In 1996, in Washington State, taste tied the knot with health as the first Emerald City Smoothie location oversaw a marriage that, today, has grown to 50-plus locations across the United States. There was no exchange of vows, and objections—if any existed—were quickly muted by a chorus of "Mmms," as fresh-fruit smoothies treated sippers to healthy, on-the-go meals. To help patrons navigate its vast selection without a map made of crazy straws, Emerald City Smoothie divides its menu into categories, such as Boost My Immune System, Help Me Lose Weight, and Just for Kids. Past smoothies, nutrition weaves a common thread through each store's additional offerings, including meal alternatives, snacks, and supplements from major brands.
Vibrant South American, North American, and Middle Eastern flavors come together between slices of bread at Mundos 2. According to a profile in the Monterey County Weekly, brothers Eli and Fernando Mundo, who also own Mundo's Cafe, not only use creative ingredients in their sandwiches—including paprika-flecked chicken breast and Argentinian tri-tip—but also slather them in secret housemade sauces.
Cream cheese and cranberry sauce join turkey breast, mustard aioli coats the pastrami sandwich, and housemade falafel sandwiches may be slathered in hummus. Burgers get flame-broiled before hitting buns, as do eggplant cutlets, red bell peppers, and other veggies.
Inside the historical 1880 Southern Pacific Railway station, patrons gather to scoop up fresh food and goods from local farmers and artisans. This is the Wharf Marketplace, a seasonal-food hub that offers everything from local produce and cheese to fresh flowers and seafood. An onsite grab-and-go cafe fills shoppers with meals made using these wares, including eggs benedict in a warm tortilla, turkey pesto and grilled-cheese paninis, and salads topped with veggies.
The Wharf Marketplace often hosts events, too, including Taste It Thursday, which showcases wine from local vineyards, and Java and Jalopies, which shows off old hot rods.
As if in homage to simpler times, the menu lettered beautifully on The Ice Box's chalkboard is short and sweet. The main draw here is frozen treats, waffle cones piled high with Marianne's Ice Cream, and sweet popsicles made in-house in flavors such as thai iced tea. Diners construct a squarer meal when they order one of the shop's savory treats, including paninis fresh off the grill and crepes folded around turkey and avocado. Guests can sit outside and admire the retro-style signage; inside, they can lunch next to the 1928 combination stove-ice box and try to get it to tell who was really president back then.
The bean barons at Second Street Café sling brewed-to-order fair-trade coffee, specialized sippables, and breakfast and lunch fare that employs fresh organic produce. Shake off nightmares of showing up fully clothed at a nudist beach with the Jump Start ($2.85–$3.25), which drops a double shot of espresso in a cup of classic joe from the nearby Verve's Coffee Roasters. A selection of bagels ($1.65–$2.95), breakfast sandwiches ($3.95–$4.95), and breakfast burritos ($3.95–$4.25) ensure a mollified morning, while iced americanos ($2.50) and lattes ($3.50) cool off humid highway hoppers.
Bikini-clad baristas roast gourmet coffee beans and concoct lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos. The coffee shop also refuels patrons with breakfast sandwiches, bowls of oatmeal, and pastries such as pecan streusels and warmed croissants.