Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Valle Sol Restaurant {Costa Rica}

Date nights are pretty rare for us, specially since moving to Costa Rica they don't happen often. That's why when we find a little time -even if it's only an hour, we make it a point to go out. A few weeks ago we had the time to enjoy a nice breakfast just the two of us at a local restaurant, we've driven past it many many times however we never made it to dining there. That is until we found time for ourselves one morning and took advantage of us not having breakfast, the restaurant is called Valle Sol and they serve Mexican food too. In fact on a random Friday I was shopping at the grocery store across the street from them and could hear live mariachi singing and playing typical Mexican music.

On a cloudy, rainy morning we parked on site and walked over to select our table. The restaurant is mostly covered by a roof, but for the most part it is outdoors. There is only one wall and the rest is just fresh air. 

Reading over the menu I noticed they had a juice bar fully stocked with produce, I ordered a papaya, pineapple and orange juice. It was delicious, they only added ice and the papaya gave it a creamy texture. My husband ordered a freshly made orange juice. He said it was delicious and you could taste that no sugar was added which made it even tastier.

For breakfast I opted for the chorizo sandwich, it was good, although I was honestly expecting real Mexican chorizo something that is challenging to find here in Costa Rica. They used a sausage that in Costa Rica is called chorizo and it is called Mexican because it contains jalapeños. Still it was good.

My husband ordered green chilaquiles. The chilaquiles were delicious, the sauce was made from scratch and the tortilla chips were the right size. 

The ambience at Valle Sol is very laid back, while enjoying our breakfast we saw groups of cyclists stopping by to recharge and enjoy freshly made juices and breakfast. It is also perfect for group meetings, we got to see a group of ladies having a business meeting. The staff is quick and courteous, they do a great job at refiling your water without you asking, coming by to ask if you need anything at just the right time. 

Pricing is average, for our complete breakfast we paid the equivalent to $15.00 USD. Which is ok considering the amount of chilaquiles that were served and the freshly made juices. 

After this visit, I'm sure we will soon return to enjoy more chilaquiles.

Valle Sol is located in the city of Santa Ana in the province of San Jose, across the street from Mas X Menos grocery store. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Costa Rica's International Book Fair

Book Fair's are the best, you can learn about new up and coming authors or new published books. You can meet face to face with editors and publishing companies. You can find items that are exclusive to the fair. 

A few weeks ago Costa Rica hosted their annual International Book Fair, each year they chose a special guest country; last year it was Mexico, this year it was the United States. We were very excited to go and find new books to read. We love reading and through the years our family has managed to collect our favorites allowing us to have a small library at home. The Annual Book Fair in Costa Rica was held at the building known as the "old Customs" in the downtown area of San Jose. 

Here is a collection of photos of what we saw at the 2014 International Book Fair:

There was a section designed specially for kids to be able to play, lounge, draw or get their face painted:

One of the exhibitors that caught our attention the most was "The Smallest Book!", it had books the size of my preschooler's hand! This one was about jokes. 

Pricing for books are discounted up to 20%, something many took advantage of. We had just gotten many new books while visiting back home and were mostly there to see what the book fair here offers and to see if we found a new book in German for my kids. Unfortunately we didn't find any German books, but we did see books in Portuguese, French and even Japanese. We also learned about other book stores in Costa Rica and publishing companies here. 

The building behind the "old Customs" one is called "Casa del Cuño" which means house of the seal, there local artisans had their designs on display. I was lucky to meet my favorite designers Priscilla Aguirre from Hola Lola which I've mentioned before on Stroller Adventures. 

I also met one of the founders and designers behind one of my new favorite brands: Puercospin, I love their sailor designs. I first discovered them while shopping at Espacio in Escazu and now I am following them on all their social media, I look forward to featuring them in the future. 

Cotidiano is the creation of Daniela, she has recently launched her handmade shop; however I'm already a fan of hers. I particularly love her coffee mug designs and bookmarks!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How we protect our phones (*) Speck {Review}

I've mentioned before how much I love my iPhone, lately I use it more than I use my desktop. It's convenient, you're out and about and can't find your destination and you just click on an app get directions instantly or you're out shopping and want to compare pricing, in a few minutes you know where you'll find the best deal.

I also share my phone with my kids who are 9 and 4 but very techie, specially when we are waiting for something.  They understand that a phone is something you take care of specially when it holds all of mommy's pictures of them. However it is inevitable for one to accidentally drop their phone to the ground and sometimes even into water. Which is why from the moment we purchase our smartphones we protect them.

Usually I chose a cute case that is bold, colorful and feels practical. A few months ago I was invited to try [*]Speck's ipad, iphone cases. It was great timing too because my year old case was cracked on the edges and was showing normal wear and tear, what can I say my iPhone is a permanent fashion accessory for me and that means it takes time for me to decide on a specific case due to color and texture.

With [*]Speck I took a while deciding because they have so many options, which is why when I had finally narrowed it down to 3 I asked them for help deciding on which one would suit our needs the best.

My husband likes discrete colors which means usually black or gray along with simple, clean lines and textures, nothing bulky or heavy. His is an iPhone4 and he charges it using an iDock which also allows him to listen to music, lucky for him [*]Speck has a case perfect to fit his needs: the CandyShell Flip Case. It is absolutely perfect for him, I'll tell you why. The CandyShell Flip case allows you to flip back the lower half of the back panel so your phone will stand alone and/or you can place your phone on a dock without taking the casing off. 

In my case, the more vibrant in color the better. Slim casing with a bezel because let's be honest I drop my phone occasionally specially since I let my kids use it to watch videos, take pictures of places and things they find interesting and we listen a lot to music on my phone. Which is why I chose a CandyShell Inked case for my iPhone 5 this year, it has military grade protection which means it's the perfect case for me.