Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Check this out...

I can't wait to try these burgers and the cheez sauce. Thanks Lane!

Jerry on a skirt!

I miss Jerrito so much!


Hmmmm Caramel and Sea salt

Finally, I have all vegan caramel ice-cream. Before I was using dulce
de leche, which is fantastic but it is not dairy free and it was my
only dairy ice-cream on the menu, which sucked. My friend Karen gave
me this book, Voluptious Vegan and I tried the caramel recipe from
there. It turned out fantastic and so easy to make, I don't know why I
had struggled making caramel so much in the past. As always, when life
flows, it is fun and easy. When I try too hard, and try to go against
the flow, things get really difficult and not fun at all, so you get
the idea, I am happy these days:)

So, here is the recipe if you like to try home. If you like to make
your own ice-cream, use this base instead of the sweetener and add
some coarse sea salt on top. If you are lazy, you can also mix caramel
to a store bought vanilla ice-cream and sprinkle salt on it. This
version will be sweet though!

Caramel Sauce
Makes 1 and 1/2 cups

1/2 cup molasses
1/2 tapa dulce or maple syrup
1 tsp coarse sea-salt
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp tahini
1/2 tsp peanut butter or sesame butter
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix soy milk, tahini and peanut butter and salt in a small cup
Add the lemon juice

Boil the molasses and the tapa dulce until it reaches a soft ball
stage, 250 degrees. You can test it by dropping a spoon into
ice-water. It is supposed to be pliable.

Slowly add the soy milk mixture and let boil another 3 minutes. Let it cool...

Monday, July 30, 2007


I would like to go home in September, but I don't have a visa for the States and all the flights are going thru the US. The US embassy here is scheduling appointments for visa in 20 days. Crazy!

I got two websites to search for tickets for Europe, www.airgorilla.com or www.airtech.com I don't know any travel agency in Costa Rica and I am not sure how to get home with no visa. This visa issue is killing me...Any help would be appreciated...

Vipassana on CNN


I got accepted to serve in NZ in October!

back in the kitchen

Today we opened a little late, since we didn't have anything
ready...The day started a little slow and I was happy that we got time
to finish stuff... By 10 o'clock, people started flooding the place. I
don't know what happened, I guess closing a week was a good idea in
the end, it created some kind of a buzz in town....People said they
changed their travel plans to eat at Organico.

Then I met the nicest guy from Florida. He came in with friends, all
vegetarian and they ordered a few items. He looked at some stuff,
asked questions but didn't order anything. He kept looking at stuff,
finishing off the tasting bowl and complementing the food. I offered
another piece of a cake, he was shy but accepted it. I sensed it was
something to do with money, he didn't look like a tramp but I figured
either he is out of cash, (no ATMs in Montezuma and people often come
here without enough cash) or he left his wallet in the hotel or
something...I was right that he was out of cash, but his story was
horrific. He got robbed in Jaco. This popular tourist town, 3 hours
off San Jose. He was with his friends walking to the beach and some
nice looking people offered them to show the way. On the way, they
jumped on the guys with a machete and asked for their wallets. He gave
his wallet and got a bad scar on his back. Now he is here and maybe he
will help me for a while in the kitchen. Tomorrow he is coming in to
cook some Indian treats and I am dying for some Indian food, so this
will be a fun week!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Catching up with my sister!


She always wins at these damn video games. I need to get up to speed before she beats me again in a month. Check out yoshi and touch! I also recommend Animal Crossing. Lane Collins favorite!

Vipassana in NZ

I am planning to be in NZ in October and there is a 10 day course starting Sep 26. Afterwards, I will be visiting my friends Lane and Sutter who are in Nelson...Of course all depending on me getting a visa and a plane ticket...more on this soon....


Correo Central, San Jose

One of the most amazing places I have been in San Jose is the post office building. El correo is in the middle of the crazy town, a very old, semi clean, high ceiling building. I loved being there, there are so many post boxes and so many interesting people coming and going...I think I am longing for connections, it made me so happy to be there and observe people sending mail, receiving mail, boxes and mostly everyone was happy...there were no lines...I can't wait to go back.

