After lunch is a good time to check out the new Chinatown

A couple of weeks ago I said that the Italian restaurant Il Ritorno had moved to the suburbs in the west. I was wrong. Tony, who was chef of Il Ritorno, has moved there and opened a new restaurant.

Friends, Jorge and Doug, and I had lunch at Il Ritorno recently.

The restaurant is alive and well and still in the Casa Italia on 8th Avenue. And it is still serving lunch and dinner prepared by the new chef, Marco, who has kept many of the recipes that were so deliciously prepared by Tony, and doing a great job of recreating them in his own image. We didn’t sample many dishes, but when the food arrived, the conversation stopped.

What I like too, is that the restaurant has retained its quaint Italian decor and Antonio, the waiter who has been there for a very long time, is still there to greet you as warmly as ever.

So, my apologies to Chef Marco. Il Ritorno is open every day but Monday. You can call 2253-6239 for reservations. Today is a good day to go.

Being a shameless Josephino, let me suggest something else you can do in the city this evening after dinner (or a late lunch) at Il Ritorno. Drive across town to the Teatro Laurence Olivier on Avenida 2, Calle 28 in time for the 7:30 curtain and the opening night of the new play, or rather a set of playlets, entitled “My Life as a Crazy Quilt,” directed by the multitalented Annette Hallett.

A hint for getting there: you will make it in no time if you take Avenida 8 as far as you can go. It is the fastest route through town from east to west and the least used by taxis, which seem to proliferate on the north side of town at the busy going home hours.

After lunch I wanted to check out a pedestrian street that looked interesting and had some pretty little storefronts. It is often very difficult to go around the block in San José, so we parked as in a parqueo on Avenida Dos, but before we could find the street I was too tired to keep looking. (I haven’t started training to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or walk for any good cause in the near future.) Most of what used to be Paseo de los Estudiantes is totally dug up in preparation for creating a Chinatown. Right now it looks like they are digging to China to find one they can transplant. It should be an interesting section of town, and I plan to stock up on my Chinese condiments and vinegars when they do. Besides it will be as close to China as I will ever get.

I think the little street was near the Church la Soledad. If so, it is probably an extension of Avenida 4, which is a very attractive boulevard for strollers and shoppers. It is best, if you are like me, to start at the west end and walk east. It is almost all downhill that way. (See my earlier comment about Kilimanjaro). There is a huge MacDonald’s on the corner of Calle 5. It competes in size with the one in my neighborhood facing the northwest corner of the stadium, and I can see the big red M from my office window. How lucky can a city girl get.

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