You’re an old smoothie
I’m an old softie
I’m just like putty in the hands of a boy like you
I’ve always wanted to be called a smoothie. Especially if it came from Ella’s lips. But I’ve never been big on drinking smoothies.
I’m not sure why. I guess it was always because people were telling me they were “good for me”. And I always seem to get so much more pleasure from things that are bad for me.
So what was I doing in Josephine’s, a San Miguel smoothie bar? Had some braless beauty in Birkenstocks and a peasant blouse led me astray? Might I be dining in Via Organica next week?
No, it was advertising, word-of-mouth advertising straight from the lips of an ad guy. An ad guy who I know had consumed a few of those bad for me things. So an ad guy I knew I could trust.
“What. You’ve never been to Josephine’s”, said Peter Levitan. “Get there soon and order yourself a frappé.”
A frappé? I wasn’t even sure what they were. An iced coffee made with Nescafé I thought.
So I decided to hike down to Colonia Guadalupe to check out this Josephine’s. With definite plans to try one of these frappés. I was even kind of liking saying the word frappé.
Josephine’s is what I’d call a neighborhood spot. Even with its sassy murals and classy graphics, it still has a neighborhood look and a neighborhood vibe.
The smoothie bar (not sure if they like being called that but I like calling them that) has a new owner these days. Meghan Doherty has left. And Lindsey Paluso has arrived. Lindsey is making a few changes. But not a lot.
“I will tell you that when I decided to take over Josephine’s it was because I loved everything she was doing”, said Lindsey, “so I want to still honor the original mission and recipes, but grow it to be something more personal to me.”
Josephine’s drinks menu is divided under two headings: smoothies and frappés. I decided to employ my, when in doubt, try both, philosophy and started running down the list of smoothies.
Now these smoothies are a lot different than what my friends or family try to persuade…no make that force…me to eat. Where is the chard? Where is the cucumber? Where is the spinach? Most of Josephine’s smoothies are much more about fruit than vegetables. Two of Josephine’s smoothies aren’t even green. Which is good. Because my idea of a green smoothie is a mojito.
“We’ve simplified the menu at Josephine’s to really highlight the best of the best, and renamed most of the smoothies”, said Lindsey. “…I love to mix up something custom, based on what someone is feeling or wanting that day. Some customers want less sweet, some want MSM or turmeric added for joint care, maca for adrenal fatigue and hormone regulation.”
MSM for my joints. Should I know what MSM is? Should I ask what MSM is? MSG’s older and wiser sister? I was too embarassed to ask. And besides, I figure my joints ache because all old guys’ joints ache.
And maca. I know what maca is used to treat. And, trust me, it’s been a few decades since I needed maca. Is there an opposite to maca?
So my decision of which smoothie to choose was logically (from my standpoint) based on which one had my favorite flavors. I chose the Hacienda. It had banana and cinnamon and peanuts. It did also have kale but I trusted Lindsey Paluso when she said, “You probably won’t even taste it” and she was right. As good as the smoothie part was, my favorite was the crunchie part. The cacahuates (can’t resist using some Mexican Spanish words) come in chunks and swim up the fat straw.
“I get what you mean about the smoothies not seeming like the typical cucumber or celery”, said Lindsey. “Developing some good green juices is on my future to-do list for Josephine’s, but right now everything on the menu is something I’m proud to say is vegan, dairy-free, chocked full of super foods, but also accessible. Often the raw, vegan concept and out-there ingredients can feel intimidating to people that aren’t already into that whole movement. I really want Josephine’s to feel like a place that anyone can come and get something that tastes delicious and is full of good-for-you ingredients.”
So how was my green Hacienda? Well it was very good for my tastebuds which is what “good-for-you” means in my culinary language.
OK, it was frappé time. I would get to say the word frappé. But should I spell it with or without the accent aigu on the e? And what exactly are frappés? And which frappé would I choose? Which frappé would Lindsey Saluno suggest I choose?
“When I google”, said Lindsey, “the dictionary definition of frappé is ‘a drink served with ice or frozen to a slushy consistency’, which ours definitely is. While the smoothie part of our menu is more healthy and fruit and veggie based, the frappé portion is like a vegan milkshake – definitely more of an indulgence, but something you can feel good about drinking still. The mint chip is super popular and it feels so special to Josephine’s. My personal favorite is the coffee frappé – it’s rich and sweet with a strong coffee flavor. We have some regulars that absolutely die for the chocolate frappe as well – it’s very rich and very chocolatey, so it hits the spot if you’ve got a craving for all things cacao.”
Decisions, decisions, decisions. I told Lindsey I was leaning towards the chocolate but I wasn’t too crazy about the grainy way that Mexicans like their chocolate or that it’s almost always laced with cinnamon.
“This isn’t grainy” she said and then reinforced, “but it’s really, really chocolatey.”
What amazed me was “con leche fresca de semillas o nueces”, in other words, in plain English, without any dairy. Amazing. “With pumpkin seeds”, Lindsey told me. Really amazing.
My chocolate frappé brought back one other memory: Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.
There’s a mural on the side of Josephine’s. It shows a woman with her hand on the side of her face. Obviously, she is suffering from sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.
This is caused when, according to Wikipedia, “…something cold touches the roof of your mouth, the sudden temperature change of the tissue stimulates nerves to cause rapid dilation and swelling of blood vessels. This is an attempt to direct blood to the area and warm it back up. The dilation of the blood vessels triggers pain receptors, which release pain-causing prostaglandins, increase sensitivity to further pain, and produce inflammation while sending signals through the trigeminal nerve to alert the brain to the problem. Because the trigeminal nerve also senses facial pain, the brain interprets the pain signal as coming from the forehead.”
Though you’ve probably figured out already, be careful. Frappés can give you brain freeze.
As good as I’d heard that Josephine’s drinks were and as good as the ones I tasted had been, I’d heard from other people that there was a problem with Josephine’s.
Josephine’s drinks are “almost” but not quite a meal. The place is fine to grab a smoothie when you’re peckish and in the hood. But people aren’t going to walk for half an hour like I did the other day just to relieve a thirst.
Before I even presented it as a problem, Lindsey Paluso had an answer. “We’re really excited about bringing in comida to the shop…food is something I’m passionate about and good grab-and-go, healthy-ish options are hard to come by in SMA. All of our smoothies are totally vegan, our frappes are vegan-ish…they contain honey, but no dairy…and our comida is what I like to call ‘plant forward’. It won’t be totally vegan, though we will always have vegan options, but I think food is changing in 2019, and I know the way I eat is too.
Lindsey continued, “Our menu will have plants as the star of the show, and everything else as an accessory. For example, today in the shop we have blueberry turmeric muffins that are totally gluten and dairy free, and we just debuted a few ‘fancy toasts’ that will change pretty frequently based on what looks good at the market. Today’s was house-made almond butter with mango slices, topped with a salsa made of dehydrated blueberries and chili flakes. Also a healthy dose of flaky sea salt…always.”
So will Josephine’s replace my lunches of burgers, barbacoa, carnitas or cold cuts? Not often. But occasionally. And not because what Josephine’s makes is really good for me. But because what they make tastes really good.
Josephine’s is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. They are located at Calle Maria Grever #5 in Colonia Guadalupe, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.