Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Springtime Engagement

Amy in disbelief, Central Park with the New York skyline in the distance.
A few days ago I planned a last minute picnic for Amy and myself in New York City. The weather forcast was for a beautiful spring day. I easily convinced Amy to take the day off work and we caught the train into Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. We strolled the streets of New York to Central Park, one of our favorite spots in the city and wandered the walkways and paths through beautiful spring blossoms and fields of daffodils. Quite surprised by the business, we still managed to find a quiet spot near the boat lake and bridge. Atop a big rock I set up our picnic of ham rolls and chips proceeding to take a knee and flip out the ring and ask Amy to marry me.
The highest quality diamond money can buy!

Conveniently being surrounded by 10 million people there was likely to be someone on hand to snap a few photos of us in the moment. Just after I proposed, I saw a guy framing some shots of us and a few minutes later he came over and asked if we just got engaged. He was a Aussie working in NY as a professional photographer and was out in the park on assignment to take 'Springtime in Central Park' photos and saw us. I guess he thought we fit the bill. We got his card and he emailed us half a dozen shots, one of which he edited and put on Instagram (Insider Images).

The backdrop to my proposal.

South Street Seaport.
We had our picnic, despite Amy not eating much-she was completely in shock, and couldn't even comprehend what happened for at least half an hour.  We continued to wander the park, then jumped on the subway to Battery Park to walk waterside up to South Street Seaport. We found this area under a lot of construction and most of the shops near the water closed. Later finding out this was due to Hurricane Sandy, with renovations and repairs still taking place. We did find a nice craft beer bar for a drink a block or so back, that had only just reopened. Seeing the chalk line representing the water level after the hurricane around the height of the door, shows how bad it was. To finish the day, I had a beautiful hop monster and Amy had her favorite beer from Colorado, couldn't have been a better day.

As it appears on Instagram - "Moments after she said 'yes', congratulations mystery couple".

Cooking in Costa Rica

A standard meal of fried veges, rice and plantain.
I loved cooking up a good feed in Costa Rica. The food was so cheap, it was so fresh and it was so tasty. Depending on where we were, we could buy heaps of produce from a farmers markets for practically nothing or buy it out of the bed of some guys truck on the side of the road or from the small market shop in town for good prices. I was able to learn to cook with new ingredients and keep us well fed with my usual flair and excitement for cooking. 
Plantains for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We loved plantains, both the green and yellow variety. The yellow type which we are not sure if its just the ripe version or entirely separate to the green type, but these ones you just peel and cut into slices and fry. They are so delicious, we ate them for breakfast lunch and dinner as a side to rice and beans! The green ones required a double cooking method. You would cut them into cubes a inch or so thick and fry till soft and then squash into a patty then refry. We would then top these with frijoles rojos (refried red beans), avocado, cheese, tomato or whatever we had. They were unbelievably delicious.

                                             Green plantain fritters                                     Cooking up a storm, Pura Vida

Yuca root
I would always include rice to go with whatever we ate and would usually also do a fry up of onions, peppers and carrots. Again, super cheap food. I would use the local Lizerno Salsa to add a nice flavor and depending on the supplies of the hostel kitchen, maybe some hot sauce or spices. Topped off usually we would wrap the concoction of rice and veggies and plantains in a burrito wrap and load up on more of the frijoles negros (black beans). Another delicious side I would make was yuca, a root vegetable which can be cooked similarly to potato. I would make chips, yum! We were eating well that was for sure, but eating healthy, they were often very large portions but as we didn't eat meat, cheese or milk, we were vegans really. We felt great and it showed in our physique. 

Yuca chips
Fresh baguette sandwiches were always a solid lunch, with tomato, avocado and egg doing the trick. Along with a combo fresh fruit platter, no wonder I am smiling!