June 12, 2009

Monteverde Dirt – The Two “Miradors” Where You Usually Can’t See Jack

Leaves as big as bikes

Just above our place there is a place called El Mirador (the lookout point). It is located on top of the continental divide and when you’re up there you can look down onto the Carribean Slope and there is (sometimes) a great view of Arenal Volcano. Arenal is currently very active and, when it’s clear, you can usually see it erupting and spewing all kinds of crazy pyroclastics (ya, I’m a geologist so I can use words like that!). In the day time it’s usually just a big plume of ash that is visible, but at night you can actually see house-sized glowing hunks of magma being shot into the air and then smashing into a million pieces as it it’s the flanks – pretty damn cool. Anyway, a ride to El Mirador is a pretty good one if you like the steep stuff. A lot of this ride is along tracks that follow the crest of the “divide” so sometimes the wind is howling and other times you are getting slammed by clouds rolling up the slope. It’s about 30 minutes from the house to the divide through coffee and banana farms on a few double track sized roads - unfortunately there is never a whole lot of time to soak in the scenery since there is usually this very loud distracting sound of your heavy breathing and the pounding of squishy sound blood pumping in your ear drums. The other day I decided to check out El Mirador to see what was spewing. I do the long climb and get there…….dammit! clouds!.....can’t see shit. OK, well good thing there is another “Mirador” just a few KM’s down the road near the Santa Elena Reserve (National Park) so I head there and again, frickin clouds! Bastards! – turn of the damn cloud machines already this ain’t no frickin’ Great White concert. After waiting 15 minutes or so and getting a few glimpses of the flanks of the volcano, I bail back home – fast-as-hell downhill all the way. The route for this one was Los Tornos-Las Nubes-Los Olivios (Mirador #1) - Santa Elena Reserve (Mirador #2) – Santa Elena – Los Tornos. Probably a 15 mile loop that is pretty much an ass-kicker. Bring a few Colones if you want to stop in SE or Las Pavas Bar for a beer and a boca.
While cranking up this hill I look to my right and notice somebody has displayed a page out of "La Teja" (the Costa Rican version of the National Enquirer). Hmmmm, interesting.

June Random 10

Fiddlin’ John Carson – Goin’ Down to Cripple Creek
Built to Spill – Shit Brown Eyes
Mirah – We’re Both So Sorry
Scarce - Obviously Midnight
The Jazz Butcher – The Bath of Bacon
Pela – Anytown Graffiti
The Chrome Cranks – No. 1 Girl
The Chemistry Set – Underground
Yo La Tengo – Moon Rock Mambo
Stereo Total – La Diabla

Taco Review #12 – Alejandros Taqueria – The Capital City Taco Ma-Sheen

In February I made it out to Cali to visit Dad and the Davis Bike Borrachos (Starbacks and Cocks) and also took in a couple days of the miserably soggy Tour of California. Dad and I went to Sac to check out the prologue and after watching a few of the lower seeded racers we started to get the taco jitters and decided we had enough time for a couple of tacos before the big boys (the juicers) were up. Just a couple of blocks north of the Capital Plaza Place (whatever they call it) and were the race was being held, was Alejandro’s Taqueria……chinga score! I ordered up the gold standard carne asada taco plate which included the typical rice and beans and condiment bar. Man, I just love those taqueria condiment bars….jalepenos, your choice of salsa, cilantro, frickin limes and onions (if you’re into that). Alejandro’s is your one-step-above the typical taqueria because 1) they have a lot more than just tacos and 2) the tables and floors were not sticky with half-dried menudo juice and 3) I’m sure Arnold eats here. “Solid” is a good way to describe Alejandro’s – not super kick ass but really good solid and authentic Mexican food. The tacos were double-torted, and steamed as they should be. The meat was well done and a bit crispy….check. The beans were authentically runny and the rice was cooked with only a few molecules of chile powder giving it a faint pinkish color – again, the way it should be. (hey man, I didn’t make up these criteria – those are just the facts bro)

The Review:

Authenticityness (food) 4.5/5.0
Atmosphere (sterile) 2.5/5.0
Condiment Bar (bad ass) 4.5/5.0
Carne (crispy goodness) 3.8/5.0
Location (close to the race) 4.0/5.0

Total: 3.86/5.0

As we left Alejandro’s, guts bustin’ with tacos, back to the bike race we realized we had missed the end which we had waited all day to see….shit! Oh well, we weren’t too bummed because Alejandro had treated us good……had missed the race after eating at some shit hole like Chili’s® there would have been blood in the streets.