Kristina Hastings came from North Dakota to San Juan Bautista by way of the Pacific Crest Trail to open her new blended drink business, Bliss Blendz, which is located at 300A Third Street.
“I had been living with a friend in San Juan,” she said. “Once the pandemic started, I went hiking on the PCT. I was thinking about how much I love the quiet, small-town feel of the place and an idea for the shop started formulating in my brain while I was on the trail: ‘‘This town needs a smoothie place.’ I crave smoothies and granola bars and I could not find anything like that around here.”
With a background in nutrition, freshness and health were top priorities in her creations.
“I wanted to be sure there was depth in my products,” she said. “Everything had to be fresh. So I mixed recipes I found online with what I had been cooking all my life to make what I thought were original flavors for smoothies.”
Some of the inspiration for her smoothies came from her hiking experiences during the pandemic.
“My trail name is Phoenix,” she said. “So I have one called Blue Phoenix. When I was out on the trail, I drank a lot of water and a lot of orange juice. And I love pineapple and blueberries, so I thought I would throw it all in a blender with bananas and see how it works.”
Two of the smoothies are named after Hastings’ landlords, Dante and Patricia Bains, known locally as “Mr. and Mrs. B.”
“I had been considering another location,” she said. “But I heard from the city that Mr. and Mrs. B were going to be looking for a tenant for this place. I knew immediately when I walked in that it was going to be perfect. And one of the first smoothies I created was for Mrs. B.”
Mrs. B’s Bliss is made from pineapple, strawberries, banana, coconut cream and yogurt.
“Kristina is certainly blissful,” said Mrs. B. “The shop is a wonderful addition to San Juan Bautista and I am really excited about it being here. I love my drink and my husband’s and she just gave me something else she came up with, white chocolate chai, and it is just delicious.”
Mr. B is an enthusiastic customer of the store and he favors the “Mister B’s Bliss,” which is made of watermelon, strawberries, banana, almond milk, dates and yogurt.
“My drink is on the top of the list and she tells me it is the most popular one she makes,” he said. “I have no idea what’s in it. She asked me if I liked watermelon and a few other things and she mixed it up from there. But I love everything about the place. The design is beautiful, and most of all, the drinks are fabulous.”
While Hastings focused on highlighting her smoothies as she was opening, she also offers a range of other beverages and salads.
“With how we talked about the store,” she said, “I think people just thought we were going to have smoothies so they came in with smoothies on the brain. But when they start seeing the menu and other things we have, including the salads, chia seed pudding, and coffees people can’t get anywhere else, they realize we are more than just smoothies.”
Her Green Monster coffee, for example, has spinach, cacao, dates, vanilla and almond milk blended into the coffee.
“I kept asking myself how we could add greens into coffee and that was my solution,” she said. “And it is one of the most popular drinks we make.”
The shop also carries lines of snacks including trail mix, energy and protein bars, keto bites, and, on weekends, homemade candy apples. There is also a large selection of cannabidiol (CBD) supplements and lotions.
After various delays kept Hastings from opening in July, as she intended, Hastings said that the response from the community has been gratifying.
“People have responded very positively so far,” she said. “The mayor, Leslie Jordan, has been coming in and supporting us and I have some regular customers already. I designed things to give people a sense of being out on the trail and I am hoping my place and my foods give people a sense of peace, calm, vitality, and movement and feeling of energy.”
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