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Monday, January 30, 2023

My mouth first experienced the orgasmic experience of Jamba Juice on a hot summer night at the Disneyland Resort in California.

The national chain of smoothie restaurants, which does for the world of smoothies what Starbucks does for coffee, has become a staple of any visit I make anywhere outside of Gainesville.

Yet with the seemingly millions of smoothie establishments in Gainesville, the mack-daddy has yet to arrive in our beloved college town. Perhaps Jamba Juice is afraid it will put the seemingly millions of smoothie establishments out of business.

Because of my insatiable appetite for Jamba's Citrus Squeeze, a creamy combination of strawberries, bananas, orange and pineapple juices, and orange sherbet, I set out to find a suitable replacement near UF.

Freshens Smoothie Company - Reitz Union, UF

The Orange Sunrise, a blend of OJ, sorbet, strawberry, banana and pineapple, is the closest in spirit to Jamba's Citrus Squeeze. Unfortunately, it tasted like a synthetic, syrupy orange slushy, and the strawberry and banana flavors were virtually non-existent.

Planet Smoothie -1620 W. University Ave.

The Mediterranean Monster, a mix of strawberry, banana and orange juice, was monstrous, but because ice made up more than half of the smoothie, the result was a watery blend of not-quite-fresh fruit.

Tropical Smoothie Café - 3345 SW 34 Street

The Toucan Delight was refreshing. The base ingredients of orange, strawberry and banana were consistent with the previous smoothies, yet the result was almost glorious: a thick and extremely creamy beverage, with sufficient fruit chunks for extra flavor.

In the end, no smoothie I've tried in or outside of Gainesville can hang with Jamba Juice's flavorful concoctions.

For a quick fix, Tropical Smoothie Café hits the spot enough to tide you over until your next Citrus Squeeze.

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