Una Pipa Porfavor

 Before I start today, I wanted to let everyone know that I had the opportunity to guest post over at “Diana’s Costa Rica Blog”. Diana, and I have so much in common, it’s pretty amazing. Check out my contribution at: http://dianascostaricablog.blogspot.com/…On with the show!

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So I know coconut water is a “thing” back home.

I have read all about it. You know, electrolytes, post-workout charge up, hot yoga beverage of choice, magical elixir etc…I get it, but I just can’t do it.

Any time that I’ve thought about jumping on the band wagon, I’ve bought a little tetra pack, taken a swig, and then thrown it out. To me, it tastes like garbage swamp water.

That is, until I discovered the magic that is fresh coconuts on the beaches of Costa Rica.

I feel like I have the process of buying a “pipa” down to an art form. Since it’s becoming pretty much a daily occurrence for me, I figured I would share it with you guys.

Mom and I enjoying some Pipa's on Tamarindo beach

Mom and I enjoying some Pipa’s on Tamarindo beach

In most towns you can find locals selling coconuts on the beach, but they are not all created equal. In Tamarindo for instance, most of the pipa sellers carry pre-shucked coconuts around in buckets of water. These coconuts are fine, but I find they don’t taste as fresh, and are often warm from being lugged around the beach all day.

To really get a delicious pipa experience, you want to look for a vendor who is selling the whole coconuts, the ones that still have their green outer shell on them. I’ve found the best ones are often sold out of the back of pick up trucks, and are kept in coolers of ice. If you find one of these, you are in business.

Carlo works his magic

Carlo works his magic

So, you have located a pipa truck…now what? Well, the magic words “Una pipa, porfavor” will get you what you need. Get your 500 colones ($1), ready, and watch the magic unfold.

In these photos Carlo, my favourite Pipa seller in Playa Coco, brandished a gigantic machete, and carefully lopped off the top of the coconut. He worked fast, and managed to make a small little hole in the top without losing a drop of the delicious coconut water inside. It is an impressive sight to watch.

delicioso!

delicioso!

Just like that you have some delicious coconut water to enjoy. It tastes so fresh, and crisp compared to what you buy back home. It’s the perfect perk up after a long afternoon in the sun. I always start by eating the little bit of coconut meat on the “lid” of the coconut, and then dive into the water.

So at this point, sit back, relax, and enjoy, but don’t go far! There is more fun to be had!

Lots of people will just throw the coconut out once they’ve finished the water, but if you are looking for a little snack, and some healthy fats, the coconut meat is a great snack.

The machete is wielded once again.

The machete is wielded once again.

Head back to your pipa vendor, and he/she will help you out!

First they cut one of the hard ends off. This will become the spoon. Then they give the centre of the coconut one big schwack with their machete. Using a baton, they continue to hit the blade until it breaks the coconut in half. It is a violent process, and an impressive feat.

Perfect afternoon snack!

Perfect afternoon snack!

Using the little spoon they created at the start, they scrape the meat loose from both sides of your coconut, and pour it all into one of the halves.

And just like that, you have a beautiful little treat for your afternoon!

Pipa’s are one of the many things I have found during my travels that feel like a treat, but still keep me healthy. And at $1 a pop, you just can’t go wrong! Just remember, they will always taste best when consumed while enjoying the view of the beach!

beach view!

beach view!

Do you like coconut water? Have you tried fresh coconut?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Who knew Costa Rican fruit would be this funny.

Have you ever done a wine tasting?

You sit, sip wine, and try and figure out what it tastes like.

Well that is how we approached our tropical fruit tasting earlier this week.

Whitney and I had bought three kinds of fruit from the farmers market, and based on yesterday’s post, you can imagine how excited I was to try them.

We gathered together in the kitchen with a pad of paper, and got ready to write our “tasting notes”

Guava, Guanabana, and Passion Fruit

Guava, Guanabana, and Passion Fruit

We had three contenders, Passion Fruit, Guava, and Guanabana. First up PassionFruit.

The Passion Fruit

The Passion Fruit

Whitney: Looks like frog eggs, and a booger. It’s kind of sweet, and the seeds are crunchy but sour. All in all not a fantastic consistency

Kate: Starts out good, get bad. Tastes like citrus, and papaya with an after taste of grass. Chewing the seeds actually makes it taste a little better.

Uni: Meh, like a sweet citrusy oyster.

Brad: Something stinks

A fine review if I do say so myself, next up, Guava

Guava time!

