Siepre Trabajando - Always-working Sarah, Jonathan, and Susie work on tour details at Canoa Beach Hotel

Siempre Trabajando – Always-working Susie, Jonathan, and Sarah work on tour details at Canoa Beach Hotel

Feb. 01, 2014 – Ecuador

As travels took me to Guayaquil, I’ve been preoccupied about the high tides at the petite fishing village of El Matal, home to many friends who surely feel helpless against the devastating high tides.   Torn between the sobering reality that they’re facing and the positive interaction with a new tour group, I’m planted in Guayaquil and ready to embrace the upcoming week.  A part of me is also planted on the front line at El Matal’s vanishing malecon.

What will this beach look like when morning arrives?

What will be left of this beach when morning arrives?

Jonathan Hall of Ecuador Expat Journeys sent an itinerary on Friday, as I will soon be meeting the newest tour arriving at the Guayaquil airport.   He stated where we’ll be spending Sunday night, where dinner will be, and added there will be a Super Bowl party for those who are interested.

Ecuador Expat Journeys - Coastal Tour

Ecuador Expat Journeys – Coastal Tour

Super Bowl?  I knew there was one approaching, but I did not know who was playing or when!  Super Bowl Party?   Should I wear ‘artist’s black’ and be neutral? I mentioned my dilemma to a few friends via email, and they replied with several great crash course summaries:

Quarterback. Set NFL record
For touchdowns this year.
Denver has the best offense
Seattle gas the best defense / they are tough and young

From Colorado: “…You would not believe the Superbowl hype here.  Denver is in it so it is nonstop interviews, orange and blue outfits, superbowl parties, more interviews and wagers…”

How well I remember witnessing the waves' power at Playa San Miguel Costa Rica...

How well I remember witnessing the waves’ power at Playa San Miguel Costa Rica…  El Matal has few trees to help stop the devastation.

Through this, I searched the online periodicals for information about the coastal disasters and considered the contrasts between festive celebrations for a sport vs the sobering reality of watching your home and the front line of a village wash to sea, one crashing wave at a time.    I continued to feel a bit like someone who cancels a party because of a death of a loved one.  How can one be in a festive mood when friends are witnessing the ocean’s wrath?  Was I over reacting?  No news is good news?  I ran errands and returned to my hotel room. There were no messages about the coastal damage;  Penny Howe’s post came through with a title, “Coffee Up” – Catchy title, and I smiled to know that I’d actually be able to pull up her post and read it now that I’m plugged into city internet!

I wasn’t expecting a Super Bowl slant to her post, but the thought of parties and coffee made me think about some images from my files…

Surprise, surprise!  Getting those beans out of their thick skinned jackets is not an easy task!

Surprise, surprise! Getting those beans out of their thick skinned jackets is not an easy task!

I never appreciated or understood how much time that a hands-on coffee harvest demands!

"ES- Be Part of it!"  Manta

“ES- Be Part of it!” Manta

I’ve seen the behind-the-scenes work at the ESCoffee headquarters in Guayaquil, but I had never spent time on a coffee plantation to experience the growers’ life.  I am working with Miguel Rendon, CEO of ESCoffee,  on plans for a new coffee tour as well as new coffee recipes for the website.  It pleases me to see others singing praises of ESCoffee!

Luchy whips up many fruit drinks as well as cafe specialties!

Luchy whips up many fruit drinks as well as cafe specialties at Palo Santo Cafe in Jama Ecuador!  He was proud to display the ESCoffee and said that he really liked using it!

Sometimes my attempts in the kitchen are true flops – like trying to fry tiny wild green tomatoes! The outside batter sloughed off the slippery skins! Substituting naranjillos was a flop as well – talk about super sour fried greenish orange orbs – those culinary delicacies sailed over the balcony as fish food!

Although I won’t be cooking anything for the next four days while with the tour, I did have success using coffee as an unusual culinary spice that always surprises my friends.  They look at me with distrust, yet they trust – and they are always surprised at the coffee-marinade experiment!


ESCoffee (freeze dried), garlic and limon mandarina

“Girlfriend, I’m not sure about this,” Marie said, yet when the experiments were finished, she was pleased with the results.


Mince and smash the garlic into a paste.. add to coffee/limon mixture.   Hmmm..

“I’m going to try this on my family and not tell them what they’re eating!  They’ll never guess!”  – Silvana of Restaurant Exclusivo in Jama.

Salt to taste

Salt to taste


Coat fish fillets - or chicken or beef or pork!

Coat fish fillets – or chicken or beef or pork!

Sear ‘ala plancha’ on a hot grill/skillet much like a blackened entree. Garnish with limon.


The pan was first seasoned with sauteed onion, and the fish was dropped into the hot skillet after the onions were removed. At the last minute, the onions were returned to the skillet.

Normal instant ground coffee works as well, but I prefer the freeze-dried flakes.

Penny wrote back with detailed color information about each team.  She closed with, “Both excellent teams. Either one could win the Super Bowl! As far as the colors go I think the Seahawk’s are snazzier!”

Maybe I’ll stumble upon a shirt with several colors of blue, and I’ll stay neutral during the game!  No, I’ll watch and enjoy seeing the best of the best and will pull for the players that are top of their sport and use honorable sportsmanship.  And then there will be food… What’s on your Superbowl menu?   What unique culinary items have crossed your palate lately?

From Guayaquil Ecuador,


PS – News just in – No way I’m going to sleep;  downloading images and videos from friends at El Matal.  See next post.  Z