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Any costa rican restaurants in Austin?

sm34833 Jan 19, 2009 10:10 PM

I'm dying for some gallo pinto!

  1. e
    El General Jan 27, 2009 08:49 AM

    The closest thing I have found is the Fried Plantain Breakfast at the steeply declining El Sol y La Luna.

    You can buy Lizano in the states now.

    5 Replies
    1. re: El General
      rudeboy Jan 27, 2009 09:13 AM

      I was told that El Sol closed a while back.

      There is a Dominican restaurant up in Pfluegerville - can't remember the name. The food sort of reminds me of what I had on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica (I've actually only been to that side f the country).

      1. re: rudeboy
        topodrinko Jan 27, 2009 02:39 PM

        El Sol y La Luna is moving to 6th and Red River, taking the place of the much failed Emo's Lounge.

        1. re: rudeboy
          stephanieh Jan 28, 2009 07:23 AM

          Rudeboy, are you thinking of Cafe Mangu in Pflugerville? We went once with some friends who really liked it. My dish was blander than I'd expected and my husband wasn't wild about his food. Maybe we just ordered wrong, but we haven't hurried back. I did like the complimentary chimichurri with plantain chips before the meal. Our friends complained the chimichurri was too garlicky, but that was the most flavorful part of my meal.

          1. re: stephanieh
            rudeboy Jan 28, 2009 08:00 AM

            Yep - that's it! I've been about four times for lunch, but not recently (it's sort of a far trip from work). I'd say most people in our group like the place really well, and for lunch, you get a great deal of food. I know it's hard to give them another shot after a bland meal, though, especially when your husband wasn't thrilled either!

            1. re: rudeboy
              stephanieh Jan 28, 2009 08:52 AM

              Lunch sounds like a better deal. We went at dinner, but I wasn't super hungry, so I ordered off the app menu and got the Camarones al Ajillo. I thought the shrimp were overcooked and I'd expected more garlic flavor. Hubby ordered the Churrasco Argentina (skirt steak), and I tasted it and thought it was bland and tough. He didn't dislike it as much as I did. He did get quite a lot of food. I think he got to choose three sides, and his favorite was the salad, which was kind of slaw-like. I didn't try that, but I ate some of his yucca fries and they were ok.

              I think our experience suffered some from how much this place was built up by our friends. And the menu descriptions sounded so much more promising than the end result. So, it sticks out as a bigger disappointment because of what it could have been.

              We did share a really delicious Tres Leches for dessert. It was my first Tres Leches, so I'm not qualified to describe and compare. But, it could get me back in their door again sometime.

              As a side note, our friend's wife that so highly recommended this place ordered a special... a Mediterranean pasta. Mediterranean. Pasta. She picked at it and didn't seem to enjoy it much, but that's sort of how she eats most of her meals when we're out with them.

              I'm not sure how long it's been since you were there, but the lunch has gone up to $9.95, and I'm pretty sure it used to be $7.95. It's still a fair price if the food's good. Do you remember what you ordered?

              Their website wasn't easy to find, so here's a link to the menu...


      2. a
        addlepated Jan 27, 2009 09:34 AM

        I've never seen gallo pinto on the menu here in Austin, but I have seen Lizano sold at Fiesta and maybe once or twice at Central Market.

        Making your own is a snap once you have the Lizano - see here: http://blog.therealcostarica.com/2005....

        Now if someone were to open a restaurant here and sell gallo pinto, corvina, maduros, and Imperial beer to wash it down, we'd be there weekly!

        10 Replies
        1. re: addlepated
          amysuehere Jan 28, 2009 07:05 AM

          Speaking of which (I have the grandote bottle of Lizano in my cubbard), is there any place in town (or in the states mail order) where you can get Imperial?

          1. re: amysuehere
            addlepated Jan 28, 2009 09:21 AM

            I called all over the United States last year trying to find some for our 10th anniversary (we got married in Costa Rica and it was the tin anniversary - would have been so perfect). At least in 2008, there was no way to buy it in Texas, least of all Austin. You could try giving Whip In, Central Market, etc. a call again to see if things have changed. Imperial's distributor list is also online at http://www.beer.co.cr/Imperial%20Dist..., so you might be able to call them and find out what retailers they sell to, then call the retailers and see if they'll ship here... it's sort of a daunting task.

            1. re: addlepated
              amysuehere Jan 28, 2009 12:23 PM

              You can get it on Amazon.com...seriously.

              1. re: amysuehere
                addlepated Jan 28, 2009 01:00 PM

                Really? I didn't think they sold hooch!

                Now I did find one liquor store in California who sells a six pack for $6.99... plus $21.00 shipping to Texas. Ouch! http://www.hitimewine.net

                Anyone have any distributor friends nearby who wanna pick up a beer? :)

                1. re: addlepated
                  amysuehere Jan 28, 2009 01:17 PM

                  Oops. I meant the Lizano, not the Imperial.

