The answer, of course, is a “Casado” because it includes 6 traditional Tico dishes on one grand plate.
- White rice – there is no other.
- Black beans, but not mixed with the rice – that’s only for breakfast (Gallo Pinto).
- Fried plantains, sweet and crisp.
- Cabbage salad. Because lettuce doesn’t holdup in the tropics, most salads are cabbage-based with additions of tomatoes, carrots, etc. Dressing is usually a slice of limón or mandarina garnishing the plate.
- Tico cheese – this is the one unfortunate inclusion. It’s rubbery and tasteless, but it provides some salt and protein and I’ve gotten used to it.
- These are the basics of a Casado Then you order it with a portion of chicken, meat, or fish. “Carne en Salsa” is my favorite, chunks of beef stewed in tomatoes and herbs. Steve usually orders it with fish.
The Casado – it roughly translates as “married man” – is offered at every restaurant in Costa Rica for lunch. It’s not typical for supper but can be found. It is usually the cheapest thing on the menu, delicious, and filling. Douse the whole thing with Salsa Lizano. Top it with a couple of pickled vegetables from the jar on the counter. Good food!