The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
December 15 - Around Town

This is our last full day in Costa Rica. The original plan was to spend it seeing what there was to see in the more historic areas of San Jose, but our driver, guide and increasingly good friend Federico advised us against it. Today was some sort of festival and the entire downtown was closed for the festivities. In addition, the place would be mobbed, parking would be impossible and we would spend more time waiting in traffic than we would seeing the sights. We decided there were better places to shop. As we drove toward the Moravia area of town, we could see bumper-to-bumper traffic headed the other way ... including a couple of colorful floats on their way into the city center for the big parade.

There wasn't much to see in Moravia itself, but it did have a street that was wall-to-wall with shops selling Costa Rican handicrafts. It was necessarily more tourist-y than we normally seek out, but time is short and Christmas is coming. So we worked our way up and down the street, checking out what they had to offer and noting the prevailing prices. Since many of the handicrafts in these shops are intended for the tourist market, they had "Costa Rica" emblazoned on them somewhere. These were the ones we totally avoided. The best deals seemed to be on wooden items, leather goods and pottery. Most of it was made in Costa Rica but we saw a lot of items that we recognized from Peru ... and a few that we had seen in Italy!

It was good that Federico decided to come along with us instead of trying to head home and then return to pick us up. He had a good idea of what things should cost and was able to steer us away from the rip-offs. He also steered us to a great spot for lunch. As we were heading back to the hotel, he invited us to join him and his fiancee tonight for dinner at a place up in the mountains with a great view of the lights of San Jose.

So instead of a last supper at the local pizzeria, we bounced our way uphill for about an hour to the Chicharronera La Tranca, a spot that we never would have found and wouldn't have gone into if we did ... and oh what we would have missed!

Turistas in Moravia

Dining del Dia

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