The Bionico Man

I can see it now: Scouring the ashen urban landscape of a postapocalyptic city, I dart from hiding place to hiding place, desperate for scraps of food or any signs of life. Facing delirium and the prospect of absolute solitude, I trudge on, clinging to a false hope of life and rebirth somewhere past the horizon, like the father and son in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, when, suddenly, I realize that in this new gray world there are no more watermelons or pineapples, to say nothing of raisins, coconut or Mexican sweet cream. That’s probably when I’d just give up on life and hurl myself into the radioactive L.A. River. You see, watermelons and pineapples are key ingredients in the bionico, a sort of Mexican fruit cocktail made to luscious perfection at Placita Café, a juice bar in Chinatown across from historic Olvera Street. The bionico consists of diced watermelon, pineapple, melon, papaya and strawberries topped with shaved coconut, raisins, chunks of granola and a generous wash of fresh Mexican sweet cream. Isabel, a Placita employee, tells me the cream is made fresh on the spot and is a mix of plain yogurt, two kinds of condensed milk, cinnamon and honey. I like to substitute banana for the papaya, and my Placita homegirl Daisy is always willing to accommodate. The dish is a mouthwatering, energizing concoction that goes well with the Placita’s frothy, cinnamon-smoked café mexicano. You’ll need that extra caffeine boost to dig for those precious postapocalypse watermelon seeds.

711 N. Main St., Chinatown, (213) 620-0774.

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