There are lilacs, sunshine, and terrible drivers everywhere — it’s finally starting to feel like spring. The second the warmth of summerish sun hits my face, all I can think about are fruity frozen drinks. I decided to throw on a sundress and go out to make that dream a reality, but then actual reality hit when my winter weight prevented my summer dress from fitting. It would be a little while before I let myself have that frozen piña colada topped with whipped cream and a cherry.
I had heard a new juice bar moved into the Not Your Sugar Mama’s location in Vineyard Haven, so I figured I would head there to satisfy my frothy drink craving without consuming all the calories. As it turns out, I was able to satisfy all sorts of cravings, because this health food cafe is much more than a juice bar. Plus, they still sell some of the Not Your Sugar Mama’s products that we have all been missing.
Andrea Periano and Brooke Douglas opened the appropriately named Juice by the Sea this past January in the Tisbury Marketplace. Andrea is no stranger to this industry, as her family opened a juice bar in Cohasset a few years back. Andrea says she “finds relief from raw juices and a gluten-free diet” since she was diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disorder when she was in high school. For me, it only took a few steps in the door and a quick glance at the menu to feel relief from all the grease and gluttony I’m tempted by.
First I examined the to-go case, which was chockfull of gluten-free and plant-based meals, toppings, and an array of cold-pressed and bottled juices. I opted for the Island Hopper ($12) which consists of pineapple, cucumber, lemon, apple, and ginger. It tasted like sunshine and instantly calmed any discomfort I was feeling in my gut. (I went in on a Monday, and I think Mondays make everyone feel a little bit sick.) Next, to satisfy my frozen fruit yearning, I decided to go with the Beauty Bowl ($12.95). Perfectly blended dragonfruit, banana, maca, strawberry, plant-based collagen, and beetroot made for a delightful aesthetic and flavor, with a frozen yogurt-like consistency. While my appetite was satisfied, my eyes wandered to the daily special board, probably because the word “taco” was in my peripheral. I would definitely want those roasted bean and chipotle corn tacos ($13.95) for later. Once later came around, I couldn’t have been more delighted with my decision. The tortillas were toasted to perfection, and the roasty flavor still came through. They were overflowing with chipotle spiced veggies, crisp peppery arugula, and a cool drizzle of house-made cashew sour cream.
I couldn’t resist sneaking a few chocolatey delights from the dessert case (which is entirely vegan and gluten-free) into my order for later as well. I went with a peanut butter cup, a white chocolate and coconut truffle, a cookie dough ball, and a piece of tiramisu ($3 each). Andrea told me her dessert chef, Iva, is magic, and she was right. The cookie dough ball tastes exactly like that batter you shouldn’t lick off the spoon when you’re baking. The peanut butter cup tastes pure and homemade — flavors you can savor in a way that you never could with a Reese’s. The tiramisu was incredibly rich and light at the same time; however, the white chocolate coconut truffle was my favorite. While I might be biased because coconut is one of my favorite foods, its flavor is so commonly ruined by an overload of sugar and chemicals that its original essence disappears completely. Not this time; the marriage of the real coconut with the white chocolate was perfect.
The best part of this dining experience was that while I treated myself to just about every section of the menu, I never felt that overly full feeling that usually follows this kind of indulgence. I ended the day feeling satisfied in the healthiest way. Another wonderful aspect of this new eatery is while the bright and clean cafe has plentiful seating and extra-large windows, there are picnic tables by the neighboring lagoon that allow you to literally enjoy your “juice by the sea.” Unfortunately my summer clothing still didn’t quite fit right the next day, but my body already felt the wonderful effects of absorbing all that goodness.
Juice by the Sea, 79 Beach Rd., Vineyard Haven. Open daily from 9 am to 6 pm, with extended hours after Memorial Day.