A Taste of El Huerto in Sonoma
El Huerto of Sonoma sounds like it would be a Mexican restaurant, but it's a superfood café, specializing in healthy bowls, toasts, smoothies, and fruit dishes. Which actually makes sense, because 'huerto' means 'orchard' in Spanish, and there are plenty of almonds, dates, apples, oranges, limes, and lemons to be enjoyed here.
Owners Susan and Adrian Coronado opened their shop in January, in Maxwell Village in Sonoma. Earlier, they had operated a fruit, smoothies, and crepes kiosk at Northgate Mall in San Rafael, but wanted to keep their business closer to their Sonoma home.
The look: Order at the counter, then take a seat at the two-top tables along the lime-green painted wall. A mural above the counter reads 'Eat Fresh,' while fresh fruit and wheatgrass displays promise that fresh is definitely fresh.
To eat: I could make the toasts a daily ritual. Thick cut country bread is slathered with a variety of goodies, like avocado, cotija cheese, lime, and cayenne pepper ($4.75); almond butter, banana, chocolate chunks, and chia seeds ($4.75); Nutella, banana, and almonds ($4.50); or good old peanut butter and jelly ($4).
Bowls are as pretty as they are colorful. Consider the brilliant Tropical of banana, mango, pineapple, coconut milk, chia seeds, chocolate chunks, granola, and seasonal fresh fruit ($9.75), or the Sunrise with mango, banana, avocado, dates, lemon, almond milk, granola, strawberries, shredded coconut, and banana ($9.75). These aren't dainty bites, either, but full meals.
For a refreshing sip, Mangonada blends mango puree with shaved ice, mango chunks, and fruit salsa ($5.50 regular/ $7 large), while the coconut water is stocked with acai, banana, mango, seasonal fruit, shredded coconut, and granola ($9.75). The acai concoction is a particularly fun way to enjoy fruit, as almost a chilled soup.
I had no idea how to categorize the Tostiloco creation, though. Wrap your head around this: Tostitos chips, mango, jicama, cucumber, peanuts, tamarind candy, salsa mix, and lime ($7.50).
Yet a little research finds that Tostiloco are an actual thing — defined as a whimsical assortment of vegetables, nuts, and spicy candies eaten straight from a Tostitos bag. The snack is very popular in Mexico and bordering areas like Arizona. I grew up in Arizona and spend a lot of time in Mexico, so feel a bit shamed to have been clueless.
To note: All dishes and drinks are made fresh to order, so feel free to customize recipes.
Dessert: Keep the healthy theme going with a smoothie ($5.95/$7.50). The Just Delightful is true to its name, brimming with strawberries, banana, granola, Greek yogurt, and almond milk.
To drink: I feel healthier after my first sip of fresh pressed juice ($5.50/$6.75). Two top picks include the Green Queen of honeydew melon, spinach, celery, lemon, parsley, and mint, or the Stronger Immune in a spicy mix of carrot, apple, ginger, and lemon.Details: El Huerto of Sonoma, 19213 Sonoma Highway, 707-934-8791.