Guava time!

Whit: Looks like an apple on steroids. Tastes like a pear with pesky annoying hard seeds. Would be good with no seeds, all in all, okay.

Kate: Hard, seedy, like a woody apple. Tastes like something unripe that my Mom would tell me I’d get the runs from if I ate to much. Probably would be good as a jam

Smit: Yup, that’s guava

Labour intensive!

Labour intensive!

Well said, well said. And finally, the moment of truth, my beautiful Guanabana. I took my time with this one, carefully cutting it open as per the youtube tutorial. It was much more challenging then I thought. The skin peeled right off, but the seeds were embedded deep in the pulpy meat. I spent quite a bit of time pushing the seeds out of the meat, and still missed a couple.

As I dissected the mass, everyone gathered around, expressing their clear disgust of the mound of white gunk I was about to force them to eat.

The infamous Guanabana

The infamous Guanabana

Whitney: Looks like terrible tastes like terrible, I just couldn’t keep it down. (note: Whitney spat hers out)

Kate: Looks like sheep intestines, cud, or cooked mushy watery white fish. Tastes like citrus, strawberries, and passion fruit. I love it!

Smit: It’s like sushi

Uni: It’s the chewing tobacco of fruit.

Shaun: Looks like white vomit that is all stuck together. Surprisingly citrusy considering it’s bland appearance.

The tasting in progress.

The tasting in progress.

So there you have it, the epic fruit taste test. A wonderful way to end the year.

Some were more successful then others. I’ll certainly be buying Guanabana again in the future!

And even with everyone’s mixed opinions, once we threw everything in the blender, and added vodka and ice, we gave everything rave reviews!

SOOO good!

SOOO good!

What kind of crazy fruit have you tried? Ever had guanabana?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

The search for Guanabana in Costa Rica

I LOVE all the produce here in Costa Rica, especially the fruit. I often buy random things at the grocery store just to try them out. That’s how we learnt that we love Chayote, and now we use it in pretty much every meal!

But there is one fruit that has been rather illusive…the ever mysterious Guanabana.

During our first week in Tamarindo, I was choosing the fruit for my smoothie at Mandarina, and noticed this container of white stuff. I rocked a little “que es esto?” and she responded with Guanabana. Having no idea what she said, I figured why not, throw it in. Best decision ever! It made my smoothie so delicious!

From wikipedia

From wikipedia

I went home, and Googled this strange fruit, and even watched a YouTube tutorial of how to cut one. Guanabana or Soursop, is this odd large prickly, looking green fruit, with white pulpy innards and large black seeds. Their wiki page described it has having flavours of banana, strawberry and coconut. There are also lots of articles about its potential cancer fighting powers. Needless to say the more I read the more intrigued I was.

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The Farmers Market

I figured I would pick one up at the store the next day for us to try…but they didn’t have any.  So I hiked to the next store…and the next store, and the fruit stand, and the MegaSuper, and NO one in town sold them. When we got to Santa Teresa, and went to their health food store, I found a small container of some pre sliced pieces. I really wanted to find the whole fruit, but figured that would be fine. We were on our way to dinner, so I thought I would stop on the way back. When I returned, it was gone..and the didn’t have any more during our entire stay (trust me, I checked!).

Everything was so fresh!

Everything was so fresh!

I reached out to my blogger friend Maribel of Stroller Adventures, and she suggested a farmers market. Well, it wasn’t until this week in Playa Coco, that I actually found a one! Early one morning Whitney, and I trekked out to the little Farmers Market to see what they had.

The produce was amazing, we loaded up on fresh pico de gallo makings, pineapples, and all sorts of strange fruits. I glanced around for the hidden gem of guanabana, but alas, none to be found.

So many things I didn't recognize!

So many things I didn’t recognize!

As we went to check out, I was using my terrible Spanish to try and ask the women if the fruit we had chosen were good. Her eyes lit up, she said “uno momento” and she reached behind the counter. My heart jumped as she pulled out a GIGANTIC Guanabana. Seriously, this thing probably weighed 10 pounds. I would have paid anything, but when she said it would be 16 dollars, Whitney talked me out of it (Not even I could eat that much!). After explaining to cashier that it was to big, she darted in the back, and started rummaging through boxes, after a lengthy search she came out with a much more reasonable sized one. I was stoked!! She explained that it wasn’t ripe, so I would have to wait until tomorrow to eat it.

Our farmers market haul, with my Guanabana front and centre!

Our farmers market haul, with my Guanabana front and centre!

