Anybody who's ever been to La Grande Orange Grocery in Arcadia knows that parking is pretty tight at this super hip organic grocery/deli/coffee shop, as well as the surrounding high-end hipster restaurants like Il Postino and Radio Milano. There's sometimes even less room inside La Grande Orange, where multiple lines often wind around food, tables, and novelty gift displays. The grocery stays crowded for good reason -- even if space is at a premium, the food and caffeinated beverages are top-notch and worth giving up a little wiggle room. This week, we hit La Grande Orange's coffee counter to try the Green Tea Smoothie and a new addition to the grocery's beverage list: homemade chai latte.
La Grande Orange Grocery's Green Tea Smoothie and Iced Chai Latte
4410 N. 40th Street
The first thing one notices about the Green Tea Smoothie is its fruity green color, but there's nothing fruity tasting about the beverage. It tastes just like quality hot green tea, with an earthy, fresh leaf flavor, but is blended to a cold, smooth consistency on par with a thin milkshake. There's a slight sweetness to the smoothie, reminiscent of a touch of honey in hot tea. Final analysis: the Green Tea Smoothie is mm-mm-good, even if it doesn't provide a noticeable caffeine rush.
The homemade chai latte is one of two new kick starter drinks on La Grande Orange's menu (the other is their version of the iced toddy), and it's almost too tasty for its own good. The blend of Darjeeling tea, ginger, spices, and vanilla is so smooth, sweet, and subtle that we almost chugged the drink after a single sip. We managed to stretch our enjoyment out to a full ten minutes, and now we're waiting for the ice in our empty cup to melt, so we can drink that too. The chai gives a nice, comfortable pick-me-up effect, as well.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.