Here is the bonus:) Reina took me to the coffee shop next door, Cafe Teano...They have a two page drink menu but you can order off the menu and get my special, "American drip" with cardamom...hmmm, not sure how Americans got to put their name into coffee but everywhere you go there is American coffee. I decided to add this to my menu as Turkish Delight as of tomorrow...:)

Here is the Correo Central:


Saturday, July 28, 2007

travelling kitchen

I have been out of touch with a good reason. I discovered how amazing food we have in Organico-and how other travelling veggies must be feeling when they get to the cafe! Brown rice, almond milk and vegan baked stuff do not exist here. I am surprised and happy....
On the road though, we suffered...We could not find one decent restaurant, no avocados, no fresh squeezed orange juice, no whole grains...So, we had to have our own travelling kitchen...I am not sure if I should write all that we carried on our backpacks (I felt like a turtle) because in the end Reina and I agreed that we are extremely obsessive...I will write some of the stuff we carried and you tell me what you think...
1. Curry Powder, I add it to anything.
2. Cardamom, especially good with coffee.
3. Wakame
4. Lemon
5. Granola
6. Almonds, walnuts
7. Mango
8. Dark Chocolate
9. Soy cookies
10. Soy sauce
On one of the nights we stayed at this nice hot springs with a fancy restaurant in San Carlos and we took our wakame, soy sauce and avocados to the table. The waiter was puzzled, mostly because we took our groceries to make a salad and also we ordered french fries with that...Yeah, I still love french fries.
Highly recommended hot springs:
Total disappointment:

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Independence and Self Sufficiency

From Tony Samara:

"This spiritual path is dedicated to making people independent and self-sufficient. By everyone taking initiative, free of ego and its judgements, then we have creative action. With this action we discover that within our self-sufficiency we have the ability to love the differences and the uniqueness in each other.

When one speaks of self-sufficiency this means taking a mature attitude towards life. Whatever choices one makes life reflects it. There is no running away from all the responsibilities that we face in life. Looking for ways of simplifying and easing things for ourselves creates selfishness. By instead creating joy for everybody it is possible to build a joyful selfless service to humanity."


Out in the jungle

I am in San Carlos,  2 hours north of San Jose. I came here with a quick decision on Monday, left Montezuma with the early bus. I met Reina in town and we spent the night in the best hotel but still really really not up to my expectations at all...No fruit trees, no garden, no touch...The hotel feels like a prison and I don´t feel secure at all...We had breakfast at the hotel (in Reina´s room) with mangoes and granola and checked out from the place. Walking around the city, I found maca powder and flax seeds...strangely fascinating...

It is great to be out free though, I am free and not have to deal with employee issues for a while. Then, following Jorge´s advice, I will have to be the boss!

Today we are headed to hot springs for some relaxation and green!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Point of Nervous Breakdown and Lizzle Dizzle

I left at 3pm yesterday to take a yoga class in Mal Pais. It was a
fantastic class and Flor Blanca is a beautiful place to get away from
everything. I left the cafe to my employees and Dariana and they were
supposed to close kitchen by 4:00 and close up everything by 5:00.
Since the yoga class ended by 5:30, I went directly home and came down
to the cafe this morning.

This is what I saw...All the produce that was delivered yesterday (a
weeks worth of organic produce) on the kitchen table. I accept that I
am emotional and that is not a good thing, but come on...I was mad,
how could someone who works in a restaurant can leave produce (and I
mean delicate lettuce, herbs, spinach, ect) out on the table, in the
hot kitchen overnight. I didn't cry, but I was soooo frustrated. We
threw out some stuff, beets and carrots were ok. What bothered me most
was the way they handled things. When I asked the woman that why she
left them out on the table, her response was I did not specifically
instruct her to do so. Then she laughed. I have worked with so many
people since I started Organico, and the truth is no one is better
than the other...(except for those special angels that I am grateful)
but I will always have employee issues and I just have to be a better
manager. I need to figure out how to delegate and make them
responsible and then if it doesn't work, they are out. Fired. I
decided to close for next week, mostly because I am tired, also I want
to meet up with Reina but then I met two new guys who are interested
in helping me and it sounds like fun, I changed my mind. Its time to
work on details of running things, not only doing everything and
training is part of it. I also feel lucky because I felt so yucky
today and some great customers were around to give me hugs and support
and kisses and love, so all is good. Just challenging but I asked for
this at this point of my life and I can do it.

P.S. Also, it sucks that I don't speak spanish and trying to explain
stuff is sooo difficult. I will learn Spanish. It is really a must.

In the meantime, a new special on the shakes...The Lizzle Dizzle,
named after Liz. Jeremy's creation. It is my signature frosty ice
coffee with almond milk and frozen banana.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Not Dogs...

Looking for a vegan not dog recipe, let me know if you got one....

Lettuce Cups!

Lettuce cups made it to the menu! I have come a long way from eating
the lettuce on the side at several different places (thanks Carrie)
and now finally I have my own place and I make my own lettuce cups. In
the heat, they make a fantastic lunch as well. Today we sold four, a
very good start!!!

