Spending the summer in Providence hanging out next to the SciLi can feel a little bit less like vacation and a little bit more like you are slowly having your soul sucked out of you by concrete walls.
So for those of you trying to convince your Snapchat friends that you’re on an island that’s a little bit more exotic than the Rhode, try making the 5-minute trek to Wayland Square and pretend you’ve entered the tropics.
In an effort to pretend I was already on summer vacation and not still mid-way through finals, I stopped by Tropical Smoothie Cafe last week for brunch. The place boasts healthy, fun foods with a tropical twist and wants to give you a beachy, summer-feel all day everyday. Considering it was a rainy, overcast Sunday morning with no chance of sun or happiness, I was more than skeptical that a simple smoothie could loosen my bad mood, but I was willing to give it a try.
And I have to admit, Tropical Smoothie Cafe ain’t too shabby at all. The orange and baby blue decor gives off a distinct beachy vibe that will remind you of the way that suburban moms’ are always trying to decorate their bathrooms, but with less cheesy flip-flop shaped soaps and more of a relaxed, happy-go-lucky feel.
I’m always a sucker for bright photographs so I ordered the Chipotle Chicken Club Flatbread prominently featured on their board. The flatbread sandwich has grilled chicken, bacon, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayo, but the woman behind the counter promised the dish has a bite. The chipotle mayo was nice and tangy with just a little bit of heat, and I was more than pleased with the amount of bacon I received. The warm, toasted flatbread felt nice and light, but the chicken kept the sandwich hearty and filling.
But obviously, in a place called Tropical Smoothie Cafe, I was most excited to try out the drinks. And seriously, these smoothies are huge — weighing in at a whopping 24 ounces. For fitness buffs, the cafe has a number of different add-ins and supplements the servers can scoop in including probiotics, B-12 and protein powders. And for students trying to watch their waistlines after too many semesters of Ratty soft serve, you can always vary the amount (and type!) of sugar added in.
I’m a bit of a smoothie connoisseur myself, so I decided to try two of their smoothies for the sake of research: the Island Green Smoothie and the Paradise Point Smoothie. Both of the smoothies had the perfect sipping texture — smooth enough that I could easily drink from a straw, but still thick enough to feel like I was drinking something really substantial. The smoothies felt creamier than those from the Creperie, but a little icier than Malachi’s.
The Island Green features spinach, kale, mango, pineapple and banana, but don’t let the green color deceive you: This doesn’t taste like your average green shake. The mango and banana flavors are really what shine through, while the green stuff just adds a little bit of depth to the smoothie. Good news for a kale-hater such as myself.
The Paradise Point — with strawberry, banana and pineapple — was more along the lines of smoothies I usually order. Simply put, it was really, really good. Though I could distinctly taste all three of the flavors separately, the pineapple really did take take me back to Pina Coladas at the beach.
Overall, even though it’s hard to make Providence feel like the Bahamas, Tropical Smoothie Cafe does a pretty great job of it. So grab your $5 sunglasses, take a couple of pictures with well-placed sailboat emojis, and I think we got ourselves a real summer vacation.