Despite the fact that it's not native here, few foods are more in tune with the laid-back OC beach lifestyle than the smoothie. Whether it's a pick-me-up after a long morning out in the waves at Trestles or a meal replacement for a busy skate shop employee, smoothies are everywhere.
What that actually means is "Jamba Juice is everywhere." When people say they want a smoothie, what they actually mean is they want a frozen fruit, dairy base and ice concoction from one of the 33 Jamba Juices in Orange County and Long Beach.
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Jamba Juices are fine, but they're not an especially good value. Neither are their also-rans, things like Surf City Squeeze and Robeks Juice.
The hidden smoothie values are at Mexican fruit shops sprinkled here and there throughout the county. Specifically, there are a pair across State College from each other: Brianna's Ice Cream and Natural. At either place, you can get smoothies (licuados in Spanish) built to order, with ice alone or with ice cream or yoghurt. If you prefer your smoothies in deconstructed fashion (i.e., still in pieces of fruit), order an escamocha--a fruit salad with yogurt and honey--or a biónico, the same fruit salad with sweet yoghurt, granola, raisins and desiccated coconut.
Natural makes a particularly mean mango smoothie: combine it with lashings of a salty, sweet, sour and spicy syrup made from dried apricots called chamoy, and you have a cold refreshment that will leave you gasping for air.
Natural, 1177 S. State College Blvd., Anaheim; (714) 563-1343. Brianna's Ice Cream, 2107 E. Ball Rd., Anaheim; (714) 635-6264. Jamba Juice, locations throughout Orange County and Long Beach; jambajuice.com.