Next up on the menu is Vegan Meatballs meets Spaghetti Monster!
Dariana made the meatballs from soymeat and Beth did the artwork for
the wall. It is hillarious!
Learn more about Spaghetti Monster here:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


We are selling a lot of almond milk and that is a good
thing...However, the refrigerator has been piling up with almond
leftovers! I use them to make vegan mayo but the amount of mayo we go
through is so little....I have mentioned the problem to Dariana and
she suggested to use it in an ice-cream...Of course, I tried that a
couple of times before and it never worked, the ice-cream was more
grainy and sandy and I didn't like the taste...but I tried it again,
this time with more liquid to almond ratio and with cacao...It turned
out better than I hoped and we even test marketed it to some
customers. On top, one of our regulars, Noah named it for

So, there is hope to go through that almond pile, and that is the good
news...The bad news, as always, I didn't write down what I put in it,
so I tried it again today and it wasn't even close....I really have to
write, ughgghghgh! Ok, this is it...I am starting tomorrow...and this
will be the first step towards my vegan ice-cream book! Here we go!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Go Sarma!

I adore Sarma!


Liz left, sad again and lucky again...

Liz left this week and I am really sad. I met her at the cafe, we
became instant friends and spent everyday together, including spending
a night at Santa Teresa. We ate together, surfed, gossiped a lot,
talked about girly stuff, about men, sex, love, affairs, boys and boys
and food almost everything you could think of. She worked at the cafe
when it was so chaotic, she had to rush behind the counter to take
some orders since Claudia doesn't speak any English...

I rarely let people in my life but Liz was so special with her
charming personality, it is impossible not to like her. Everyone in
Montezuma thinks she is a local. She was here for three weeks, to
learn spanish, do yoga and surf. Having a good friend like her also
made me realize, I really need friends here. I am lonely. However, I
am lucky too, because Liz left Monday and her good friend Dariana is
staying for one more week. She also offered to help at the cafe and I
was delighted to have her. She is a fantastic employee to have....I
asked her today if she would be willing to train my
employees...Unfortunately she likes her job in NY and she will be
leaving this Friday...I am really blessed to meet these amazing people
that makes me appreciate Organico more. Although I am not too excited
about the routine, the fact that I can't travel as much, I don't make
as much money as my employees or I don't get to eat as well as the
clients, the experience is really fantastic. I am lucky to be here.

A new special on the board today from Dariana: Lasagna con Platanos

Dariana is from Dominican Republic and she has sooo many great
recipes. Today, we tried her lasagna and it is the best lasagna I have
ever had...We used plantains instead of pasta, sunflower ricotta for
the cheese, mixed veggies and soy meat in the filling and breadcrumbs
on top. Sooo delicious!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Week in a nutshell

This week was fantastic. It was busy, I had the best numbers ever and
I managed to do yoga everyday, went to surfing, had dinner with
friends and really had fun. Tomorrow is my day off-even better:) Life
is good!

My new favorite at the cafe is the Bowl of Rice and Happiness. Brown
rice, black beans, cilantro, tomato and avocado. Dressed with lemon
and sea-salt. So simple and deliciously happy!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I am in heaven

After being in Costa Rica for 7 months, I finally made it to the next town, Santa Terasa for a short weekend getaway. Oh my god, this place is amazing. I am doing a yoga workshop at this wonderful resort, Flor Blanca  It is 500 USD per night so we decided not to stay here for this time (!) I have to admit, I missed hot showers, large patios, white table cloths...

I also met people here who ate at Organico and they liked it very much. "Wow, you are the owner of Organico, I love it there. My favorite place!" I am a little famous now in this little town! I better come down to earth. Interestingly, we were very busy in the last week, even though I started doing yoga during the week, started surfing and spent less time in the cafe,  things are running smooth and I paid the rent already!!! 

One last thing, I finally realize how hard I am on myself. I am going to stop that now. Nothing has to be perfect and I am tired of running after perfection. It is a process. I am changing, I am moving forward and it feels great to have people around me who I can talk about anything. Life, once again, is fun and I am enjoying it. Of course I am grateful to my guiding angels, my family and friends who love me just the way I am.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Latest and greatest

Microwave made its way to the kitchen. I hate it. I never used it and
didn't want it there but heating stuff is so difficult and I have to
turn the oven on and off all the time just for one apple pie or a
cake. And the electricity bill has been really high in the last couple
of months so I am trying to cut costs...But everyday I realize how
hard it is to stick to your values, keep resisting to other's trying
to influence you. Is microwave really an energy saver? I don't eat
anything out from the microwave, I don't feel good serving things from
the microwave, Larry even says, stay away from it as much as you can
to minimize damage...That's it! I am not going to have a microwave in
the kitchen. I just have to serve everything room temperature. I am
tired of trying to please everyone, and if you want good healthy food,
here it is, luke warm. Come'on people, it is already boiling hot
outside, why should we heat the apple pie???? Why did I not think
about this before, I don't know...Microwave is gone. Wow, I have made
an executive decision! In the meantime, why do I serve eggs? I don't
even taste eggs anymore....Veganize Ozlem, veganize! Soon:)