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Bananas - Mexican Beverage Shop (review+pics)

pleasurepalate Aug 4, 2007 12:19 AM

When you walk into Bananas, your eyes immediately go into color over drive. From the bright red, green and orange wooden chairs to the fluffy bright yellow couches in the corner of the room to the multi-colored walls, it feels like several buckets of paint exploded and went every which way. In fact, one of the walls does look like paint splotches were thrown upon it.

Once your peepers adjust and you make it to the counter, you'll be able to order any one of several Mexican beverage specialties that are for sale at Bananas. There's the Diabilito Chilemon which is fresh squeezed lime juice blended with shaved ice, sugar, salt, chamoy and comes with a tamarind stick or the Escamocha, which is fresh squeezed orange juice poured over a mix of fresh fruits and veggies, including mango, grapes, cucumber and jicama. You can also order any variety of licuados, agua frescas, liquados, etc.

Hungry for something more substantial? Than order a torta and/or soup for a quick bite and if your sweet tooth needs satisfaction, there are desserts and sweets displayed either in the case or in baskets on the counter that will do the trick. If that isn't enough, you can also order fresh fruit baskets as gifts for business or pleasure.

For my first visit there, I tried the Banana Raspado, a shaved ice drink with banana syrup topped with freshly sliced bananas. While I liked the addition of the bananas, the drink was overall too sugary sweet for my taste.

I took home a Mango-on-a-Stick and yes, it really was on a stick as well as the Fruit de Gallo which had a mixture of mango, pineapple, watermelon, jicama and cucumber. Both were topped with either fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice as well as salt & chile and definitely appealed to my love of tart-sour-spicy flavors, especially when they're combined with fresh fruit and veggies.

When I went a second time, I tried the Cucumber Agua Fresca, a combination of cucumber, water and sugar blended all together. Now that was quite refreshing and something I'd definitely get again, especially on a hot summer day. Since I hadn't eaten yet, I decided to try one of their Tortas.

I settled for the Carne Asada Torta that was filled with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado and jalapeno. I've never had a torta before, so I wasn't quite expecting the large roll this sandwich came in, but surprisingly, I ate the whole thing up. Suffice to say, I was pretty hungry.

I wouldn't say that this was the best sandwich I've ever had, but it was filling and other than the carne asada meat itself being a bit chewy, all the ingredients came together to satisfy my palate, especially the jalapenos which added a nice kick. :)

I think that Bananas is a great alternative to all the Jamba Juices out there. You get drink combinations that uses ingredients that aren't as mainstream and flavors that offer something a little more unique. I certainly will be returning and am looking forward to trying more items from their drink menu.

Bananas
1345 Huntington Drive
Duarte, CA 91010
(626) 359-6309

To see pics, go to:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/la_addict/sets/72157601199326952/

Thanks,
Abby
http://pleasurepalate.blogspot.com/

  1. Bon Vivant Aug 4, 2007 04:04 PM

    I've never heard of this place so I'm glad that you posted the review. It's so hot right now I would love a cucumber agua fresca.

    The torta doesn't look bad but the beans seem a bit runny for the sandwich. We should do a tortas series since a really good torta is a way of life (in my opinion).

    http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bon Vivant
      b
      bulavinaka Aug 4, 2007 04:15 PM

      Okay, maybe start at Taqueria Sanchez with their tortas - I get their tortas w/ al pastor about once a month. They're pretty substantial, lots of meat, guac, an non-runny beans, and I think it's about $4-$5...

      This place Bananas looks like it will refresh most just walking in and taking in the colors! The spins on the various fruits look fantastic! Thanks for a great post w/ pics....

    2. j
      JohnS43 Nov 18, 2007 05:23 PM

      This place closed several weeks ago and has now reopened as something called "Joe's Place." I don't know what they serve, but all of the Bananas decor is gone.

      1. c
        carlitosmami Nov 20, 2007 09:38 AM

        Yeah I was mad when i found out this place was closing down I loved the strawberries con creama. My daughters LOVED it too. My husband got me hooked on them when i was pregnant with my first kid. They were sooo good. You should go into the Green Onion. (The restaurant right next to it) since they were the ones who owned it and ask them to incorporate the bananas menu into theirs. I know of one other place in Duarte that sells fruit con creama but it just isn't the same

        1. q
          quicksilver Dec 10, 2007 10:16 AM

          Honestly, the reason why Bananas closed is because first of all, way to expensive compared to other places that sell the same kind of stuff. Second, their fruit salads and fruit fancy plates are expensive and the fruit quality is really bad. most of the fruit is not sweet and some of the strawberries we got were mushy, sort of old. A place doesnt close for just any reason... the consumer made its point and thats why it closed. now its moving back to the green onion, hopefully they will improve their product and lower the cost. I prefer now to go to Jamba Juice across the street in the Ralphs Shopping Center for a refreshing drink. Cheers

          2 Replies
          1. re: quicksilver
            r
            RoxyGrl Dec 10, 2007 12:24 PM

            I disagree. I'm more inclined to think that the problem was a combination of location and lack of awareness/visibility/advertising. The items I tried there were very good and not something I've been able to find elsewhere in the area. We had a mango/tamarind/chili drink that was the best I've found since one we had in Puerto Nuevo 4 years ago - it was fantastic. And the fruit plate was a big hit as well

            I also think comparing Bananas to Jamba Juice is a mistake. It's tantamount to saying "if Babita is closed just go across the street to Taco Bell". Not the same thing

            I'm looking forward to getting over that way this week and seeing what they have available at the Green Onion

            1. re: RoxyGrl
              q
              quicksilver Dec 12, 2007 08:16 AM

              I agree with you on the location part and visibility... but honestly, i been there many times not out of choice but because friends of ours wanted to try it. The reason i said it was expensive and rather go to Jamba Juice is because at least at Jamba im getting a drink full of fruit. Sure you cant compare thet two places, totally different, but if you ask me what drink i rather pay $4.00 dollars for between a citrus squeze from jamba or a ice drink that has chile, 90%grounded ice and once slice of mango in it from bananas... i would choose jamba. The people in the green onion are rude and not very friendly so good luck on your next visit. Joes place next door is pretty cool though... they certainly put money into that place. Being that your id is roxygrl, i take it youre a pretty easy going girl so you will like that place.

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