“There’s at least double the people we had last year,” said Ryan Kerr-Bombard, Chief of Nosara’s Volunteer Firefighters with a smile as he looked across Harbor Reef Hotel crowded restaurant and parking area at the Taste of Nosara on Sunday, July 26th.
The third annual event highlighting local restaurants while fundraising for the bomberoswas a huge success with approximately 500 people tasting specialty samples from 32 participating restaurants, said Ann Dwork, Event Coordinator.
“We turned over $5,692 to the Bomberos, and our expenses were even up from last year because this has gotten so big,” she said.
The amount raised will support the bomberos’ basic needs such as fuel and maintenance for the fire truck, and equipment such as hoses, boots and hand tools.
“Right now this event is helping us make ends meet. We hope to get where it is just extra for special projects, but not this year,”said Kerr-Bombard.
He wouldn’t reveal the Bomberos’ total budget but said the firefighters have already responded to 90 calls in 2015, more than double 2014’s number and there are still five months left in the year. The large San Juan-Delicias fire ran for 14 straight days but is considered one “call”, Kerr-Bombard explained
Other bomberos mixed with the crowd as Kerr-Bombard said he was happy to see so many restaurants donating time and food for the event and so many people coming to taste. “Ann organized everything. The restaurants are so great,” he said. “We’re just here to help out today and say thanks.”
The crowd appeared to be mostly people that live in Nosara this year like resident DumelLibid. He said he liked the expanded venue, “it is laid out better than last year. There are so many people. I think the food ran out faster this year,” he said.
Zeneyda Rodriguez, bartender at Pacifico Azul, said her favorite station, in addition to that of her bosses, was Gary Blank’s Beach Blend Coffee for his blended Bailey’s Espresso shots.
Karl Spaeth, owner of Temple of the White Dog, handed out samples of his Ginger Beer in a cup decorated with the Bomberos’ logo. “Firefighters are my favorite heroes so that’s why I’m here supporting them,” he said.
Erika Ayala, of Surf Simply, loved the food but said it was hot with so many vendors giving samples and supporters trying to reach the food close together. She suggested the event“would be great at sunset so it would be a little cooler.”
Long time favorites crammed in next to new businesses. Carlos Sibaja and Melissa Mora of Pacifico Azul at The Gilded Iguana showed off delicious teriyaki chicken nearby newbusinesses like Marco Testa of Pura Pizza. “We opened one week ago next to the Mini-Super Delicias. We start delivery in mid August,” Testa said.
Gustavo Cerrato, from Casa Romántica
The new Argentinian Steak House El Colibri in Esperanza offered open-faced steak sandwiches while long time barbecuer Fritz Elmendorf once again featured spicy sausages. At a nearby booth Casa Romantica’s kitchen staff member Gustavo Cerrato filled puff pastry “nests” with coconut chicken curry and topped them off with tomato and basil. Owner Raymond Britschgi is a volunteer firefighter “so, of course we are here,” Cerrato said.
At least 70 area businesses contributed to the successful event in some manner. Even food vendors who didn’t offer booths supported the effort with donated raffle prizes. The many surf schools and surf shops in town joined in by contributing to purchase a brand new Banzai surfboard as the grand raffle prize. Volunteer Brian Breneswas the lucky winner.
“Brian ended up washing dishes for over two hours so it was cool when he won the board,” Dwork said. Three-year-old granddaughter of Belle MacDonald won the Coaster Beach Cruiser bike donated by Playa Bike. Dwork said that this year’s take from the raffle alone was $1,000 while last year it was about $300.
Dwork emphasized that Taste of Nosara has grown so large that the Bomberos and the Nosara Security Association now recognize that it needs a full set of committees to organize future events. Dwork and Bombero representative have already met to debrief Taste 2015 and begin planning for 2016.
“We have exciting ideas about how to use the space at Harbor Reef better. We need to keep tickets really affordable and we are working on ways to reward the chefs. The chefs are so amazing and so generous. I think everyone will be pleased with the changes next year. I think we can cut our expenses further and make more for the bomberos too,” Dwork said.
Favorite churros from El Chivo