The aroma of fresh-baked muffins curls through the air -- a heady fog of carrot-ginger, corn-cheddar, and banana. The baker has just pulled the tray of miniature-sized treats from the oven and will let them cool for a few minutes before she doles them out to her waiting crowd of customers.
Tails wag furiously. One guest, too excited to remember his manners, strains against his leash and lets out a rapid series of frustrated yips.
It's Saturday morning, and it's breakfast as usual at In the Raw, a Coffee Bar, Juice Bar and Dog Bar that opened two weeks ago in Mercado del Lago at Hayden and Via de Ventura in Scottsdale. The raw juices, smoothies, caffeinated drinks, bagels and desserts are for people. Everything else is for the dogs.
Guests gather to discuss the latest in health regimens and to share their love of furry companions. On weekends, the place is packed with leisurely snackers of two legs and four, many fresh from romps in the city's off-leash dog park just down the road at McDonald Drive. The pups recognize each other from their playtime and mingle on In the Raw's two spacious patios. They slurp from a fountain centered by a bright red fire hydrant, show no embarrassment as their owners turn to the cafe's provided pooper scooper and garden hose, and watch expectantly through the doorway as their people stop at the counter inside to place food and drink orders.
While dog treats are baked on-site, people treats are provided by Chompie's. Bipeds munch on brownies, muffins and Danish, while quadrupeds feast on Nature's Variety foods, an all-natural line of raw foods. Raw frozen bones, freeze dried meats, dry kibble and dry roasted treats are formulated to USDA (human level) standards and are the latest fad in pet pampering.
Raw pet food goes hand-in-paw with the shop's dizzying selection of raw juices, all fresh-pressed and squeezed to order. There's Hair of the Dog, a stress-relieving combo of apple, carrot and ginger; a cleansing Bloody Mary of tomato, carrot, spinach, celery, parsley and lemon; and 6 on the Beach, a complete meal of beet, spinach, carrot, cucumber, ginger and parsley.
For energy boosts (most of the dogs hardly need it, but the people do), there are elixir tonics, herbal drinks to "invigorate the mind, body and spirit." Smoothies are soothing, based on nonfat vanilla yogurt or nondairy sorbet, with dramatic flavor combos like sour cherry-pineapple and peach-blueberry.
For a quick fix, raw shooters include wheatgrass with lemon wedge, called "To Heal Ya." Dogs, however, are expected to heel on their own.
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