There's been so much talk about pressed juice lately that we'd almost forgotten about how good a bunch of fresh ingredients whirred around in the blender can taste. With the farmers' markets in full bloom, we decided to visit a few of L.A.'s casual cafes to see what frothy or frosty concoctions were on the menu.]
5. Banana Buzz at Mojo
Mojo is a relatively new coffee shop and cafe on Beverly Boulevard inside the Easton Gym, just down the street from Cook's County. In addition to sandwiches, salads and Blue Bottle coffee, the shop offers blended drinks – like the Banana Buzz – that are popular with the post-dead lift crowd. Bananas and almond milk form a protein-rich base to which a shot of Blue Bottle cold brew is added. TCHO chocolate adds a bittersweet note ($8). 8051 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Grove; (323) 651-3636.
4. Maca Me Nuts at Clover Juice
It's easy to miss the smoothies on Clover Juice's menu – the shop's brightly colored juices tend to be more in-your-face appetizing. But there's a new smoothie on the menu this month. The Maca Me Nuts starts with a frothy blend of house-made peanut butter, maca root, banana and almond milk. That mixture is then poured into a cup over a splash of fresh strawberry puree for a drinkable version of peanut butter and jelly ($8.50). 342 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City; (323) 609-3903.[
3. Coconut-Black Tea-Keffir Lime at Cafe Demitasse
It's easy to look beyond the superb cold brew, expertly pulled shots and single origin pour over coffee at Cafe Demitasse in Santa Monica (the flagship location is downtown). But don't miss the specialty drinks. The Coconut-Black Tea- Keffir Lime blend is surprisingly rich, but manages to be perky too, thanks to a fresh squeeze of floral Keffir lime and a cup of strong black tea ($5). 1149 3rd St. #100, Santa Monica; (310) 260-6308.
2. Taro Tea at Pine & Crane
Pine & Crane's traditional Taiwanese offerings easily outshine their beverages, but if you head there for lunch or dinner, do try the taro tea. It's stirred – not blended – but so much creamier than your average iced tea thanks to the starch that steeps out from the added bits of taro. Bonus: it will cool your tongue after one too many bites of chili-laced noodles ($3.75). 1521 Griffith Park Blvd., Silver Lake; (323) 668-1128.
1. Strawberry Tomato Basil Smoothie at Stamp Proper Foods
At the newly opened health food-centric Stamp Proper Foods in Los Feliz, co-owner Catherine Baker sweetens her Strawberry Tomato Basil smoothie with dates (musky) and goji berries (tart), which means it's not sticky-sweet. The frosty concoction is cooling, and creamy without being rich ($8.50). 4500 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Feliz; (323) 953-5181.