worst day at the beach in Samara is better than any day at the office.”
By Ariana Crespo – Photographer for the Voice of Guanacaste
A year ago, I decided to be a vegan and I embarked on a journey of experimentation with food, researching and looking for alternatives to stop eating meat and all animal products, including eggs and dairy.
At first, it is not easy to make the grocery shopping list, much less eat out at a soda or restaurant where the main dish is always a piece of meat, chicken or fish. And that’s why when asked to recommend a vegetarian restaurant, I immediately think of Luv Burger, located at the entrance to the town of Samara.
The place goes way beyond being a restaurant where they don’t serve meat. It’s like being in a gastronomic paradise where they cook with love, where ideologies are shared and fresh ingredients with high nutritional value are served. The atmosphere is very peaceful, just what you need to enjoy a good meal: soft music, cushions on the floor and excellent service.
The cashew cream cheese they have is to die for. It is an excellent complement for salads or veggie-burgers but tastes so good that it would be easy to eat by the spoonful. They also have bowls of vegetables with noodles, quinoa, summer rolls with tahini sauce, hummus, casados and even gluten-free pancakes made with garbanzo flour. The smoothies are a good option to drink post-yoga or even to substitute for a meal.
On the other hand, I can attest that they have one of the best kombuchas (fermented tea) I’ve had in the area and not just one flavor, but four: strawberry-melon, ginger, turmeric and mango. And when I have a craving for something sweet after eating, I ask for organic chocolate mousse or pure fruit ice cream without sugar or milk.
If you want to make a change in the world and support those who show us that there is no need to exploit animals to have a rich and healthy diet, give this restaurant a try.