This article was supposed to wait until August: what better time to talk about cold and refreshing drinks? But the humidity has been so oppressive the past couple of weeks that it seems the dog days of summer have come a bit early, and I’ve found myself drinking more smoothies than ever.
The great thing about smoothies in the hot weather is not just that they’re cold. Their liquid form is very easy to digest, so you don’t get that bloated food coma feeling while it’s already creeping on 80 percent humidity. They’re a great way to squeeze in servings of fruit and veggies (especially leafy greens), and they’re super easy to modify if you have dietary restrictions or intolerances (Hint: great ice cream replacement for the dairy-free crowd). Lots of Islanders favor smoothies as a quick-grab breakfast to sip on while stuck in traffic at the drawbridge. I’m a fan of the smoothie as an afternoon snack, a blood sugar and vitamin booster late in the day when I feel like crashing.
I recently bought a new blender. I splurged and got a Ninja, an impressive stack of whirling blades that could chop, process, pulse, or purée a diamond. I’ve been making all kinds of delicious treats. (My favorite: coconut milk, almond milk, a banana, almond butter, and a scoop of Not Your Sugar Mamas Be Cozy chocolate powder). The only problem with the blender is it appears to have a violent streak. Those samurai blades have already hacked my fingers to shreds on several occasions, and I’ve become rather wary of it.
For my own safety I’ve decided I’m only allowed to use (and wash) the blender under adult supervision. At the very least, with someone nearby to either drive me to the hospital or call an ambulance.
Luckily, we have so many great smoothie spots around the Island, I can get my fix while I learn how to fight a Ninja.
Blissed Out: When I told a certain Editor-in-Chief the price range of smoothies at Blissed Out, ($8-15) he exclaimed “What do you get, a puréed Filet Mignon?” That would be gross of course, but he was correct in assuming you pay for exceptional quality here. All the juices and smoothies are not only fresh, but made exclusively from organic, vegan ingredients that are free of dairy, gluten, and refined sugar. Try replacing your coffee with the “Mocha Maca Mashup” for an extra energy boost. Main Street, Vineyard Haven, or at the “Bliss Bus” at Eden on State Road, Vineyard Haven.
Not Your Sugar Mamas: While we’re on the topic of dairy, gluten, refined sugar free superfoods, it’s necessary to give a shout-out to Not Your Sugar Mamas in both Vineyard Haven and Edgartown. This year, they began delivering fruit smoothies and dairy free “milkshakes” that are just sweet enough, and remarkably good for you. I like the Chocolate Almond Bliss: raw cacao, almond butter, coconut, cashews, dates, and coconut water. The dates sweeten things up, and the cashews blend into a rich creamy texture. $13.95. Beach Road in Vineyard Haven; Winter Street in Edgartown.
Tisberry: Traditional fruit and yogurt smoothies are the obvious choice at this froyo hotspot, but the dairy isn’t a must. They recently converted their other smoothies into almond milk blends. I usually enjoy a veggie boost with the refreshing, gingery Nobnocket Nectar, but lately I’ve been eying the PB&J smoothie: Strawberry, raspberry, banana, peanut butter, almond milk, and apple juice. Woah. Prices range from about $5.95 to $6.95. Cromwell Lane, Vineyard Haven.
Y Cafe: Sweet and simple, the Y Cafe at the YMCA of M.V. in Oak Bluffs offers few smoothie choices, but they do each well. The best part about the Y is its convenient location in a traffic-free zone near the roundabout. The cafe is open to the public, and it’s a great spot to stop if you’re not quite headed into any town. Plus, they make healthy post-workout snacks. The strawberry banana blends fruit with yogurt and soy milk, as does the tropical blend, which is a combo of banana, pineapple, mango, and orange. $5 for a small, $7 for a large. Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs.
Morning Glory: The farmstand at Morning Glory no longer hosts its smoothie bar, but fret not, they are bottling smoothies (and juices) for the super-on-the-run. Using ingredients inspired by the seasonal harvest, mixed with organic yogurt and milk, and a banana to hold it all together, the staff at Morning Glory delivers the freshest bottled smoothies around (so ditch those Naked bottled sludges). Right now they are offering strawberry and nectarine, peach, and pear flavors. They also hope to revive their popular Green and Good smoothie soon: banana, strawberry, kale, and cucumber or orange juice. $6.95 pint. Meshacket Road, Edgartown.
Tocco Puro: Remember that talk about a smoothie as breakfast? Tocco Puro in Edgartown does it perfectly with their “Morning Smoothie.” It comes in a variety of flavors, but central to every Morning Smoothie is oats and protein powder, which will fill up even the heartiest bacon and eggs fan for only $5.95. South Water Street, Edgartown.
Beetlebung: There are a lot of great smoothies using coffee out there, but Beetlebung (in Oak Bluffs and Menemsha) has realized the perfect pairing for a real fruit smoothie is green tea. It’s crisp, refreshing, and blends into organic lowfat yogurt or soy milk surprisingly well. Choose from strawberry, strawberry-banana, mango, or mango-banana. $5.26 for a small; $5.79 for a large. Basin Road, Menemsha, or Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs.
Espresso Love: Like the two aforementioned cafes, Espresso Love is known for their coffee drinks, but they also offer up three styles of fresh fruit smoothies, all priced at $6.50. Their green smoothie blends baby spinach, banana, apple, almonds, and almond milk, but you can skip the leafy greens for a berry or peach smoothie, too. Church Street, Edgartown.
I also encourage you to practice the ancient art of smoothie-making at home. Just remember to keep calm in the face of danger and never, ever, lose sight of your opponent under a sinkful of soapy water.