It's a sunny Saturday morning and I’m sipping a drink so showstoppingly purple that a woman at the table next to me leans in to ask, “What is that?” When I tell her, she squints back at the menu board as if considering it in a new light.
We’re at separate tables inside the Green Goddess Café, just south of Stowe village, and that menu is deceptively simple. You can order standard café fare — a breakfast burrito, muffin or a tuna melt on rye — but you can also get fresh vegetable juices or smoothies that require a minimum of decision making. You choose from five fruits (strawberry, raspberry, peach, banana and blueberry) and either milk or juice. That’s it. There’s no protein powder, spirulina or other nouveau ingredients along the back counter.
I acquired a smoothie habit during years spent out west, and have fueled hundreds of mornings with a blend of strawberries, bananas and yogurt, my own version of a lassi. I've tried most of the blends at Smoothie King (usually too sweet) and Jamba Juice (too icy). Whenever in Austin, I hit up the Daily Juice for a Sublimator, a lip-smacking smoothie of fruit, flax and a generous helping of peanut butter.
But I've only had them occasionally of late, so when I arrive at the Green Goddess for brunch, I order a blueberry and peach smoothie almost as an afterthought. Five minutes later, the waitress delivers a pint glass stuffed with violet-colored swirls of ice, cream and fruit that draws glances as it makes its way through the room. It has exactly four ingredients: blueberries, peaches, soy milk and ice.
The first sip is bliss: the only sweetness comes from the peaches, it's creamy without being heavy, and it's perfect in its simplicity. It's the Sublimator's foil — classic, uncomplicated and a little bit hippie. I annoy my friends with slurping noises as I try to suck every last bit out of the glass. When I smile, one friend informs me my teeth are full of blueberry shards.
The next day, I return for another, this time with strawberries and raspberries. A cheerful rose red, its tartness puckers my cheeks and, again, I savor every drop. I ask the waitresses where their magical fruit comes from; some of it's local, they say, and some is frozen, and some (like bananas) comes from far, far away.
Of course, there really isn’t any magic to it, but everything I’ve had so far in this bustling place has tasted uber-fresh. The elegant Green Goddess is akin to a diner on Venus, and, as with a new friend, I'm enjoying getting to know her. Even if I leave with blue lips and seeds in my teeth.
Corin Hirsch compulsively seeks out (and tries to recreate) exceptional dishes and drinks that reflect the season. Each week, Grazing highlights the best of those adventures.