Wednesday, January 16, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 45

Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Santa Maria's Paradise Juice Bar lives up to its name


Ever since my doctor side-eyed me and then lectured me for 20 minutes after I confessed how much fried food I consume on a weekly basis, I've been on a quest to stay focused on eating healthier, especially when it comes to eating out.

The Paradise bowl at Paradise Juice Bar features blended açaí, banana, mango, pineapple, strawberry, and coconut milk topped with fruit and granola, honey, and coconut shavings.

As one can imagine, having a weekly food column dedicated to delicious indulgences and watching your daily fat/calorie intake don't always go hand-in-hand. Which is why I've been on the lookout for local spots that have healthier options and fresh product.

One of the most refreshing new discoveries I've found on this quest is Paradise Juice Bar, which opened in 2017 in Santa Maria. This discovery has led me back to one of my all-time favorite treats, the açaí bowl.

The açaí (ah-sah-ee) berry is grown in South America and somewhat resembles a grape. It is very sweet in flavor and has been touted for its numerous health benefits. Known as a "superfood," açaí berries are rich in antioxidants and fiber. But they also have an extremely short shelf life, which is why the product is rarely found fresh and more often served frozen, making it an ideal ingredient for use in concoctions such as smoothies.

Açaí bowls have two components, a blended portion and a topping portion. The blended portion includes fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients, with toppings such as fresh fruit, peanut butter, granola, and more. The blended mixture resembles a smoothie in many ways, with a strong taste of the açaí berry. The mixture typically looks like a dark purple although that can change depending on what ingredients you use. At Paradise, you can also add numerous boosters to their selection of bowls, including honey, protein powder, bee pollen, or chia seeds.

Paradise Juice Bar offers a range of açaí bowls topped with fresh cut fruit, such as the Super Green bowl. The Super Green includes kale, spinach, banana, pineapple, lime, strawberry, and apple blended with açaí berries.

In short, açaí bowls are sweet yet healthy way to start your day (or a great afternoon lunch). It feels like eating a big bowl of ice cream, only without all the calories and evil fats.

Paradise's bowls include the signature Paradise bowl, made with blended açaí, banana, mango, pineapple, strawberry, and coconut milk, topped with granola, coconut shavings, honey, blueberry, kiwi, and banana. One of the things that makes Paradise stand out is the quality of the ingredients. The fruit is exceptionally fresh, which makes all the difference.

Another bowl I really enjoy is the Super Green, which contains blended açaí, kale, spinach, banana, pineapple, lime, strawberry, and apple juice. If you're making a face at the notion of kale and spinach in a blended fruit treat, you have nothing to worry about. The greens add more fiber and nutrients but have little impact on the overall taste. The bowl is topped with banana, kiwi, strawberry, granola, chia, and honey.

In addition to its diverse range of açaí bowls, Paradise Juice Bar also features a strong selection of juices and smoothies, including the Pink Passion made with beets, carrots, celery, pineapple, chia, parsley, and lime.

In addition to açaí bowls, Paradise also offers a wide range of smoothies and freshly made juices. The Matcha Punch and Green Fusion smoothies got raves from my compadres who ventured with me to sample Paradise's offerings. I have a long-running love affair with fresh vegetable juice, so I was really impressed with the Skinny Green Monster and the Pink Passion.

Other items include sandwiches such as tuna and salads including the strawberry feta salad, made with spinach, almonds, red onion, and chicken. The offerings can change with new additions or modifications, so keep an eye on their chalkboard menu, which they update as needed.

Pricing is also reasonable, with açaí bowls starting at $7 for a small and $13 for a large. (The small was more than enough to fill me up, but if you're coming off a big workout, you may want to upgrade to the large.)

Fruits of paradise
Paradise Juice Bar is located at 2041 S. Broadway, suite B, Santa Maria. More info: (805) 623-8876.

It may not be a bowl of ice cream topped with snickerdoodles, but if you're looking to avoid more shady looks from your crabby doctor (seriously, what is that guy's problem?), Paradise Juice Bar has you covered.

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose always has extra honey. Contact her at


• Two words: poke bowl. Santa Maria finally has a great option for this simple refreshing meal. Sake Sushi, which just underwent a major renovation, is now serving poke bowls (pictured) in three size options, served with a variety of fish including tuna, spicy tuna, shrimp, and octopus. You can build your own bowl with white or brown rice or salad and add toppings like crispy garlic, edamame, avocado, and so much more. This is a great (and affordable) way to pack in your protein, plus they are absolutely delicious. Try one for yourself at 194 Town Center East, Santa Maria.

Poke bowl from Sake Sushi in Santa Maria.

• If you missed the turkey reuben at Plenty on Bell, there's good news. It's back! Lunch starts at the venue at 11:30 a.m., but if you're an early bird you can catch them for breakfast from 7 to 11:30 a.m., featuring items such as housemade chorizo and avocado toast. The restaurant is located at 508 Bell St., Los Alamos.

Central Coast Specialty Foods has some exciting new sandwiches on their menu, starting with the Blue Broiler, made with roast beef, marbled bleu and jack cheese, honey mustard, tomato, and garlic aioli for only $8.99. Try it out at 115 E. College Ave., Lompoc.

• The rice bowls at Boba House are a popular treat among staffers at the Sun. In addition to staples such as teriyaki chicken, orange chicken, and bell pepper beef, the venue also has curry options including beef, chicken, and shrimp. Bowls range from $5.25 to $6.95. Check them out at 2047 S. Broadway, suite B, Santa Maria.

• We are all loving the doughnuts and sweet treats at Master's Donuts, our go-to morning snack spot, but I also really love their breakfast croissants. For the low price of $2.95, it's a great day-starter bargain. Plus the staff are friendly and as sweet as their doughnuts. Master's is located at 325 E. Betteravia Road, suite B12, Santa Maria, in the Target shopping center.

Weekly Poll
Should Congress fund President Trump's border wall?

Yes. Our southern border is in crisis!
No. It's a waste of tax money!
We don't need an actual wall. Just beef up border security.
I'm more worried about the Canadian border.

| Poll Results