Crazy Doctor Cafe  
2991 Loma Vista Ave.
$2.00 – $6.95

On trips to Mexico I have always sought out the tiny juice bars, little stands serving nothing but blended fresh fruit juices. Before I spoke the language it was possible just to point at the fruit and the proprietor would put it in the presser and a magical, fresh, tasty and healthy elixir would appear. Alas, such establishments are not found in this country, although in the last several years, several chain juice purveyors have entered the marketplace.
On Loma Vista Road, just between Ventura County Medical Center and Community Memorial Hospital, a terrific new establishment has opened, and those brand-name juice providers could take lessons on customer service, health conscious offerings and unexpected community support. The Crazy Doctor Cafe is the name of this new addition to Ventura’s culinary marketplace, and if recent visits are any indication, a groundswell of community support will keep its doors open for many years to come.

Several years ago a small juice and coffee bar was started in this location, and then expanded and run by a dedicated owner who sold the business upon retirement. The small establishment was a favorite of the many medical professionals in the area, and a local anesthesiologist, Dr. Nate Weber, partnered with another investor; they remodeled and reworked the restaurant’s concept, and the cafe was reborn. Also realizing the need to provide healthier pastry and very fresh bakery goods, the owners decided to utilize the amazing talents of Marie Shannon in downtown Ventura as pastry and empanada provider for the cafe.

The juice bar and natural fruit smoothies were what first caught my attention. My first order was “Beet This,” a beet, apple and ginger combo that was delicious — fresh, filling, and oh-so nutritious. That afternoon I accompanied it with a made-to-order sandwich wrap: smoked turkey, provolone, red onions, spinach, mayonnaise and oil and vinegar beautifully wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. Other ingredient choices include black forest ham, salami, roast beef; cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack cheeses; tomatoes, peppers, carrot, alfalfa sprouts, lettuce. All of those ingredients could also be selected for sandwiches, as well as a particularly tasty chicken cranberry pecan salad sandwich option.

This very healthy and savory lunch begged to be concluded with one of the great-looking (and even better-tasting) chocolate truffles, and a single shot of the organic and very hearty espresso. Certainly the coffee options rival most other coffee providers in the area; the decision to use Brazuka as the organic (and fair trade) coffee source demonstrates the cafe’s commitment to using good quality and healthy ingredients.

The Crazy Doctor Cafe also offers quick, simple breakfast options: toasted breads, bagels, croissants, empanadas, yogurt and fruit parfaits, and hot and cold cereals. Certainly for the medical professionals in the area this is a welcome and healthy addition to the meal options available as they begin their working days. I know many of us like to begin the day with a fruit smoothie, and the options available at the cafe are tremendous.  One particular favorite of mine is the “Crazy Butterfinga”: carrot juice, peanut butter, dark chocolate, vanilla cream and banana. Although, I do feel better when I order the “Antioxidant Acai” — crushed acai berries, blueberries and blackberries. There are also a range of supplements that can be added: antioxidant blend, immune blend, multivitamin and minerals, ginseng, Spirulina pure, and soy or whey proteins. (All supplement additions are 50 cents).

The welcoming décor of the Crazy Doctor Cafe is part ice cream parlor, part mid-century modern family kitchen, and part eclectic comfortability. It is an odd size: too small to be a proper restaurant, too large to be simply a walk-away take away. But it is perfect for the local workers with limited time who want healthy breakfast, lunch and coffee break alternatives. I’ve been known to just stop for a quick juice fix as I’m driving down Loma Vista Road. On hot days there is nothing like a “Mango Mama” (mango, orange and banana) or my particular favorite, “Berry Berrry Healing” (raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and strawberry). One could say it is just what the doctor ordered.