              2. re: addlepated
                willtryanythingonce Aug 9, 2011 02:17 PM

                I was at Spec's Brodie location yesterday and they had a GIANT display of Imperial beer in bottle 6-packs.

              3. re: amysuehere
                tico4real Jan 28, 2009 10:05 PM

                You can get it all there.

                1. re: tico4real
                  amysuehere Jan 29, 2009 05:52 AM

                  $21 for a 12 pack plus shipping, yikes...

                  1. re: amysuehere
                    El General Jan 30, 2009 02:22 PM

                    Imperial has sold distribution in the US for several states (Cali, AZ, PNW, and NE mainly), and it is distributed there. I inquired about purchasing the distribution rights for Texas last year and was told that they are basically under option and that they anticipated Imperial being available in Texas some time in the summer of 2009.

                    This was right after going to a wedding in the Cayman Islands where it had just become available. I gorged myself for 4 days, especially since Stingray had gone out of business.

                    1. re: El General
                      addlepated Jan 30, 2009 04:36 PM

                      *fingertip pyramid* Exxxxxxcellent.

            2. j
              Juanillo Feb 11, 2009 07:54 AM

              Alright , finally some people who love Costa Rican food. My wife is Rica and she cooks gallo pinto for me on the weekends along with platano macho or as it's called here plantane (green banana), with a touch of cinnamon. Anyway I get my beer pilsen and imperial from CA brought to me by my good friends in L.A. about every other month. Yes, there are no CR restuarants in Austin, what a shame, so it seems that I am blessed with the rich foods of CR and no one to share the comida de los ricos. Maybe we'll open a small taco stand like the people in Meixco do, oh that I mention she makes a mean ceviche de camaron not that tomato sauce kind they make here in Texas and Mexico.

              Pura Vida


              2 Replies
              1. re: Juanillo
                amysuehere Feb 11, 2009 08:24 AM

                Oh, sure...rub it in...

                1. re: amysuehere
                  Juanillo Feb 11, 2009 11:31 AM

                  no not ribbing it in, we've tried locateing a resturant close enought to the type of food we enjoy and from amarillo to san antonio and here in austin, we found nothing. So my wife told me about the recipes that where handed down from her grandmother when she was little and hey i love the food. Last year I got online here in ChowHound and notice people where interested in imperial beer (while I sat home having one) and have been trying to import some from CR. So, yes I'm thinking of opening a small shop here at home (Kyle) and see if I can make it a go. What do you think?

              2. e
                El General Oct 20, 2009 09:26 AM

                Imperial Beer is now at the HEB Plus! on Palm Valley in Round Rock for $6.99 per six pack. I can only assume this is not the only location in Austin that sells it.

                Life is a circle. I am going to the wedding of one of my CR buddies this weekend.

                I have courageously tested two randomly chosed six packs and lived to tell the tale. Now, if we can get Pilsen and two orders of Barba Roja's nachos . . .

                4 Replies
                1. re: El General
                  addlepated Oct 20, 2009 10:38 AM

                  Excellent news - thanks for the update!

                  1. re: El General
                    addlepated Oct 23, 2009 07:41 PM

                    My husband found a 6 pack of Imperial (bottled) at the HEB on Brodie today. Woo!

                    Pura vida, y'all.

                    1. re: addlepated
                      amysuehere Oct 26, 2009 06:54 AM

                      Yeah, it also popped up at Grapevine about two months ago.

                      1. re: amysuehere
                        dc2austin Nov 3, 2009 12:53 PM

                        Kahuna's Tiki Bar & Grill (Parmer & McNeil) announced in it's enewsletter today that they just started carrying Imperial ($2 on Tuesdays) to go with its $3 Tiki Taco Tuesday. FYI. Dig their fish tacos, but will now try Imperial for the first time.

                  2. i
                    ieathereforeiam Nov 3, 2009 01:27 PM

                    suprised nobody suggested going to costa del sol. its cheap and is essentially a central american taqueria.

                    1. j
                      jungleboy Nov 6, 2009 10:25 AM

                      Having lived in Costa Rica for the last four years, I'm uncertain as to why you would seek out the local food, such as it is. All you need to do is boil black beans with virtually no seasoning, cook rice with virtually no seasoning and fry plantanos "maduros" in kitchen oil and you've got about 90% of the national flavor profile without having to pay much for it. Cook a protein product until it is virtually unrecognizable, throw on some tired iceberg lettuce and you've got the full "casada". Don't forget that "national treaure" Salsa Lizano...
                      And oh, yeah, don't forget that "national treasure", Salsa Lizano...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jungleboy
                        txpaddler Aug 7, 2011 11:52 AM

                        What part did you live in? Costa Rican food is very rich. Carretica in Mercedes, Heredia is amazing.

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