These two pieces will make up my final contribution to Dominical Days, at least for a while. But fear not, blog fans, the blog will live on.
ADIOS FOR NOW
Sadly, loyal readers, that this will be my final column for Dominical Days, at least this time through, I want to express my gratitude to Marcel for offering me this space as well as to those of you who have suffered through these 18 or so months with me.
I am leaving La Cusinga after two years and the reasons are the usual culprits in my industry; money and trust. I’ve had a good two years there and am grateful for the opportunity, the freedom and the beautiful environment. I got a little off track for a while, but in these two years I feel as if I’ve gotten my “Chef” back. My mission was to show the area that we could cook world class cuisine using all local ingredients and I feel as if I’ve accomplished that.
I’ve had thanks a plenty, but as we used to say in the kitchens when I was a drinking man, “Thanks doesn’t buy the beer”. Now that I’m sober I find that it doesn’t help with the rent, the dentist or at the taller either. I suppose in every work situation there are promises made as to the future but when they are denied and two years of loyalty is rewarded with mistrust, it is time to move on.
In this time here I have made some amazing friends and have developed some of the world’s most loyal eaters. Chefs thrive on seeing people eating and happy, and I have seen some awfully happy faces these last two years. It took us a while to get the word our into this community, but in January we had the largest number of “non-hotel guest” diners that La Cusinga had ever had..
I will miss you all, I will miss the amazing local ingredients and I will miss this coastal paradise for whatever length of time I am gone. Pura Vida.
RECIPES FOR LIVING THE LIFE
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write in this, my last recipe column, but when my good friend Richard suggested to me that I write an entry in my blog (www.chefofthejungle.blogspot.com) about sourcing the ingredients I cook with, it seemed like it matched up perfectly.
I buy all local organic produce and get most it from Mauren and Ademar (Finca Coreotos) at the Uvita Feria on Saturdays and at the Feria de San Isidro on Thursdays. They are also at Citrus in Ojochal on Tuesday mornings. I buy specialty items from Marjorie and Bolivar at Diamante Organico in the San Salvador valley. They deliver to Maractu in Dominical on Thursdays, so perhaps an arrangement could be made for delivery there.
I have been buying whole fish from Victoriano in Playa Tortuga and filets from Jose who has the stand at the Uvita Feria. If you stay on top of Jose the quality is usually excellent.
My delicious organic chickens and eggs also come from Mauren and Ademar at the Uvita Feria.
I use a lot of specialty items and get many of them at the big Feria in San Isidro. The Mennonites sell excellent goat cheese as well as sweet butter and goat’s milk yogurt.
There is an older Tico right next to Mauren and Ademar’s table in the organic section who sells the best honey I have tasted here. There is also a smiling shortish man at that end, but one row over who sells a nice selection of frijoles tiernos (fresh shelling beans).
Mario (in his white straw hat) has organic portobellos and other mushrooms, but get there early.
Elena’s table is at the far end of the market and she has a wealth of wonderful things. I get organic brown rice, black and white sesame seeds, organic mustards and more. You can find her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adios y pura vida, Chef Dave