It’s so hard to keep that vacation feeling. That feeling that lets me linger in bed to read a book instead of jumping up to chase the alarm and caffeine. The smell of sunscreen, the sound of the ocean, the beauty that I don’t immediately need to Instagram. Clean sheets, card games, lazy laughs. It’s so good. It always feels like waaaaay more than I deserve, with a teeny-tiny sprinkle of something that I’ve earned, but really it’s just a big fat blessing.
I spent some quality time on a tiny stretch of beach on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica last week. Way more than I deserve. I learned a lot.
I learned a lot about sunsets and how to sit and enjoy them with surfers and beach dogs.
I also learned some how to survive the heat of the dry season in Costa Rica: liquids! For real. I spent the entire week flailing around in the waves with a surfboard tethered to my leg and developed a healthy thirst… totally undeserved based on my surfing skills, but healthy nonetheless.
One of my favorite smoothies of choice in Costa Rica was Bananas y Leche: a simple mixture of bananas and milk. Of course, because few things are just left to be as they are in my kitchen… of course I added coffee and chocolate.
This smoothie is just what I needed to help that vacation feeling linger a bit. The cancelled flights and rushed airports can really harsh the vacation buzz. Nothing a little Banana, Leche y Cafe con Chocolate can’t help! I mean… right?
We stayed in a beautiful house that was indoors and out. The walls were bamboo. Monkeys liked to linger outside. Awesome and AAHHHH!!
Also, that pineapple was part food and part room fragrance. Beyond!
Down the hall, far and away.
Late breakfasts at Zwart Cafe, where the pineapple cilantro smoothies would make any juice-loving Californian want to weep just a little. They were that good.
Art and surfboards at Zwart Cafe because…. duh!
We bought super fresh fish from a market and restaurant called Product C.
They buy fresh every morning from the local fishermen, clean the fish up right, serve really lovely fish bowls with brown rice, and have ceviche flavored with just the right amount of dill. All worth the little bit of snark you might receive from the chef when you order.
We roasted a fresh Red Snapper, made brown rice, and a spicy caper and garlic tomato sauce.
It was the best meal of the trip due mostly to the fact that the fish was straight from the ocean (and I’m an awesome cook) (and really really humble).
A hike through rocks and shade to Montezuma Falls.
I know you only live once but I still didn’t jump.
If only I took the time to make this colorful, well-diced, and juicy a breakfast everyday. Also… more bread baskets please!
Hanging vines and purple petals.
Dogs everywhere in Costa Rica! Some with owners. Some strays.
This dog attached herself to us. We named her Low Tide and she liked to guard me while I watched my friends surf. She also followed us home and chased away spawning Halloween Crabs. I dunno… there was a lot of nature happening!
The last sunset with pinks and purples and silhouettes. The last before the airport dash and passport panic (I always think I’m going to lose that dang thing mid-trip!).
Back home and back in the mix! It’s weird and cool to come home to a new home in New Orleans. It feels like an extra vacation and that at some point I’ll have to make my way back to California.
Until I settle and adjust, I’m going to stack banana, milk, a dash of honey, coffee, and chocolate in my blender.
I’ll extend the vacation flavors as long as I can. I’d also like to extend the rather pathetic tan I acquired. Here’s hoping.
This drink exists somewhere in the world between a smoothie and a milkshake. It’s definitely rich with bananas and milk. It has hints of breakfast with the addition of coffee. Chocolate just makes the whole dang thing totally over the top.
This smoothie is the perfect refresher after a morning spent flopping around in the waves trying not to embarrass myself. The trying not to embarrass myself part of the trip was actually the most challenging. This smoothie serves as a necessary and delicious reminder.
Banana, Leche y Cafe con Chocolate
makes 2 drinks
5 ice cubes (mine were medium in size)
2 small ripe bananas, sliced
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped dark chocolate
2 tablespoons used coffee grounds
2 tablespoons lukewarm coffee
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup cold milk
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and well combined, about 3 minutes. Add more ice or more milk to create your desired consistency. Divide between two glasses and enjoy immediately.