Food and Fun on Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast


By Guest Blogger, Whitney Gould, the Finding Corte Magore project

Traveling along the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua is like shopping in a thrift shop – the gems are there, but you have to search for them.  And when I say gems, I mean the most gleaming gems of all.  From its jungle river rides to its coconut-infused cuisine, the often overlooked Caribbean Coast is full of discoveries, activities, and cuisine that left the three of us – my mother and founder of Finding Corte Magore, and Eric Anderson, FCM’s Communications Director and me – feeling as if we’d found a new wonder of the world in Bluefields, Nicaragua.

Bluefields was named after the Dutch pirate Abraham Blauvelt who hid in the bay’s waters in the early 17th century.[1] It has a population of 87,000 (2005)[2] and its inhabitants are mostly Mestizo, Afro-descendant Creoles, and indigenous Miskitu, along with smaller communities of Garifuna, whites, Chinese, Mayangnas, Ulwas, and Ramas. Bluefields is Nicaragua’s chief Caribbean port, from which hardwood, seafood, shrimpand lobster are exported. Bluefields was a rendezvous for English and Dutch buccaneers in the 16th and 17th century and became capital of the English protectorate over the Mosquito Coast in 1678. During United States interventions (1912–15, 1926–33) in Nicaragua, American Marines were stationed there. In 1984, the United States mined the harbor (along with those of Corinto and Puerto Sandino). Bluefields was destroyed by Hurricane Joan in 1988 but was rebuilt. (Source:  Wikipedia)

When traveling to this coastal region in Latin America, you’ll want some handy tips on the food and fun. Here’s where to start:

Food – When it comes to food, try everything with the Nicaraguans’ trademark coconut flare.  Coconut accents enhance the flavors of rice, shrimp, and bread in ways you’ve never tasted. Hunt down a bakery selling signature pan de coco (coconut bread) – a dish with subtle but delectable hints of coconut that grow on you as you eat it. It’s nearly impossible to save any for later. If I’ve tempted your taste buds and no immediate trip to Nicaragua is in your future, trying making your own pan de coco bread at home with this recipe.

For seafood, try Pelican Bay (or as the local taxi drivers call it, “El Pelicano”) – not necessarily for the cuisine (although it’s good), but for the view. Take a look at the dishes cooked with coconut – I recommend the shrimp and rice.  It was so good I ordered it two days in a row.  Be sure to find a seat outside.  Seated over Bluefields Bay, the balcony offers amazing views of the water and nearby islands.  It’s a great place to take pictures of the passing pangas, well-presented dishes, or better yet, both:

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View over Bluefields Bay from Pelican Bay restaurant
Fred Ulrich, Casa Ulrich
Fred Ulrich, Casa Ulrich, Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua
Casa Ulrich CuisineFun – A foolproof way to have fun in Nicaragua is to spend time in the water.  Take a panga through the bay and the connecting rivers.  This is the easiest (and sometimes only) way to travel from place to place.  Pearl Lagoon*, home of Fred Ulrich’s restaurant, Casa Ulrich, is known for vibrant locals, a beach-like atmosphere, and big screen TVs for sports fanatics.  Order the seafood platter, have a beer, play a game of beach soccer, and you’re sure to have a fun-filled day.

If you’re up for the day trip, take some time to go to Pearl Lagoon by boat.  Fred Ulrich, Swiss trained chef and Nicaragua local, owns this top-notch seafood restaurant right off the dock. Since you’ll be staying for dinner as well as lunch, be sure to try the seafood pasta in both the red and white sauces.  Don’t forget to wash your food down with a Toña Cerveza – the most popular beer in Nicaragua (and we see why)!  Watch the video below as Eric gives his critique of this Nicaraguan beer.

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Soccer match on the new beachfront recently installed at Casa Ulrich
HugKey
HugKey, Bluefields, Nicaragua
DSC_4190If you have time for another day trip, schedule a tour at CEDEHCA’s own farm, HugKey**.  HugKey is a sanctuary unlike any other for ducks, pigs, turkeys, and chickens.  Set on a lush, sprawling, open field, the island is also covered with gardens, fruit trees, and vegetable patches.  Plus, your visit contributes to a great cause.  CEDEHCA is using the farm to teach young people how to raise farm animals -like hogs, chickens and turkeys, grow fruits and vegetables, and sell to local businesses.  If you’re interested in visiting the farm, contact Earl Gregory Taylor, CEDEHCA’s Operations Coordinator, at (505) 8430 0884 or earl.taylor@cedehcanicaragua.com.  Munch on some sugar cane while you’re there!  

*Be sure to wear pants to protect from local mosquitos! – Yes, I learned the hard way. By the time, I left Pearl Lagoon, I had over 50 mosquito bites on my legs. Mom and Eric both paid heed to local advice to wear bug spray, but I thought I was impervious to what I thought I was only local lore. By the way, my mom was using her own lavender, orange and euculyptus natural oil concoction and she escaped the whole trip without a single bite.

SnakeOh yes, and do watch out for snakes, while touring any tall, grassy areas – after all, you are in the jungle.

