The second annual Taste of Nosara was a huge success with more than 350 residents and visitors attending, raising $4,076 for the volunteer firefighters to transport a professional fire truck into town. Thirty local restaurants and chefs participated with food booths and 46 area businesses supported the event as sponsors, giving donations and raffle prizes.
Event organizer Ann Auchincloss, whose goal was to bring in at least 200 ticket holders, was pleased with the turnout and positive atmosphere. “We more than sold out! We had 300 plates and we have gone through them all. We are washing plates and recycling tickets to get everyone in,” she said with 45 minutes still left in the event.
The high turnout filled host Harbor Reef’s restaurant, front entrance, swimming pool and patio areas. After picking up their drink included in the ticket package, attendees tasted savory and sweet bocas from participating restaurants and chefs, who donated their food and labor for the cause.
“The price is amazing,” said Sasha Shahid, manager of Brovilla Resort, “because we are so full and still have tickets left over. Everything is really good. And you get to see so many people and try out dishes from lots of restaurants.” She and her friend, Laura Rainey, visiting from Washington D.C., especially liked the brie cheese and sweet potato quesadilla topped with onion and balsamic tapenade from new restaurant Yum! and the tuna tartare from Fusion.
Siobhan Graham, visiting from Ireland for several months, favored Living Café’s dehydrated mushroom and eggplant treats, which included pinenuts and dried zucchini. She admitted she was “on her second go around” at their table and said she liked that they were “bursting with flavor and also beautifully presented.”
Doug and Melissa Lober, who return to Southern California in August after living in Nosara for a year, especially liked the El Chivo watermelon tequila shots combined with their chicken and veggie burritos. El Chivo, the Mexican restaurant taking over the old Pancho’s, isn’t open yet but took the opportunity to introduce their flavors to Nosara while supporting the firefighters.
Alice Olson liked Curry in a Hurry’s Bombay Beef and Liza Constable favored Fritz’s barbequed chorizo. “It was delicious. I am pretty much a vegetarian but not today,” Constable said.
Volunteer Firefighter Captain Ryan Bombard chatted and surveyed the crowd with fellow firefighter Dr. Mauricio Jimenez with big smiles on their faces.
“Amazing turnout,” Bombard said. “This town is really great. The whole place comes alive and works together when there is a need like this fire truck. It is so nice to see everyone support us.” Bombard explained that his team of 16 volunteers is ready for emergencies 24 hours a day.
“We cover from San Juanillo to Barco Quebrado with a quick response. But these roads destroy our vehicles very fast,” he said. “Before the volunteer bomberos (firefighters) were organized three and a half years ago, we had to wait for Nicoya or Santa Cruz to show up and they didn’t always come,” he explained. “We really need our own fire truck.”
According to Auchincloss, the event was a win-win for everyone. New chefs like Yum! Owner Mike Barton, a sous chef at gourmet Davina in Playa Negra for the past five years, could showcase his special dishes and publicize his hours and menu. Relative newcomer Raechelle Sexton of Taco, Taco! explained to her booth’s visitors that all her ingredients were fresh and nothing is cooked with oil. “We slow cook everything in its own juices,” she told the crowd.
Long time favorites were able to remind people of their specialties. Pacifico Azul chef/owners Carlos Sibaja and Melissa Mora served a delicious ceviche, which included the secret ingredients of coconut milk and ginger. “We have four different ceviches,” Sibaja said.
Il Basilico’s Alexander “Chandy” Calbaceta served a tasty thinly sliced and lightly spiced carpaccio. “No pizza today. Just carpaccio,” Calbaceta said.
Merry Cavanaugh, an assistant event coordinator, wanted to recognize the many local business who “helped underwrite the costs of putting on the event, so that most of the ticket money would be able to go to the cause.”
Auchincloss summed up the second Taste of Nosara event, saying, “Nosara should be very proud of her chefs and restaurants. What a wonderful party they made. There is no doubt of their talent and passion. Both were on display on Sunday. We have the groundwork for a successful annual event.”