So last I spoke to you, I had arrived at Finca Bachita in Playa Coronado, Panama. For those of you who asked, the house is named after my friend Cesar’s very cute mom, Beatrice. Bachita is her nickname and Finca means farm/estate or plantation in Spanish.
The town of Coronado is about an hour and a half west of Panama City and one of the oldest private communities in Panama. It’s huge…with over 2000 good sized residences plus a couple large and ugly high rises, a clinic, a horse farm, restaurants and a long grey/black beach along the Pacific. Just outside the development on the main road (the PanAmerican highway to be exact), there are very American supermarkets, malls, spas…everything. Look at this wine selection at the local market…and $5-$10 a bottle…
Panama is developing incredibly quickly and prices are rising quickly as well. But to me? Everything seems CHEAP! Definitely cheaper than Costa Rica and much cheaper than Belize.
We woke up early the first morning to shop for a few things that Panama is known for…fresh produce and seafood. It seemed almost silly to buy mangoes or even avocados…trees in almost every yard are BURSTING. Even trees along the highway seem to buckling from the weight of so much fruit. I do not exaggerate when I say that mangoes are everywhere. But all are not created equal. We stopped at a roadside stand that sold five or six different kinds of mangoes plus another fruit, the kinep. Giant mangos…5 for $1USD. You really can’t beat it.
From flip flop mangoes (the long flatter ones) to butter mangoes (the smooth delicious green yellow ones), we managed to filled 4 shopping bags. Food discovery #1 made by me later after eating 2 mangoes. The most beautiful mango is not always the best.
You’d think the one on the right…the yellow one would be the most tasty. In fact, it has been my least favorite…very woody. You could floss your teeth with the fibers. All that glitters really isn’t gold. You really can’t judge a book by its cover. I guess others have made this discovery in the past. Sigh…
Next the super fresh black clams, caracol…$1.25USD a dozen! All plucked from the sea this morning. Here is Cesar’s dad picking out the best ones.
And Cesar’s mom made a ceviche later than evening that was divine. She soaks thin red onion slices in lime (in fact, she keeps the pickle in the fridge at all times)…add some of the onions, the opened clams, a bit of olive oil, lime, salt and pepper and you will soon swoon. Eaten with white rice, this stuff is perhaps the best ceviche I’ve ever had.
Important food discovery #2 made by me: all ceviche should be served with warm white rice. It is delicious. Makes me want to stop by KayDan’s Ceviche Stall in San Pedro for lobster ceviche as soon as I get back.
The day was not over, there are still things to do. Though Cesar’s parents live in a relatively residential area, some lots are of good size…..big enough for gardening or even raising small animals. His dad had taken advantage of an empty lot next door to grown lots of fruit trees (from banana, papaya and custard apple to passion fruit) and to raise a few chickens.