And watch the sun set perfectly over the ocean.
I also ate a version of this every morning:
That being said, I did have a few solid meals. A few highlights included a set of beautifully cooked, fat and juicy pork ribs; grilled fresh-caught fish and langoustine; and an assortment of deep fried goodies including fried mashed potatoes.
Otherwise the typical lunch or dinner consisted mostly of rice, beans, plantain and some overcooked slabs of meat. Some were decent, others bordered on inedible. This one was certainly the biggest:
Besides Gallo Pinto, the other two most touted national dishes are the Quesillo and the Nacatamal. The quesillo is a thick slab of extremely fresh though relatively tasteless cheese covered by chopped onions that have been stewing in vinegar for a week. It is all wrapped in a thick corn tortilla, stuffed into a plastic bag then doused in the cream that the cheese has been sitting in. It is served at room temperature. The tart onions give some intensity and dimension to what otherwise is a plain dish. It is good, I suppose, but it will be a while before you see a quesillo joint open up down the street. Here is a restaurant version, unbagged and unrolled:
The nacatamal is a corn masa tamal wrapped in a plantain leaf and filled with pork, potatoes, tomatoes, mint, and at times raisins, olives and chiles. Circumstances beyond my control kept me from getting my hands on one until the final night, when I was able to pick up a few cold ones. I did succeed in smuggling them home past our ever-vigilant border patrol, but by the time I opened it up, the sweaty sock stench emanating from the bag forced me to at least ponder the consequences of eating food in such a state of decay. I still have them in the fridge, hoping somehow to reverse the ageing, but I fear I will be throwing these beauties out tonight.
By no means do I pretend to know a lot about Nicaraguan cuisine after my 10-day tour, and by allowing my nacatamals to spoil, I probably missed out on the best Nicaragua has to offer. I also discovered late in my journey that the bakeries held countless varieties of meat-stuffed pastries that are sure to delight. And although I won't recommend that you venture to Nicaragua as a food destination, I do recommend that you go to Nicaragua to enjoy cheap and relatively tourist-free travel, the lovely people and the endlessly beautiful landscapes.
I also haven't forgotten about the little contest I set up just for you, reader. If you missed that post, I was looking for some great new place to visit in exchange for a $10 coupon for one of Denver's Independent Network of Restaurants. I am still debating the options and will decide on a winner by the end of the week. Stay tuned and thanks again for checking in.