We lugged our prizes home, and I waited patiently for the 24 hours to pass so I could finally dig into my prize.

Was it delicious?

You’ll just have to wait and see…tomorrow on Hostels and Hot Rollers, the epic guanabana tasting of 2013.

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

The Christmas Slump- Travel Workouts Week 4

Turns out, even in another country, working out through Christmas is a challenge!

I feel like my Christmas season didn’t really start until December 22, the night before my family arrived. So I had the luxury of being able to avoid an entire month of shortbread, nog, and all other goodies that come along with the season. I was actually feeling pretty healthy coming into this week.

Since we were back in Tamarindo, I decided to make full use of their gym facilities. Gym’s are few and far between in Costa Rica, so I wanted to take advantage of it while I had the chance. The first morning at the gym I bought I week long pass. I figured this would be another way to encourage me to workout everyday, as I wanted to get my money’s worth.

Once I got my pass all set up, I jumped on the treadmill, then the elliptical, then the spin bike. Uh-oh, old Kate habits kicking in. I didn’t have a workout plan, and was just doing mindless cardio to pass the time. I did a couple HIIT intervals to shake it up a bit, but after about 40 min stopped, and went to the weight area. I wanted to lift some heavy weights, and target muscle groups that I have difficulty reaching using just my workout bands.

But again…I had no plan…So after 15 min of a wimpy little circuit I left.

This pattern continued over the next two days. Steady state cardio, short little weight session, and done. Combine this with an over indulgence of Beer, Wine, Costa Rican Egg Nog, and tons of delicious food, and I was feeling not so good about myself.

On the fourth day, I woke up, feeling awful, and realized, I didn’t want a gym workout, I wanted to make one up for myself. For those of you who know me, this is a huge deal, as I used to love the gym! Those days are gone. I wrote myself up a Tabata style workout that incorporated my bands.  I was a sweaty, tired mess by the end, and felt the light at the end of the tunnel. The follow day I rocked some bootcamp style circuit training using the stairs of our condo. Again, feeling so much better about my progress.

After two days of more effective workouts, I’m feeling like I’m getting back on track.  We have guests until the 6th, so I know eating healthy will be a challenge, and the beverages will likely continue to flow, but in the meantime, at least I know I’ll be rocking some great early morning sweat sessions!

This experience is truly a testament to the amazing life skills picked up during my 30 day challenge with Wholly Fit. Even from afar, the continue to motivate me, and help me strive for greatness.

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This was me right before I uploaded this blog…got up at 6:30am and rocked a 10km run. Thanks to Shaun who rolled out of bed to take this photo for me.

Miss you Wholly Fitters!

How did your workout regime pan out over Christmas? Did you fall of the wagon? Are you back on track?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Cardio Fit at Casa Zen- Workouts Week 3

Travel Fitness, how I love thee…

This week I was able to track down another awesome group fitness class here in Costa Rica.

After spending the first several days running my little heart out, I was ready for a little bit of a break in my exercise routine. I thought about doing a Yoga class, especially since there is a yoga studio on every corner. I ended up seeking out something that would get my heart rate up. So you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled across a Cardio Fit class at Casa Zen Guesthouse.

This pretty much sums up the mood of Casa Zen

This pretty much sums up the mood of Casa Zen

First off, this is a beautiful hostel with, funny enough, a very “zen” like vibe.It’s set back from the street, on a busy beach access road, but it feels private as its nestled in its own little jungle.

There are awesome hand painted signs scattered about their communal living spaces. Sayings like “there is no rush”, and “call your mom”, set the tone of the hostel.

Reception/Kitchen at Casa Zen

Reception/Kitchen at Casa Zen

I checked in at reception, paid my 5 dollars (score!), and waited patiently for Tico time to roll around. Sure enough, at 8:35 the instructor, and her students all rolled in.

The classroom

The classroom

We headed upstairs to the classroom. There is one main outdoor classroom used for all the classes offered at Casa Zen. It’s gorgeous. Everything is brightly coloured, and there are stained glass tiles that the sun shines through. It was such a great space.

The class started, and I was instantly caught up in the fabulous energy. The group was all Costa Rican women, who laughed the whole way through. The instructor walked us through several circuits. We did everything from kickboxing, and weights to old school aerobics. It certainly kept me on my toes! I went to two classes in the week and left each one feeling pumped, and full of energy. They were just what I needed to shake up my super chill week of reading, and relaxing.

