Coffee Shop Review: Lucky Llama Coffee

I am a bit of a coffee snob, and nothing makes me happier than a quaint little cafe whose baristas know how to brew a good cup of joe. Let me say, I was one lucky llama to stumble upon this place several weeks ago.

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“Backyard” Bowls

Emma here again. With only two days of summer left and a quiet afternoon with nothing to do, I thought that I might as well get another blog post in. Once school starts, most of these rare afternoons will be unfortunately spent doing homework. This posting is about one of my favorite inventions ever – well, I didn’t invent it, but I was able to recreate it pretty well at home. A couple of years back after a swim meet in Santa Barbara, my friend Bethany introduced me to Backyard Bowls, an unassuming smoothie shop next to Santa Barbara Roasting Co. in downtown Santa Barbara. What could be better than a thick smoothie topped with granola and wayyyy too much honey? Nothing can beat it, especially on hot summer days, coming or going from the beach. Every time we make the trip 30 minutes north up to SB, my dad (the acai monster) and I have to make a pitstop at Backyard Bowls. Our addiction got so bad that I started shrieking one day when we were at Lassens, a local health food store, and I saw Sambazon acai packets in the frozen section. At $7.19 for 4 small packets (2 make a large bowl), they are definitely not cheap; this usually means that dad, not mom, has to be the grocery shopper in order to get them. They make heavenly, quazi-healthy treats, almost as good as Backyard Bowls.

Here are our adapted acai bowls. I will give several variations/add-ins to suit everyone’s palate.

To make the smoothie part:

  • 2 Sambazon acai packets (unsweetened)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • a large handful of other frozen berries
  • a dash of apple juice (to add sweetness and aid the blending)

Several optional additions include:

  • frozen mango (highly recommended!)
  • substitute almond milk or coconut milk for the apple juice (my favorite way, makes it a little creamier and a little less sweet – dad and sister prefer apple juice though)
  • flaxseed or chia seeds
  • scoop of protein powder (I use vanilla flavored hemp protein) This makes it a little thicker too!

This recipe makes one large bowl or two smaller ones. Once everything is blended, pour puree into a bowl and add none, some, or all of the following toppings:

  • granola
  • chopped almonds or pecans
  • coconut
  • chocolate chips (my mom’s favorite)
  • sliced bananas and strawberries
  • goji berries (the new superfood! and quite tasty)
  • honey (Olivia loves this part!)
  • a dash of yogurt (European style Straus is my pick)

Backyard Bowls has several options as to ingredients and toppings. My dad and sister love the Berry Bowl – simple acai, banana, berries, and apple juice topped with granola, goji berries, banana, strawberries, and honey. I love the Island Bowl and Green Bowl. The Island Bowl is made with mango and coconut milk on top of the basic blend and topped with granola, coconut, bananas, and honey of course. The Green Bowl blends veggies, ginger, and lime into the acai base and is topped with granola and honey. I always add yogurt to my bowls.

I hope you enjoy this delicious dish as much as we do. If you have ideas about possible additions or toppings, let us know!