Did a small Santa Monica Cafe just one-up Ferran and Albert Adria? The El Bulli brothers have long dreamed of conquering the chimera of "hot" ice cream, only to be shot down by the limits of reality. But Tanya Chen's recently opened Pulse Cafe in Santa Monitca is crowing about its own creation of hot smoothies, a proprietary recipe the owner says is the only version of this seemingly contradictory treat available in the world.
Chen tells Grub Street the drinks are somewhat comparable to the smooth consistency and warmth of hot chocolate, made from a blend of grains, nuts, berries, and seeds. In a unique move, the cafe crafts its own almond milk and soy milk completely from scratch using whole beans and nuts, providing enough natural flavor to stand up to heat when used as bases for the hot drinks.
Currently, the cafe offers five flavors, including a chocolatey, entry-level "Be Happy" with cacao, hazlenut, chia, dates, and agave, and a more experimental "Paradise" with hemp seed, coconut, dates, poppy seeds, and agave. The hot smoothies are intended to be as healthy as they are novel, protein-rich and low-fat with ingredients like goji berries, buckwheat, and cashews, sold from $3.75 to $6.00 depending on size. The cafe also makes its own boba, with a full menu of its smoothies, shakes, and sandwiches visible online.