The instructor only spoke Spanish, but it wasn’t a problem at all. Shaun always watches the sports in Spanish here. He says he can still understand what’s going on because he is so familiar with the content. Well apparently the same goes for me when it comes to group fitness instruction. I learnt so many new words just from listening to the class, but often found myself a beat behind everyone as I worked out the translation in my head.

Have you every tried to watch or listen to something you are really familiar with, but in a different language?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Healthy Hostel Meals Part 3

Food photo round up time!

Two and a half weeks in, and we are rocking the hostel meals.

I thought I would take you on a photo tour of some of our recent meals. We are working on getting some variety…if you have any suggestions, leave a comment below!

Sauteed Chickpeas and onions with all sorts of local veggies (most of which I don't know the names of!)

Sauteed Chickpeas and onions with all sorts of local veggies (most of which I don’t know the names of!)

Fajita night! Chicken, beans, avocado and veg!

Fajita night! Chicken, beans, avocado and veg!

Lizano chicken, sauteed peppers and rice and beans!

Lizano chicken, sauteed peppers and rice and beans!

One of my fave lunches! Tuna, Avocado, Cabbage, Chickpeas, and lettuce...with lots of Lizano of course!

One of my fave lunches! Tuna, Avocado, Cabbage, Chickpeas, and lettuce…with lots of Lizano of course!

Gotta have colour in our veg!

Gotta have colour in our veg!

This is one of our faves! Shaun aims to slide the egg on just right for a good photo op! Veggies and chickpeas underneath!

This is one of our faves! Shaun aims to slide the egg on just right for a good photo op! Veggies and chickpeas underneath!

Similar the the previous night, but I got impatient and squished my egg in. Added avocado which made it extra delicious!

Similar the the previous night, but I got impatient and squished my egg in. Added avocado which made it extra delicious!

Okay, I’m hungry now. Lucky for me it’s almost lunch time!

What do you think we should make for our next hostel meal?

Pura Vida!

Kate
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Cafe Tico, Tamarindo Costa Rica

I’m a gal who loves a good coffee shop, and luckily, Tamarindo has quite a few!

Cafe Tico, consistently shows up on Trip Advisor as one of the highest rated food establishments in Tamarindo, and after visiting it on several occasions, I can see why!

Cafe Tico

Cafe Tico

Located just past the Super 2001 grocery store on your way to Langosta, Cafe Tico seems pretty unassuming. The small store front is tucked back, away from the road. If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss it.

Although I tried out a couple other shops in town, Cafe Tico, in my humbled opinon, has the best Coffee in town. Which is tough, because I find all Costa Rican coffee to be truly delicious!

The menu, and bar

The menu, and bar

The shop is small, and offers a limited number of outdoor seats to its patrons. Inside, you will find bar that sells your typical coffee shop drinks, small sandwiches and various pastries.

Another awesome thing about Cafe Tico is all the products they sell. They carry a whole line of chutney’s, salsas, jams and jelly’s with a whole line up of items for you to sample while you wait for your drink. I’ll be picking some up for our Christmas dinner for sure!

nut butters!!!!

nut butters!!!!

They also sell other food related items such as coffee, dried fruit, and most importantly NUT BUTTER! I almost died when I saw them!

I have never successfully found natural nut butter of any kind in Costa Rica. It’s Jif or Nil! Here at Cafe Tico, they have a wide variety including peanut, almond, walnut and cashew! My excitement was momentary squashed when  I realized that many of them included additional sugar and oil, but the almond butter just has honey in it. That works for me, it’s nice to be able to have a product available that has a short ingredient list that you can pronounce!

All in all, I’ve loved every experience I have had at Cafe Tico. Their staff are all extremely pleasant, their coffee is delicious and their products are unique and local. If you are in the Tamarindo area, and looking for a nice quiet place for a delicious brew, this is your spot!

Have you ever found a coffee shop while travelling that you just loved?

Pura Vida

Kate
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Healthy Hostel Meals Part 2

Today in the Healthy Hostel Meal series, I’m going to run down our very first hostel meal of the trip! It’s evident we have a little bit of learning to do, but regardless, it turned out pretty darn good!

Master Chef Shaun!

Master Chef Shaun!

If you’ve read the first post in the Healthy Hostel Meals series, you are already familiar with what we picked up at the store.

Our very simple ingredient list!

Our very simple ingredient list!

Tonight’s menu was stir fried vegetables with rice and beans. We started the meal early, since we figured the brown rice would take forever. Shaun was on rice duty, because I am forever lacking in that area. I was on veggie duty!

