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Drink This Now

Drink This Now: Shakes at Orean the Health Express

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Mon, May 14, 2012 at 10:27 AM
click to enlarge cappuccino-vanilla shake at Orean - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • cappuccino-vanilla shake at Orean

A missing comma and a forgotten "p" in the word "cappuccino" aren't the only omissions from the drive-thru menu at Orean the Health Express on Lake Avenue in Pasadena. While the menu itself says the vegetarian fast-food joint serves shake flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, chai, peanut butter, cappuccino and something called "strawbwerry," the most obvious error is not telling customers just how much better these soy-based vegan shakes taste when you add vanilla to every order.

The peanut butter flavor technically falls into the "shake" category, but there ain't a whole lot of shaking going on thanks to an initial density akin to pomade. However, if you want to avoid looking like a fool with a bent straw between your lips and peanut butter dribble on your chin, ask for half vanilla and you've got smooth, delicious shake in your mouth within an instant. This combo is, hands down, the absolute best item on the menu at Orean and will make you forget (or praise, depending on what side of the fence you sit on) that the shake is "nondairy."

We've all experienced the food orgy known as the chocolate/vanilla hybrid, so in theory this mix shouldn't be anywhere near the top of your Orean must-have list. However, you'd be wrong to shortchange the harmonious blending of black and white because it's so delicious that you'll forget all about those other shakes available at nearby abominations-masquerading-as-meals at McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Fatburger, Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles and Carl's Jr./Green Burrito.

Then there's the "strawbwerry" and vanilla duo, which is obviously lighter than the pb and chocolate flavors, but equally wonderful. In fact, if it's a shake you desire to beat the summer heat, you're probably gonna want to invest in whatever the hell a "strawbwerry" is.

But if you really want to go nuts, order a cappuccino/peanut butter/vanilla mix. This threesome is the ideal way to enjoy the cappuccino without having that lingering taste that tends to plague many coffee-based cold beverages. Thanks to the vanilla, the cappuccino is prominent yet not overpowering, while the peanut butter tastes good with damn near everything.

In fairness, these shakes don't need to be mixed because they stand on their own just fine, but when we can have two, why settle for one?

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