E, This Is For You…NICARAGUA
*E, girl, this one is for you! For being my self-proclaimed and Kitty Kat-proclaimed #1 fan, I owe you this much–one post–for your unwavering loyalty.*
Hola! It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve been back from Nicaragua, but I’ve only just recovered from the trip’s cumulative food comas. After you read this post and see my pictures, you will understand why I’ve been missing for so long. There was just too much 4-lobsters-in-a-day type madness that I barely made it through the trip without buying a new wardrobe.
So a little bit about my “spring break”…
It was mother )*(@#$)(*W)#$ amazing! We spent the first few days in Corn Islands, which meant that we took a flimsy plane from Managua across a little stretch of the Atlantic Ocean to Great Corn Island. The airstrip was made of gravel. Yes, gravel. And yes, I’m glad we survived. The beaches were gorgeous with very few visitors. The food was fantastic. The people were nice. The island time wasn’t too island-y. And, George, our taxi driver-turned-friend was the man. Never had lobster like I had at Habana Libre (Little Corn Island). Key words: snorkeling, dance party, coral (in a naughty someone’s foot), coconut bread, boat-ferry-my-@$&, beach beach beach.
After leaving Corn Islands, Christine and I spent a lovely half-day in Granada, and luckily that’s all the time we needed to explore this historical little city. Don’t ask me about the history, I have not a clue! But…the buildings were super colorful and Spanish-y. The food was delicious (but of course) and iced cacao is oral heaven. We even squished in some zip-lining as a treat.
Our next and last stop was gorgeous Isla de Ometepe, which consists of two connecting active volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. Sounds sexy, huh? YES IT WAS. The ferry ride to the volcanic island mirrored the movements of a roller coaster, but we made it there safe, sound, and soaked. We met 3 guys on the ferry, 2 of whom biked down to Nicaragua from Canada. That’s north of the states! That’s intense. That’s sweaty. That’s crazy and incredibly admirable. Christine and I aren’t so adventurous, to say the least. Our most epic adventure was riding on the back of some random guy’s motor bike (for free) to get to the starting point of a 3 km long hike up one of the volcanoes to a refreshing waterfall followed by an hour long hike in the dark back to our hotel. How tired were we? Buffet for dinner.
On our last day, we traveled back to Granada to try the steak at the very popular El Zaguan, which we didn’t have time to try on our half-day. After eating some of the best steak I’ve ever had in my life, we hopped on a mini bus back to Managua to catch our early morning flight. The things we do for food…
Lobster: On every menu at every restaurant on the island. The lobster industry is one of the strongest for the islands, and I appreciated every little bit of it. Lobster in Garlic Sauce and Lobster Cuban-Style were my two favorite ways to enjoy the crustaceans. On one glorious day, the lobster demons took over my body, and I ate four lobster by myself (#fattykat).
Whole Fish: Like lobster, on every menu at every restaurant on the island. I loved the fried style the mostest. I also tried it baked and stuff, which I successfully tried to recreate when I got back to NY.
Ceviche: Throughout the trip, I tried conch ceviche, shrimp ceviche, lobster ceviche, and fish ceviche. Not tired of it at all! I loved the lobster ceviche at our hotel in Great Corn Island, as well as the fish ceviche from a little place on Isla de Ometepe. The conch ceviche just couldn’t live up to the incredibly fresh and sweetconch salad I had in the Bahamas.
Pan de Coco: We had an epic journey looking for coconut bread on Great Corn Island with a local leading us to someone’s house where we ended up buying 2 freshly baked loaves of carb-y heaven.
Tostones: Fried plantains came with every meal on Corn Islands, and I always greeted them with a smile and a fork. The tostones at every meal were perfect. It’s such a staple in the local food culture that everyone knows how to make them and make them GOOD.
Breakfast: Nicaraguans are big on the huevos (eggs) and gallo pinto (rice and beans), as well as panqueques (pancakes) and other western-style breakfast dishes. My favorite breakfast was at a popular and touristy spot called Kathy’s Waffle House. Yes, the name of a very authentically Nicaraguan restaurant, right? Don’t hate. Everything we had was delicious, from the gallo pinto to the fried cheese to the fresh pineapple milkshake.
Steak (with Chimichurri): BEST STEAK EVER! I’ve never had steak with chimichurri, let alone steak so juicy and tender and wonderful and drool-inducing. There was probably butter or some kind of oil painted on top, because it was just a gorgeous and beautiful-tasting piece of meat. *MUST EXERT SELF-CONTROL. MUST NOT GO TO KITCHEN WHILE WRITING AND CRAVING STEAK. MUST NOT BE SUCH A CARNIVOROUS FATTY.*
Cacao: I tried this drink by way of meeting Nick–a medical student currently working in Nicaragua. Christine and I met him while zip-lining in Granada and followed his group to El Zaguan (that ridiculously yummy steak restaurant I mentioned earlier). We were still full from breakfast at Kathy’s, so we settled for some drinks á la Nick’s recommendation. This iced chocolate drink was frothy and grainy in a great way. “Grainy” is a weird adjective, but it’s the best I have! Didn’t seem like there was any added sugar, which made the bevvy incredibly refreshing and natural tasting.