After a grueling weekend of two marathons, you’d think I’d be ridiculously sore and barely able to walk… but that’s not the case! Monday morning I woke up with about the level of soreness I normally have after just one marathon, which was a huge improvement over how I felt Saturday morning after the brutal downhill in Salt Lake City. Still, I planned to take a rest this weekend, and what better way to do that than with a day trip to the beach?
I had been wanting to do a beach day trip for quite some time, but Boyfriend was really down on it. He said it was a long way to go for just a few hours in the sun, and that he preferred to just drive out to Long Island. However, I countered with the argument that it would take almost as long to drive out to Long Island as to hop on a plane to Florida, we wouldn’t be able to drink if we had to drive back, the beaches were nicer in Florida, and hey, it’s free and we can! With those logical arguments, Boyfriend agreed to at least give it a try.
Of course, when you have an early morning flight, there’s no better way to prepare then to go for a late night of drinking! Boyfriend’s favorite barista at Starbucks is a blues singer, and was performing at Hill Country, this awesome barbecue place in the Flatiron District. The setup of Hill Country is pretty cool. When you go in, they give you a little card with check boxes on it. While you have a server to bring you drinks, the food is all self-serve at little buffet stations around the room, and the attendants at the stations just mark off your card with what you take. I enjoyed some barbecue chicken and then some of the most delicious sides I’ve had: Longhorn cheddar mac and cheese, beer braised cowboy pinto beans, white shoepeg corn pudding, and sweet potato bourbon mash. Amazing! Also amazing were the drinks, which included Sweet Tea Vodka and the Hill Country Cooler (Tito’s handmade vodka, triple sec, and Tang). To top it all off, drinks were half off after 10 PM (when we got there), and because they had extra meat that was going to go to waste at the end of the night, they loaded up our plates but only charged us for a single portion. I know what time to get there in the future! Stumbling to bed that night, I was sure that Boyfriend and I would oversleep and miss our flight and he would win the battle to avoid the day trip. But when the alarm went off at 5 AM, we got our butts out of bed, and after a quick stop at Starbucks, we were on our way to JFK.
After a quick two hour flight (I read, Boyfriend slept), we reached Sarasota. It took a while to grab our rental car, unfortunately. At the risk of sounding like a snob, I was annoyed that I have preferred service which is supposed to allow me to just grab my keys and go because I have a presigned contract… but the agent took all the other people first, which entailed 10 minutes of contract signing for each one. It was so frustrating to see our beach time slipping away when I could see the keys on the peg with my name on them and contract attached! I tried to just look at my watch to hopefully clue the agent in (especially since I was standing in the preferred service line), but he was oblivious, and I didn’t want to raise a fuss. Heading out to the beach, we were further delayed when we had trouble finding parking. But finally, FINALLY we made it.
Boyfriend wanted to start off the day with a drink, an idea I wholeheartedly supported because I wanted to have a drink while at the beach but also needed to make sure I was sober to drive later that day. Happening upon a little outdoor tiki bar not too far from our parking spot, we headed in and found…
Heaven. Absolute heaven. You know those slushy machines at gas stations that were around? This bar was lined with about 15 of them behind the bar, each of a different color/flavor and with a different bottle of alcohol sitting in front of the machine. The drinks were already spiked, but the extra alcohol bottle was just to top it off – fabulous. Asking the opinion of the bartender, both of decided to sample the Deck Diesel, a combination of vodka, Everclear, and creamsicle-flavored slush. Sounds strong? Oh, it was – Boyfriend was pretty tanked after just one (and he’s no lightweight), and I declared myself done after it. But the best part was that it was so delicious and sweet and tasty – there was no taste of alcohol! We hereby declared it our favorite frozen drink we’ve ever had, and that’s saying something giving our penchant for pina coladas.
After finishing our initial drinks, we both couldn’t resist having one more – I figured with 6 hours and plenty of food before driving, I’d still be okay to have a second drink. This time, we opted for a blend of multiple flavors (already suggested on the menu). I tried a combination of the banana slider (coconut rum, creme de banana, irish cream, coconut milk, and pineapple juice, topped with amaretto) and the green parrot (sweet mango and tropical juices, mango rum, melon liquor, and blue curacao topped with mango rum). So amazingly delicious!!! I can’t even tell you. I need to get all those ingredients and start making these on a nightly basis.
After our second drink, I definitely declared myself done, but Boyfriend wanted a drink to take to the beach. To get around the open container laws, the bar had an interesting option: buy a “coolie” (insulated waterbottle) and fill it up with one of the two flavors of non-alcoholic slushy. Then, buy a packet of vodka (looks very similar to a Gu). If you walk out of the bar with the virgin drink and the sealed packet of alcohol, well then, they did nothing wrong and what you do with the two things after is entirely up to you!
The beach was stunningly gorgeous, as expected. Siesta Key is ranked one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and though I had told Boyfriend this, he was still shocked by how powdery white the sand is and the bathwater-like temperature of the Caribbean. We mostly spent the afternoon in the water, though we did lie out in the sun as well, and the hours until we had to head back to the airport passed all too quickly. Debriefing on the way to the airport, we agreed that I had been a bit overly optimistic about how great day trips to the beach are, whereas Boyfriend had underestimated how much fun they could be. We concluded that it was a nice little jaunt and something to consider if we’re stressed out and need to get away, but not something we’d do every weekend. On the plus side, we both agreed that it made the weekend feel much longer because we got to go on a vacation and still have a day to relax at home!
By 6:30 PM, we were on the flight back to New York, and were back in Boyfriend’s apartment by 10 PM. Tanned, relaxed, and tired (in a good way), we opted for a nice quiet evening of Chinese takeout and some TV before an early Saturday night bedtime. Best way to recover the weekend after back-to-back marathons? I think so!