Costa Rica

Classy SASY!

A Warm Welcome from Liena de Jong-Smith and Howard Solomon!

A Warm Welcome from Liena de Jong-Smith and Howard Solomon!

From the first moment we stepped into the beautiful new Sheraton Hotel,  we were warmly welcomed to “Eat Classy for SASY”, the eighth annual fundraiser of the organization that says: “Stop Animal Suffering Yes!” As we passed through the revolving glass door into the lobby, entry tickets clutched in hand, a smiling, friendly lady got our attention and directed us to the mezzanine for the event. I asked if we just had that “going-to-a-fundraiser look”. She confided that she spotted the tickets, but yes, we did have that look. I got to wear ‘choos’! Living a casual, tropical, flip-flop kind of lifestyle, I don’t often get to pull out the stilettos. For that alone, the trip to Escazu was worth it!



Upon disembarking from the elevator the four of us, Don and I, and cherished friends, Lynn and Lucas, were whisked into a whirlwind of fun! Greeted by selfless SASY volunteers, Liena and Howard, with instructions on how to use our dining ‘passport’, purchase the donated items, and where the all-important wine table was located. The Argentinian wine, Canachil, flowed freely with choices of Chardonnay, Malbec, and, I think Cabernet Sauvignon. I didn’t make it past the Malbec, so I’m not sure about the third. Craft Brewing Co. was also there; but again, I didn’t make it past the Malbec.

Nancy Menard flew in from Loveland, Colorado and was pressed into service. Not bad duty!

Nancy Menard flew in from Loveland, Colorado and was pressed into service. Not bad duty!

There was so much to do, see, eat,  new and old friends to meet, we hardly knew where to begin. Lynn and I began at the wine table. While our backs were turned, the “boys” were buying stuff. My husband shocked me by grabbing the box of hand-rolled Nicaraguan cigars. And I quote Don:

“Rolled on the thighs of virgins!! After they took my money the virgins were further described as eighty year old men. I’m convincing myself that was a joke and I’m clinging to my earlier vision.”

Finea Genizares Cigars

Finea Genizares Cigars

I like the box. I would like to open it and see strands of pearls, maybe some rubies, emeralds, and diamonds … Last time I checked a bottle of Louis 13 cognac was $2,600 at the Duty Free. We might have to settle for Christian Brothers.

Where's the cognac?

Where’s the cognac?

Once we were armed with wine and cigars, we started on the food tasting. Each and every station was done with loving care, artistry, professionalism, friendly staff, and scrumptious samples. I can’t mention every single one here, although all are deserving of noteworthy praise.

In keeping with the upcoming American holiday, Thanksgiving, Construcciones Dulces in Escazu, served samples of turkey with home-made cranberry sauce. I would say you could order your turkey and cranberry sauce from them, slip the bird in your oven, destroy the packaging and tell your guests you slaved all day over the feast! Order at: 2228-4414. Shhhhh! I’ll never tell! Oh, and their mini-cupcakes were delicious and such a tiny tasty morsel, you don’t have to count those calories.

Why cook ever again?

Why cook ever again?

There was not one thing in the entire display that we didn’t rave about. We couldn’t possibly visit every single booth. I was bursting at the seams after a handful. We did, however, collect the cards of all the restaurants and will be working our way through the list. Remember, all participant donated their goods and labor. The heartfelt generosity for a good cause permeated the room.

Coming from Atenas, our foursome was delighted to learn the Vamos Gourmet folks, Dom and Angela Najab are located in our very own town. I will be doing an entire blog post on this catering company shortly. Hmmmm … could mean more sampling. (I’m doing the Happy Dance!)


Dom and Angela Najab from Vamos Gourmet in Atenas

We are lucky to have them nearby. With the Holiday Season coming up who better to cater your party? They have an international menu to choose from. I went to their booth because Lucas said we had to try their sausage. As I neared the table, an attractive bowl of Thai chicken beckoned me and I never did get to the sausage. Reason enough to hire them for our next party. As you can see, they are gregarious as well as talented!

Lynn and Lucas purchased a couple of vacation packages; one in Nicaragua and one in Manuel Antonio; such generous donations! I fell in love with an original watercolor by Charlsie Kelly: La Rana, a colorful frog that was calling my name. I was debating the purchase while Don hovered by the cashier’s table waiting for me to say “yay” or “nay”. While I was deliberating, two women approached the piece and I overheard one say: “I really like that. I think I’ll buy it.” I waved my arms frantically, signaled a thumbs-up to Don and mouthed: “Buy!” The lady who was speaking about buying it caught the energy, whipped her head in my direction and pursed her lips. I smiled: “Sorry, it’s sold.” I think she wanted to call me a ‘female dog’, but retained her composure and said: “You have good taste.” I’m telling you; this is a classy event! No hair-pulling here, no siree.


Rita DeVore and Jerry Ledine, the cheerful cashiers!items

As most of the fabulous donated items had been sold, it was announced that donations of $100 would be allowed, no purchase necessary. The cashiers were busy processing the formidable group that stepped up to this suggestion. The president of SASY, Diana Holder, took the microphone, explained why the money was needed and where it did the most good. The people who worked on this event and who continue serving this cause throughout the year deserve a big “Hat’s Off!”

SASY president, Diana Holder

SASY president, Diana Holder

Well deserved kudos were given, detailed explanations of why this cause is worthy were recited, and we were then treated to the final surprise: THE BAND! I had no idea. Never having been to this event, I envisioned us staying for an hour and then going to a FUN place to dance. Well! We didn’t have to go anywhere. SASY has it all. We danced. We sang along. Meanwhile, while Lynn and I were getting wine re-fills, Don came back to the table carrying two loaves of bread. “Bread? You have bread? Where did you get bread?” I asked.

“Well, Lucas had bread. (We all crave good bread, having been spoiled on San Francisco Sourdough) so I thought we should have some, too.”

I raised my eyebrows and went to the dance floor. On the way home, I got the munchies, and ripped into the bread bag. Oh my, my, my! It is heavenly bread baked by angels. I’m sure of it. In fact, it came from La Toscana in Escazu. I’m glad I danced and danced to the music of The Acoustix, because I ate half a loaf of bread on the way home.

The Acoustix!

The Acoustix!

We didn’t want the party to end, so we went to the Lobby Bar and had martinis! The roof-top bar I’ve heard so much about  is closed on Sundays. We must return to the Sheraton soon to experience the roof-top bar, which has all the markings of the true party-town, South Beach, Miami. We’ll probably have to book a room and stay over. While sipping our dirty martinis, Lynn taught the bartender, Christian, how to make Bloody Marys ala Lynn (nobody does it better).  Somebody in our group, namely my level-headed hubby, Don, had the good sense to say it was time to go home.

I will put the SASY fundraiser on our calendar for next year as soon as the committee chooses a date. For a good time and a worthy cause, I suggest YOU do the same. See y’all there!

9 thoughts on “Classy SASY!

  1. sounds like a grand time was had by all!!! Would love to share the rooftop dining (and drinking!) experience with you guys and L y L!!!!!!


  2. What an amazing time you had! It sounds very sophisticated and not at all like a Costa Rican gathering, nice to know you can still get a taste of stateside goodies. Enjoy your frog and your bread, oh and those cigars…I like Donny’s way of saying how they were rolled, yep, that’s the story to keep!


  3. Loved this Carole! I go to a lot of fundraisers and they are fun. (I don’t go for animals, sorry – you’ll have to chat with Lynda Thurman for animal interest). But lots of other good causes. So I enjoyed your wonderful food and drink stories…..But most especially I LOVED the choos/shoes!!!! Cute and same with the dress!


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