The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
December 7 - Dinner at Eyal's

Today dawned chilly and rainy, at least up at the lake. After a late, leisurely breakfast of fresh local sausage, omelettes and some thick slabs of Alex's famous french toast, we knew that lunch was undoubtedly unnecessary today! We poked around the house while I got caught up on the daily diary (sorry for the lag in there) and Margene finished her morning routine. After careful consideration of our options, we decided that "None of the Above" was the right answer so we took a down day.

The important thing was to replenish Margene's chocolate supply, so We drove to Tileran, the closest real town and searched out the MegaSuper. Lots of stuff but not exactly the chocolate she was hoping for, so we drove down into the valley to see what sort of chocolate supply we could find in Canas. Nada. Besides, once we came down from the hill, the weather was sunny and just too hot for our tastes. Maybe it's just that we have been living in Seattle too long, but cool and damp held more appeal for us. So we came back up to the house. Margene took a nap, I settled in on the glassed-in back porch with my computer and the day went sliding by.

Besides, the real task for today was dinner. Alex and Laura were in love with a restaurant on the other side of the lake run by Eyal Ben-Menachem, a creative Israeli chef. Given that it is a 45-minute drive each way over potholed roads, the personal sacrifice to go there is considerable ... and my deep thanks to Alex for doing the driving!

After being generally underwhelmed by the restaurant fare we have encountered thus far, I wasn't sure quite what to expect. But Laura is a self-confessed foodie and I trusted that we might discover something wonderful. We surely did! The restaurant was not only well-run (in a casual Tican sort of way) but the food was incredible! Eyal was at the table frequently filling us in on what he had that night and making suggestions. Aside from the intriguing combination of flavors in his cooking, What struck me most was that everything was presented in sort of a family style presentation. The portions were large enough to split four ways so the four of us could easily share two entrees.

The wine selection in Costa Rica has been very limited, tending mainly toward Chilean vintages, but Eyal had snagged a crisp Italian white that went perfectly with our meal. We started with a tropical salad and huge New Zealand mussels, then shared his amazing lasagna and medallions of pork with mashed potatoes and fresh baby vegetables. For dessert there was a coconut bread pudding and a decadent chocolate concoction called Negra Bouca (black mouth). I can still taste the warm melted chocolate cake with passion fruit, raspberry and melting ice cream. I would drive an hour and a half over dark potholed roads for that one!

So, pleasantly full and quite content, we ended our last day at Lake Arenal. Not a bad way to wrap it up! Tomorrow we are back on the road, headed south to sun, surf and, I suspect, significantly more heat!

Dinner at Eyal's

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