Pura vida, y’all!

Ahhhhhh … Or should I say Ommmmmmm …

I just returned yesterday from my long-anticipated yoga retreat and vacation at the fabulous Luna Lodge on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula.

Despite its remote end-of-the-road rainforest location, Luna’s Chef Carmen and her open-air kitchen team dished up some fabulous eats. I particularly enjoyed the breakfasts (what a treat!), lunches (fantastic light fare) and desserts (perfect small servings after both the midday and evening meals).

On our first full morning at Luna we woke with the sunrise and howler monkies around 5 a.m. and headed to our first yoga session at 6. Afterward, having worked up an appetite, I helped myself from the breakfast buffet to a big bowl of granola and liquid-y yogurt accompanied by fresh fruit. (A quick aside: I’m not usually wild about the pineapple we get here in the U.S. But fresh Central American pineapple is a different story. It’s so very sweet, with none of that roof-of-the-mouth acidic bite we’re used to here. Perhaps because the fruit shipped to us is picked before it’s ripe to allow for transport time?)

Already satiated, I was surprised when our waiters then came to take our cooked-breakfast orders! So after that first morning meal I learned to better regulate the a.m. “appetizer.”

The egg dishes were such a treat that I never tried the pancakes or french toast available some mornings. Favorites included Mexican eggs (with peppers — bell and spicy — tomato and onions) and tortillas, and the “typical Costa Rican” breakfast, which consisted of gallo pinto, a cooked-to-order egg (sunny-side up for me, please) and avocado slices.

Every time I ate it, I drizzled the gallo pinto with Salsa Lizano, which my daughter introduced me to after her three-week jaunt around Costa Rica years ago. (In fact, checking my luggage on my return trip to bring back some Lizano caused my Luna roommate and I to miss our connecting flight and get stranded overnight in Miami. But it was worth it …)

A few lunch favorites:

A delicious, cold quinoa pilaf (with mango, avocado, almonds, scallions and more) served with a green salad, the ever-popular black beans and cheesy little bread rounds.

A bean and veggie tostada.

A fresh black bean, corn and onion salad served with cold pesto pasta, homemade tortilla chips and sliced cucumber and tomato.

Dessert highlights (besides the passion fruit mousse with mini chocolate chips that was so delicious I didn’t even think to photograph it) included caramelized bananas and my ultimate favorite: a mini, fried dulce de leche burrito with chocolate sauce. My god.


And finally, libations. Luna’s Eclipse Total bar featured a number of alcoholic and virgin drinks of all sorts, many featuring freshly pureed fruits. I particularly liked the alcohol-free cas (or sour guava) concoction and the pina coladas. (Staff member Javier made the particularly pretty pink-hued one shown below on the left.)

I’ll leave you with the excellent coconut mojito (I never thought the traditional minty drink could be improved upon, but I stand corrected) I downed in Miami to drown my sorrow at leaving Luna Lodge and help start my harsh transition back to the real world.


A note on this post’s title — Ticos (as Costa Ricans call themselves) use the words “pura vida” as a greeting, farewell and proud slogan of sorts. According to Wikipedia: Pura Vida literally means Pura = pure and vida = life, but “Pure life” in Spanish would be “Vida pura” instead, so the real meaning is closer to “plenty of life”, “full of life”, “this is living!”, “going great”, “real living”, “Awesome!” or “cool!”.


About atarheeltastes

I'm a passionate foodie who started this "temporary" blog during a gustatory tour of Tuscany. I decided to continue, since I love to dream about, plan for, prepare, eat and write about food!
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