Name of the restaurant: M Juicery and Creamery, which opened in Alhambra in November.
Concept: The owner and juice enthusiast, Jonathan Ma, saw that the San Gabriel Valley was suffering from a lack of cold-pressed juices, so he opened this spot to support his habit. Along the way, he took some ice cream-making classes.
This modern storefront at the busy intersection of Main Street and Garfield Avenue offers house-made ice cream for your sweet tooth and cold-pressed juices for the health-inclined. There's also cold-brewed Four Barrel coffee in case all that sugar isn't enough to perk you up.
Which dishes represent the restaurant and why: While customers are encouraged to taste the flavors before committing, the flight/sampler choice is a better option for those who still can't make a decision. Yes, this place serves flights of ice cream cones, which aren't full-size but about the size of a Gibraltar glass or a bit smaller. The ice creams are more of the icey and less-creamy variety. The lychee flavor is bright and sweet without being too cloying. The Vietnamese coffee flavor is a perfect representation of the bittersweet, caramel-like flavor of that satisfying, cold, caffeinated beverage. The honey-lavender is strong on the lavender, which may not be to everyone's liking, but it's one of the most popular flavors.
The juices are named after the color they most resemble. The red juice with strawberry, tomato, apple, and lime is an easy crowd-pleaser. The orange is slightly more interesting, with carrot, orange, celery, apple, lemon, and ginger. And the excellent purple has a pleasing earthy taste thanks to the beet. It may be too vegetal to some, since it also includes red cabbage, and kale, but the apple and grape juices help balance it out.
Who's at the next table: On a weekday afternoon, one table was occupied by a group of local students who were supposed to be doing homework, but sounded like they were mostly hanging out. Maybe they were taking a snack break from studying at the nearby library. Another table was full of young men who were repeat customers and were eager to recommend their favorite juices.
Appropriate for: People in the SGV wanting a more healthful drink than what's available at Jamba Juice now have a place to go that doesn't require hopping on the 10 West. A small scoop of ice cream is also a satisfying way to end a meal at Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine, which is conveniently located a few doors down.
Service: Friendly and eager to offer suggestions.