Mexican street treats set Brickell Key juice bar apart

 

Juice places abound in South Florida, but what sets the Juicery Bar apart is the addition of Mexican street-style snacks and healthful baked goods. A cartoon monkey on a bicycle out front catche...

By Linda Bladholm | lbb75@bellsouth.net

Juice places abound in South Florida, but what sets the Juicery Bar apart is the addition of Mexican street-style snacks and healthful baked goods. A cartoon monkey on a bicycle out front catches the attention of kids, and the friendly service makes parents happy. Inside, brightly painted walls color your world magenta, lime green and purple.

Owners Mariela Maldonado-Keen and Vanessa Diaz met through Vanessa’s mother, who operates a travel agency and salon next door. Mariela is from Michoacan State in Mexico, and Vanessa was born in New York but spent school vacations cooking with her Mexican grandmother in the Yucatan.

Both had other jobs when they met last year and were looking for a new venture. They decided on a health-conscious cafe featuring favorite childhood munchies that pack flavor, not fat.

Manzana de chamoy is a tart apple coated in tamarind paste and rolled in a mixture of salt, sugar and chile powder. They’re sold whole, sliced to order, and drizzled in chamoy sauce made from pickled apricots and chiles that is similar to Asian sweet and sour plum sauce but spicier.

A salad ring layers grated carrots and cucumbers and adds tiny crumbles of feta cheese and a topping of green mango cubes seasoned with a powdered blend of chiles, salt and citric acid. The powder is also good sprinkled on main-dish salads like grilled chicken with avocado.

The chalupas here are hollowed cucumber “boats” filled with finely chopped onion and queso fresco with salt, lemon and chile flakes.

Boxed lunches ($11.95) offer a choice of a full or half wrap, large salad, two empanadas or hummus platter with a smoothie or juice, small fruit salad or yogurt parfait and mini muffin.

Vanessa is the baker, and uses whole-wheat flour in her curry banana bread with chocolate chips, carrot-pineapple cake and apple muffins. Low-fat, soft-serve yogurt with chamoy sauce makes for a sweet, spicy, tangy treat.

Linda Bladholm’s latest book is “Latin and Caribbean Grocery Stores Demystified.” She blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.

Dip

Fresh Peach Salsa (Salsa de Melocoton)

Any fresh fruit can be used, from apples to apricots. Serve with grilled meats or seafood.

1 garlic clove, minced

2 fresh red chiles, seeded and finely chopped

3 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced

1/2 red onion, finely diced

3 ripe peaches or nectarines (or other fruit)

Juice of 3 limes

1/2 teaspoon hot paprika or to taste

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place the garlic, chiles, scallions and onion in a bowl. Peel the peaches, slice in half, remove the pits and cut the flesh into 1/2-inch dice. Add to the bowl. Pour in the lime juice. Add the paprika and season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir to mix. Makes 8 servings.

Source: Adapted from “Street Food” by Tom Kime (DK, 2007).

Per Serving: 37 calories (4 percent from fat), 0.2 g fat (0 saturated, 0.1 g monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 0.9 g protein, 9.3 g carbohydrates, 1.4 g fiber, 2 mg sodium.

If you go

What: Juicery Bar

Address: 635 Brickell Key Dr., Miami

Contact: 305-350-2277, www.thejuicerybar.com

Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday

Prices: Juices and smoothies $3.50-$6.25, wraps $7.50, salads $4.75-$7.50, snacks $3.50-$5

FYI: Catering available.

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