Category Archives: Food

Eating local foods is an important part of the cultural experience. Vicki, who also publishes, shows you how to eat healthy, delicious (not necessarily vegetarian) local fare without breaking the bank.

Refrescos on the go

By Vicki Barnes

imageA warm breeze was blowing off the beach this afternoon as we made our way back to our room. Ninty degrees and dry. Thirst was demanding a my attention.

“Something cool and wet would be perfect right about now,” I said to myself.

And then, as if I had conjured a magical solution to the situation by simply thinking about it, a young man with a wooden cart with a door on top attached to the front of his canibalized bicycle pulled out of a driveway ringing a hand bell. Continue reading

Eating cheap in an unusual place

By Vicki Barnes

Dining in the museum is a sweet experience

Dining in the museum is a sweet experience

A chocolate museum is something bound to catch the eye of any woman…and most men.

A few blocks off the central square in Granada, Nicaragua the Choco Museo (chocolate museum) is a shrine to the favorite sweet of most of the world. It is a place to learn and a place to indulge. Continue reading

It’s what they eat…

imageBecause so many Americans visit Costa Rica, some restaurants have taken to replacing some of the traditional vegetables that are on the typical casado plate. In place of chayote and plantains (frankly, my favorite items), I found french fries and pasta salad.
This $6 dinner took a big chunk out of our budget, but was so filling that a small breakfast was all that was in order the next morning.

Random Budget Cooking Tip

From Jeff Barnes.
If you’re making scrambled eggs for breakfast and you’re out of cheese and can’t afford to get more, finely crush some Doritos and add them to the mix. You get that cheesy flavor without the added expense.
Budget Nomads does not endorse this tip in terms of nutritional value, but we give it two thumbs up for taste.

Pickled Bananas?

imageBudget Nomads is beginning an occasional series of stories with recipes that focus on food found at street vendors and small restaurants.

At a recent  stop at a roadside bar and grill, one of the plates included pickled bananas. A couple of us in the group thought they were great, others in our Gringo Posse were not so impressed.

I talked to the Tica cook in the kitchen of the little restaurant and she told me that the treat is not common in all quarters, but in some areas of the country, it is more popular than the omnipresent plantains on the tipico plate.

They have a tart-sweet flavor that complements the cabbage salad that accompanies every meal. Alone, they are a little tart.

Pickled Bananas
3 bananas, peeled and sliced into discs
1 tablespoon of mustard
1 tablespoon of vinegar
3 cups of boiling water

Put the mustard and vinegar in a dish and add the bananas.
Mix until they are thoroughly covered.
Boil the bananas for three minutes and serve.

Casado means “Married Man”…so why is it on the menu?

By Vicki Barnes

There is a great variety of food in Costa Rica. Most of the locals (Ticos and Ticas) stick to the basics. At home or in the small, inexpensive restautants along any road (sodas), they stick with the typical dish.casado

Pretty much anywhere you go in Costa Rica, the lunch or dinner menu is casado.

Casado with chicken. Casado with pork. Casado with fish. Casado with steak. Even casado with vegetables (see photo – beans and rice with veggies and a salad with a side of veggies!). At one of the roadside restaurants you can find a heaping plate for $4 or less.  Continue reading

Rice and beans for breakfast

By Vicki Barnes

As we countdown the days until our next trip, I’ve been reflecting on a trip we took to Costa Rica a few years ago.

On our first morning in Costa Rica a couple of years ago, we sat down to breakfast as a small eco lodge where we had spent the night. Our hosts, Carmen and Miguel, kept a pen of happy laying hens down at the back of the property so we were assured that breakfast would be fresh.gallopinto

There was a small communal dining area for the smattering of guests to eat breakfast, which was included in the price of the room. But, unlike places in the US where the first meal of the day is included, there were no stale bagels or unwieldy waffle makers.

Three small tables with plastic table cloths, a rabbit-earred television set tuned to Buenos Dias, Costa Rica and the sounds of Carmen bustling around her 2 by 4 foot cooking area.

The smells were delicious, but unfamiliar. 

Continue reading