It wasn’t our express intent to spend Christmas in the tropics. However, with one daughter in college on the quarter system and another daughter in college on the semester system, it was the only vacation time that overlapped. To shake up the mix even further, we decided that this would be a good opportunity for the grandparents and grandkids to hang out, unhurried. To do this, we needed to kidnap our girls and take them to a foreign country (anyone with kids who can drive knows exactly what I’m talking about!).
All of us enjoyed seeing the wildlife — howler monkeys, white-headed capuchins, macaws, crocodiles, bats, geckos, and a wide variety of birds and bugs. Additionally, everyone got to try some new adventures: my Dad caught (and released) a rooster fish; both of my parents zip lined (!); we all got to see firsthand how coffee is grown and processed; we experienced secluded, only-reachable-by-boat beaches; and we all tasted new dishes.
Because we had 3 grandparents in the mix and our days were pretty active, we decided to hire a private chef for dinners, so that everyone could relax at the rental house in the evenings. Don Quinchos (https://www.donquinchoscatering.com/) earned our vote, and wow — they blew us away with not only exceptional cuisine, but also their friendly hospitality.
Every night, Jimmy and Aneth would arrive with a 3-course dinner featuring a wealth of Costa Rican dishes, such as this octopus salad. We had had fried baby octopus before, but never roasted and featured in a salad.
Jimmy graciously taught the girls some intermediate knife skills, as well as how to prepare the octopus and parrot fish for the ceviche.
We were not limited to Costa Rican cuisine, either. These well-rounded chefs prepared dishes from around the world, including Asian spring rolls; hand rolled pasta with primavera sauce; pork carnitas; and so much more. Of course, no matter how much we ate (and there was a LOT of food), we always managed to save a little room for dessert. By far our favorite was the maracuya (passionfruit) curd, and the chefs generously shared their “secret” recipe.
Thank you, Thomas (head chef), Jimmy, and Aneth for your warm welcome to Costa Rica and allowing us to feel like family!
Maracuya curd (similar to Jimmy’s): https://www.theflavorbender.com/make-passion-fruit-curd/