Angry little gaffer isn't he.

Angry little gaffer isn’t he.

There were so many cool looking veggies in the little pack we got. First off, let’s take a moment to appreciate how angry this little sourpuss of a squash looks. I’ve seen these in the store before, but have never cooked with one before. There were also teeny tiny patty-pan squash as well. I chopped a bunch of them up, as well as some mini carrots, cabbage and mini zucchini. (side note, it’s telling me that zucchini is spelled incorrectly, I beg to differ)

Curious??

Curious??

Next up were these little corn husks. This picture doesn’t do it justice because that is actually a really small cutting board. These things were probably the size of an iphone, and super duper light. I could’t imagine there being anything inside.

Ta da!

Ta da!

Well who’da thunk it. Inside teeny tiny corn is teeny tiny corn cobs! These are like those corn bits you get in deli salads, but so much tastier because they are fresh, and aren’t covered in oil. Shaun agreed that they were tasty, but didn’t share the same level of excitement regarding the discovery lol

Once the rice was boiled, beans added, and veggies stir-fried. We were done, and voila!

Our first hostel cooked meal!

Our first hostel cooked meal!T

Again, my food photography skills are lacking, and it didn’t help that it was night time in our outdoor kitchen! This meal was great. We made a full cup of rice, which not only lasted us for another full dinner, but we also were able to add it a couple lunches as well. Tonight we’re tackling chicken tacos!

What else should we make for hostel meals? Send us your ideas/recipes!

Pura Vida!

Kate

Travel Workouts- Week 1

So the big question is, how does one create a workout routine, when living a lifestyle without a routine??

A thought provoking question indeed!

Coming off my Wholly Fit Challenge, my body was tiiiiiired. So I took two full rest days, and let me tell you, they were glorious! But, by Wednesday, I was itching to get back at it. Ok, actually that’s a lie. On Wednesday I had 5 naps, so working out wasn’t actually seeming all that appealing. But regardless, I tackled this simple workout (after my first nap of the day of course!)

ease in

I kept it arms, cause then it seemed easier, and I was more likely to get out of bed!

Big learning lesson the first day. No shoes, jump squats, tile floors, no good on Kate’s feet. I actually pulled something in my foot, that made it pretty challenging to get around for the rest of the day (and also required Shaun to lovingly but hesitantly rub my foot for the first time ever). I had planned to attempt a run the following day, but opted to create this workout for Thursday instead.

Let's Get Physical

 

Despite my injury, I wanted to pick up the pace a little bit (no surprise for those who know me). Wearing shoes made a huge difference! Fueled by thoughts of wearing a bikini for 5 mos, I finished this off with an attempt at 1000 ab exercises (pick 10 different ab moves and do them 100 times each) I got to 800 and decided I had had enough. Perhaps a goal to strive towards. By Friday my foot was feeling awesome, so I knew it was time for a run. I figured if I ate breakfast when Shaun went Surfing at 630, I could leave at 730, and it would still be cool enough for a run. It was!

First Costa Rican Beach Run

First Costa Rican Beach Run

The conditions were amazing, it was actually a little drizzly and super mild. The perfect running weather. I ran all along Tamarindo beach. The sand is nice and compact, so it makes for great running. When I got in, I had planned to do some legs, but hadn’t written anything down. After a couple of lame donkey kicks while beads of sweat fell all over my candy crush game I called it. Just more proof that writing down your workout before starting is always more effective! I had such a great time, that I thought I would do a repeat performance the next day.

Next Days Run

 

Well what a difference a day makes! I did the same routine, probably leaving the hostel around 7:45, but it was already hot hot hot. I sweated my through the same route, but ended it differently. I found this low concrete wall and did 100 step ups alternating legs and 100 wall push ups. I was spent after this, and cut the run short!

The following day Shaun was taking a day off from surf to nurse a sun burnt face, so we rocked a hotel room Centurion. He modified a couple moves, because although he loves me enough to workout in a tiny hostel with me…100 burpees is another story!

Later that day Shaun and I went on a 13km walk (kinda by accident) so needless to say the following morning I was pooped. I did this workout, but honestly my heart wasn’t in it.

1 hour circuit

 

So that brings us to today! Rest day this morning. I’m planning a 3km walk to the supercompro in hopes of finding oatmeal! I’ll keep you posted!!

How do you stay active while travelling? Should I keep doing these workout recaps?

Pura Vida!

Kate