San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Longtime Baker Opens Tearoom in Escazú

Lovers of homebaked North American-style cookies, pecan pies, carrot cake, brownies, Boston-style bagels and cheesecake will be delighted to learn that a new tearoom, Robin’s Kitchen, or La Cocina de Robin, opened its doors in May in the western San José suburb of Escazú.

With its original red tile floors and thick adobe walls decorated with the work of local artists, this little tearoom with its homey atmosphere and excellent fare is a refreshing new addition to Escazú Centro. The menu is extensive, the food delicious, the service excellent and the ambience relaxing.

Breakfast and light lunches of lasagna, quiche, soups and salads are served here, or you can order takeout and enjoy delicious homemade fare at home without the cooking.

Owner Robin Emigh, from upstate New York in the United States, has lived in South and Central America for 28 years. A single mother with two children, she chose to stay at home and use her considerable baking skills to earn her living.

Initially she baked from home and sold to friends. However, a contract with Price-Smart stores enabled Emigh to go commercial in 2000.

“This was a steep learning curve for me,” she acknowledges. “PriceSmart wanted 20 of each item, packed, labeled and with bar codes.”

Money being tight, Emigh made her own cake boxes out of cardboard, spending her spare time cutting, folding and stapling the boxes together. With the help of her children, she designed a logo, which she color-photocopied, cut out and glued on all her product boxes.

Emigh and her staff of four women worked Monday to Friday, eight hours a day, and, with the help of friends who came in to assist with baking, packaging and delivering, she achieved it all. By late November 2000, she was supplying three PriceSmart locations out of her home kitchen.

After three months, she decided she needed more space, and so began several years of leasing, renovating and working from commercial buildings. Tired of renting, Emigh decided to buy her own place in 2006.

The typical old adobe building in Escazú Centro struck her immediately as the right place for her.

Customers can relax in comfortable cushioned cane chairs, enjoying a cup of coffee and a snack while they visit with friends, read a book from Emigh’s exchange library or take advantage of the wireless Internet connection to work on their laptops. Glasstopped, metal dining tables provide seating for eight diners inside the main area. A further six can be accommodated on the closed-in veranda.

Breakfasts range from ¢850 ($1.50) for two scrambled eggs to ¢1,335 ($2.40) for two eggs and ham. Boston-style bagels are ¢300 ($0.50) for a small and ¢500 ($0.90) for a large. A bowl of filling soup and a salad cost from ¢1,200 to ¢1,800 ($2.20 to $3.30), while quiches with salad are ¢1,100 to ¢2,600 ($2 to $4.70). A simple salad costs ¢500 while a large salad, a meal in itself, of chicken with apple or feta cheese with spinach, costs about ¢2,950 ($5.40).

On the sweet side, two- and three-layer cakes, all beautifully iced, are sold whole or by the slice, ranging in price from ¢2,760 ($5) for a small banana loaf to ¢6,955 ($13) for a twolayer iced chocolate cake and ¢8,685 ($16) for a large three-layer cake. Pies, such as pumpkin, pecan and crumbly apple, start at ¢5,500 ($10) and a six-inch cheesecake is ¢8,300 ($15). Christmas cookies and cakes will be available closer to the holiday season.

Robin’s Kitchen

Location: From La Paco commercial center on the old road to Santa Ana, turn left and take the left fork up the hill toward Escazú Centro. Turn left at the cemetery and go 300 meters; Robin’s Kitchen is on the left.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Phone: 2228-3407, 8382-4412,

Robin’s Kitchen has wireless Internet connection, wheelchair access, a book exchange library, and local artwork on sale. Orders for special occasions are taken.


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