No need to fear the flavor at downtown smoothie spot

I've always been a bit fearful of the health-food moniker. Even as a vegetarian whose lunchtime options can be a bit limited, that genre of restaurant can be synonymous with blandness, if done improperly. The Smoothie Korner, located near Pine Street and Orange Avenue, inside the State Discount grocery store, doesn't have that problem at all.

From their sandwich menu, the veggie "Korner" wrap looked worth a try - a mixture of vegetables and cheese inside a spinach tortilla and drizzled with a wonderful vinaigrette. Abundantly fresh and bursting with flavor, the wrap was perhaps overpriced at $6.40 (tax included), but delicious nonetheless. On a less positive note, the small red apple included with the order appeared to have sat on a shelf several days too long and had several unappealing brown spots.

So I tossed the apple and moved along to the store's namesake specialty - a smoothie. From the long menu - everything from weight-loss smoothies to smoothies with ice cream - I chose the 32-ounce "grape fusion", a combination of strawberries, bananas, protein powder and grape juice, for $5.56 (tax included). The fruits were fresh, and though the grape taste overpowered the other flavors and was a tad too sweet, it was still one of the better smoothies available downtown.

For more hard-core heath-fooders, they juice fresh carrots and wheatgrass from sunup to sundown. As for my lunch, aside from the apple, Smoothie Korner's selections were remarkably fresh and flavorful. Nothing bland at all.

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