Island Flavor in the Burbs

Tropical Smoothie Café offers healthy options

Can you hear it? Close your eyes and listen closely. Imagine white sand beaches, palm trees, and relaxed island music chasing the winter blues away. Wouldn't a taste of the tropics feel good about now?

Well, the folks at Tropical Smoothie Café (500 N. Hough St.) are bringing a little island sunshine to Barrington. The tropical décor and Bob Marley playing in the background help you forget about the cold and snow outside.

We Chicagoans love our food, sometimes the greasier the better. We all have on speed dial a pizza place that delivers right to your door with a bottle of RC to rinse down your artery-clogging meal. From time to time though, a healthy meal isn't be a bad idea.

Instead of RC, "TSC" offers a full array of real fruit smoothies that taste good, and are actually good for you. The "Pomegranate Plunge" combines bananas, strawberries, and pomegranate to pack a healthy punch. The "Island Intensity" combines the power of blueberry and acai to deliver an antioxidant powerhouse. One sip and there's no denying that your enjoying real fruit and not a sugary imposter.

While smoothies are at the forefront, you shouldn't assume there's nothing good to eat here. In fact, they have a full line of sandwiches and wraps. Standouts include the turkey bacon ranch bistro sandwich and the buffalo chicken wrap.

The most impressive thing is the quality of the meat. Unlike many sandwich shops that serve processed deli meats, "TSC" serves thinly sliced oven roasted turkey breast. Fresh flavors satisfy but don't overfill.

A sandwich and a smoothie will run you about $8-10, on par with other lunch destinations but with higher quality. So grab your shades, take a sip, and let the islands take you away.

Read more of Hungry Z's food reviews at and the NBC Chicago Street Team Blog.

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