Saturday, June 22, 2013

Lizano Salsa luv

My date and I visited Costa Rica back in February 2008 and fell in love.

What's not to love about this country? It's the perfect storm of

warm weather and beautiful beaches

lovely, hospitable people

and critters EVERYWHERE. I loved the critters.

And then there was Lizano -- the Best Salsa in the World.

Lizano is basically the National Salsa of Costa Rica. It's EVERYWHERE. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tiny sodas, fancy-schmancy fine dining establishments. E.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. And did I mention it's delicious?

I was addicted less than 24 hours after landing in San Jose, the capital: It began at breakfast with a splash of Lizano on my eggs and gallo pinto, the Costa Rican riff on beans and rice. The salsa's smokey, mildly spicy, slightly herbaceous flavors were a wicked complement to the combination of creamy scrambled eggs and earthy, and equally addictive, mound of gallo pinto.

I couldn't stop thinking about this magical salsa as we began our adventurous four-hour drive to Quepos and San Miguel Antonio on the Pacific side of the country.

I hoped we would survive see Lizano again.

And we did -- this time sprinkled over petite grilled some-kind-of-meat tacos at a roadside soda overlooking miles of dry rain forest (that's how the Pacific Ocean side of CR rolls -- the tropical flavor is on the Caribbean side). Oh my. Lizano and a little char from the grill. Oh my.

I think you get the picture. Lizano salsa is good. Kick-ass good. And ubiquitous in Costa Rica. We brought back dozens of tiny 3-ounce bottles for family and friends and several larger bottles for home consumption.

And then. The inevitable happened.

We ran out of Lizano. And could not find it anywhere. Sigh. Life is fleeting, you know?

Fast forward to Walla Walla last month. Our first morning in town we met up with one of the Number 2 Son's best friends, The Assistant Winemaker, for breakfast at this wonderfully Walla Walla hip breakfast/espresso joint called Bacon and Eggs.

Almost a piece of art itself, a shelf loaded with hot sauces and salsas caught my eye. My heart skipped a beat. Top shelf, stage left? LIZANO!

And the angels sang.

Turns out Bacon and Eggs sells the stuff. Huzzah!

Turns out the bottle on the shelf was their last and not for sale. Sigh. So close. . . . and yet so far.

Obviously unable to bear my Sad Face, our waitress drifted off -- only to return a few minutes later.

"Chef says she thinks you can order it on Amazon."

I could hardly wait to get home. Not really.

But Sunday night, through the miracle that is Amazon, three 700 ml bottles of Lizano were on their way to Bermtopia.

Sidebar: I am hopelessly metric system-impaired and did not realize I was ordering basically wine-bottle size Lizano. The fact that the shipping cost about as much as the salsa should have been a clue. Needless to say, we've got enough Lizano to get us through the next Zombie Apocalypse and then some.

And, so without further ado, here's what Lizano Salsa Month at the Nine-One-Four looks like:

Lizano-marinated pork loin kabobs

Lizano pork wrap

Scrambled eggs with chives and Lizano

Chicken and black bean soup (flavored with Lizano, of course)

What can I say? I'm on a roll. And filled with Lizano Salsa Luv these days.

Happy Saturday! And may you find your own Lizano-like bliss this weekend!

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