Bon appètit! Just don't mind the after-taste.
But at AJ's Scoops, the art of the smoothie is returned to its essentials. You tell the nice folks behind the counter what fruits you like, and they'll purèe fine specimens of those fruits into a delicious drink topped, if you so choose (and you should), with gourmet whipped cream. Don't mention protein or echinacea or fiber boosts. It's all femme Greek to them. Just the fruits, ma'am.
Then sit down in one of the plush leather chairs and stare out the large corner-store windows at the bustlings of Second Street and Washington -- one of the most cityscape-ish scenes in the Valley -- and celebrate the fact that you're supporting a small independent business.
If AJ's smoothies aren't health-supplemented enough for you, think of it this way: The place has the ambiance of an intimate little pub. You'd be smoking cigarettes and drinking Irish whiskey in a real pub. Instead, you're having fruit.
Isn't that enough health for one day?
Cookie monsters, this bud's for you.
Readers' Choice: Chompie's Deli
Readers' Choice: Z'Tejas Grill
La Tolteca is a bright and cheery superstore, a bakery, restaurant, butcher shop and supermarket where you can buy tamarind candies, dried Jamaica flowers, beer, fresh cucumber juice and beef tongue. But the way La Tolteca is designed, it's the panaderia, or bakery section, that customers must file by first -- gleaming glass cases with pan dulce, multicolored cookies and fresh fruit, guava-filled empanadas, churros, plastic cups filled with tricolored flan, and La Tolteca's supreme delicacy, its tres leches cakes, creamy white sponge cake drenched in sweetened milk, fruit filling slathered between the thick layers, and topped with whipped cream. The tres leches cakes are available in individual slices, or in massive sheets the size of a boogie board.
Now, that gives new meaning to the phrase "sugar rush."