Here’s two gripes and a report on a wonderful dinner

Where is the complaint box? Lately expats have been grumbling about the changes Amnet has wrought and a number of other things that have been irking them this year. I have been asked why don’t I talk about this. Since I not only sympathize with them, I have decided to contribute my own.

I, too, am annoyed and befuddled at the changes Amnet has made and the channels they have removed. I know many people miss Fox News. My friend, Helen, misses the House and Garden Channel, which has been moved to a premium package. I tend to be more upset about the loss of the Food Channel because watching someone else cook is almost as relaxing as doing it myself — and a lot easier to clean up afterwards. I remember very well on Sept. 11, 2001, when watching the Towers fall one more time was more than I could bear so I switched to Food Channel where Mario Batali was masterfully mixing his latest Italian dish and telling us all about its origins, as if everything were still normal. Of course it wasn’t. But I appreciated the respite.

To make the change by Amnet especially annoying, they did it at the same time the U.S. where many programs originate, turns its clocks back or ahead (I never remember just which) so I am trying to get used to the new times as well as the changed numbers of the Channels. Is this some kind of test?

My other complaint is the weather, and I don’t know who the culprit is in this case. I am so sick of the rain and the cold (anything under 70 degrees is cold to me) that I have actually been thinking about escaping to Panama City and staying in a B & B with no air conditioning. Because I am mostly huddled at home, I watch more TV.

So while I’m at it, I am also sick of news anchors and interviewers adding “We appreciate it.” to their thank yous to their guests. This takes the emphasis off the guest and puts it back to the channel or interviewer. A simple “thank you” is far more powerful and sincere, guys.

Someone at the American Legion meeting this week asked me why doesn’t Costa Rica return to numbering street and buildings. I don’t have an answer to that, unless it is that they resist change as much as I do right now. But I am annoyed with the taxistas who don’t know either the landmark or the street when I give them directions. I am accused of being the busiest back seat driver in Costa
Butterfly in the City

Rica. I’ve had to learn to be one if I am going to get to my destination.

Now there is something I am happy to say, that I have no complaints about. (This, after my friend Darrylle and I waxed indignant over the high cost of all restaurants.) It is my enjoyment of a relatively new restaurant I found, thanks to reader, Tim.

The Food, Inc. Café is tiny – just five tables indoors but it does have several more outdoors in the front covered passage. It is located across from the American Embassy in Pavas in the Plaza Oeste. The owners, two Brits, a Canadian and a Tico, are charming, friendly and inviting. The name, Food, Inc. is ironic, based on the Web site that tells about the danger Monsanto is doing to our food by altering the crops and seeds it sells. The goal of the restaurant, I am told, is to prepare home grown, organic or at least small supplier fresh foods.

The cesar salad (with romaine and a touch of anchovy and great croutons!) is the best I have had in Costa Rica. The pasta with clams and sun dried tomatoes was intoxicated with enough garlic, even for me. Tico Chef Rodrigo Nuñez Corrales will soon also prepare Moroccan dishes, and sushi. Another chef, David, makes the best fish and chips I have ever had. The natural fruit drinks are above average and generous. Each day they have specials that are always good – and some dishes have enough food to share.

As yet they don’t have an alcohol license, but on Thanksgiving we were able to take our own wine. Although you won’t dine at bargain prices, you will enjoy gourmet food and feel it was worth every cent. Today that is a bargain.

So far, everyone I know who has dined there has agreed: Not only no complaints, but the best food they have had in a very long time.

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