Tropical Smoothie Cafe Is a New Healthy, Inexpensive Eatery in Downtown Boise 

click to enlarge Tropical Smoothie Cafe takes is beach theme—complete with ocean view prints and island music—from the Florida coast, where the franchise is based.

Lex Nelson

Tropical Smoothie Cafe takes is beach theme—complete with ocean view prints and island music—from the Florida coast, where the franchise is based.

Finding a quick, healthy, affordable lunch in Boise just got a whole lot easier thanks to Tropical Smoothie Cafe. The new eatery at 777 W. Main St. opened a week ago, filling the vacuum left behind when Jamba Juice shuttered its location in the downtown core last November. This TSC (open until 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 7 p.m. on Sunday) is the most recent branch of a national franchise out of Tallahassee, Florida, and serves up a host of smoothies, wraps, flatbreads, salads and rice bowls with an emphasis on fresh, healthy ingredients.

Walking into TSC is a bit like stepping onto the beach: a mixture of island and upbeat pop music pumps through the speakers, ocean views hang on the walls and the decor leans heavily toward sand and water tones with scattered orange accents that mimic life buoys. Smoothies are the restaurant's stock-in-trade, with more than 25 options and almost infinite combinations of add-ins like peanut butter, flax and chia seed on the menu. The smoothies, which range in price from $4.99 for "classic" concoctions to $5.49 for "superfood" blends,  won't break the bank on their own but, better yet, drop to $3 each when added to a wrap or flatbread order. The detox island green smoothie, hummus veggie wrap and kale apple side salad (billed as "the perfect combo" on the TSC menu) rang up at just $9.95, including tax.

click image A wrap, smoothie and side lunch at Tropical Smoothie Cafe rings in at just under $10.  - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • A wrap, smoothie and side lunch at Tropical Smoothie Cafe rings in at just under $10.
Easily the most impressive thing about the smoothies is the size: 24 ounces, the only option available. Considering the mild flavor of the detox island green smoothie and the price, a good amount of those ounces are ice and water, but the vegetal flavors of spinach, kale, and ginger came through, balanced by the light sweetness of mango, pineapple and banana.

The hummus veggie wrap easily stole the show. The perfectly grilled tortilla—lightly browned and crisp on the edges—was wrapped tightly enough to seal in the moisture that tried to burst out with every bite. Pepper jack cheese, pickled red onions and seasoned southwestern rice added a hefty flavor kick, while the crunch of romaine, kale, spinach and asparagus countered the creamy richness of black beans, corn, avocado, hummus and tomato. A drizzle of ranch dressing cut the mild spice of the rice, making the wrap an inviting option for even the most timid of palates. 

The kale apple salad, on the other hand, didn't do much to compete for center stage. The apples slices weren't crisp, and the honey Dijon dressing seemed overly sweet against the lightness of the smoothie. With the wrap easily providing enough healthy greens, the other options of baked chips or whole fresh fruit might make for a better side.

When it comes to bang-for-your-buck, attentive service and quick turnaround (the smoothie hit the table in less than five minutes, the wrap in five more) new-kid-on-the-block TSC is definitely in it to win it.

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