I hope you fall in love with the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua like I did.  Open yourself up to experience the flavors, personality, and beauty of the coast and its people, and I promise that you, too, will enjoy not only these gems, but will find some of your own!

Some day soon, we hope to see you visit us on Corte Magore at Hog Cay, Nicaragua!

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Giving Proper Credit Where Credit is Due with Some SpongeBob Crew and Who Knows Who?


Scene 1 Final Illustration by Marc Ceccarelli.
Scene 1 Final Illustration by Marc Ceccarelli.

I failed to give proper credit where credit is due! “Mr. Lawrence” (incidentally, also the voice of Plankton), and Storyboard Director for SpongeBob SquarePants, creatively directed many of the Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore Illustrations in cooperation with Marc Ceccarelli, also a SpongeBob SquarePants StoryBoard Director, who mastered most of the final illustrations. Michelle Fandrey, from Skies America Publishing, also contributed to the illustrations. I had failed to mention Ceccarelli leading up to this point, but without him, this story couldn’t have come to life. Dmitriy Toloknov performed all the illustrations seamlessly working with Mr. Lawrence’s, Marc Ceccarelli’s, and Fandrey’s illustrations.

And, while I’m at it; let’s not forget the book was narrated by two-time Marconi Award nominee, and a top radio personality, broadcaster, and voice-over in the country, Mr. Steve McCoy, who lent his charming voice to the project. In addition to narrating Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, McCoy has voiced the narration for a children’s book app for Dream Works “Rise of the Guardians,” and legions of other high-profile works.

Country artist Robby Armstrong wrote and produced the Americana-style musical score for the children’s eBook/app, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore (Skies America Publishing, 2013), which is now available on iTunes. One of my favorite people of all time, Emily Kilimnik (violinist/fiddler), put the finishing touches on the story with her exceptional fiddle playing for the app–because no self-respecting fiddler crab on Corte Magore can be seen and heard without his fiddle and his bow! Kilimnik was working in conjunction with Armstrong on the project, and Armstrong can also can be heard on the guitar. The release of the professional narrated and musical eBook/App coincides with Armstrong’s single release, “Rodeo,” which is currently at Country radio. Written by Armstrong and Darrell Brown, the toe-tapping track is Robby’s first single from his forthcoming 2013 full-length album, which is additionally produced by Brown (LeAnn Rimes, Ty Herndon, Radney Foster). Robby has three songs, including “Rodeo” in the major motion picture, Gambit (featuring Cameron Diaz, Colin Firth), wherein he and his band make a cameo appearance. The songs are also on the official soundtrack. Additionally, “Rodeo” is featured in The Sims video game and has been heard at Angels’ stadium as the Los Angeles Angels’ rally song. The dance remix for the song is circulating through line dance clubs across the country. Robby’s “Rodeo” video was also selected for pre-race entertainment for the upcoming Indy 500. For more information, visit http://www.RobbyArmstrong.net and on Facebook and Twitter.

Many, many special thanks to Jacqueline Merrill, Creative Director at Skies America publishing, for all of her important contributions to the story once it entered the animation stage.

A children’s book written by Tonia Allen Gould (moi), the story is of a tenacious land and sea fiddler crab that will stop at nothing to build and save his home from his rival. Complete with a fiddle and his bow, Samuel T. Moore marches forward with his mission, even though he is met with adversary while onlookers and naysayers mock him in disbelief. The book teaches children about courage and tenacity, to stand up and fight for what they believe in.

Yes, little old me produced, authored and hand-picked the celebrity talent to make this eBook/app an engaging experience for children ages four to eight years old, and only for the mere price of $4.99! Please buy Samuel T. Moore here!

#SamuelTMoore Wins #2 App in the Top 5 Apps of the Week Contest!


A Quarter-to-One ClockCheck it out! Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore released just less than a week ago in the App Store on iTunes, already won the #2 App in the Top 5 Apps of the Week contest at iHeartThisApp.com. What an honor, but what’s most important is that hopefully now parents and teachers will be able to find the eBook/app better.

It’s one thing to write a book. It’s another to get your book published. And, still yet another to get your published book found and read! Marketing your book is just as important as everything else and it’s no easy feat. I have almost twenty years experience in marketing, and even I am learning the ropes on what’s involved with marketing a book. All this seems like a good start. iHeartThisApp is averaging 46,000+ monthly page views from 11,000+ unique visitors (majority USA visitors). Readers stay on iHeartThisApp on an average of more than 5 minutes.

This animated and colorful eBook (available for $4.99) explores several important themes for young readers, including:

• The concept of “building a home”
• Hard work and self-reliance
• Daring to dream of a better life
• Overcoming adversity
• Dealing with bullies and naysayers

Check out all five top apps of the week!

Thanks, from the bottom of my heart, for all your iHeart clicks. Voting each week is easy. All you have to do is go here: http://iheartthisapp.com/apps/samuel-t-moore-corte-magore/ and click on the heart, and that’s it. No registration is required. If you are reading this now, I sure would be grateful for your vote. Who knows, maybe we can make it to #1 in the coming weeks with your help!

Sincerely,

Tonia Allen Gould & Samuel T. Moore