Eat Drink Savor

Eat, Drink, Savor: Bliss Blendz highlights healthy and flavorful smoothies

Owner Kristina Hastings continues to find the perfect combinations.
Kristina Hastings and Grey Pirir. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Kristina Hastings and Grey Pirir. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Kristina Hastings. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Kristina Hastings. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Since opening six months ago, Kristina Hastings has made Bliss Blendz a must-visit stop for locals and visitors to San Juan Bautista. With drinks that name-check the town’s history, like her Vertigo Glow with blended greens, or flights of fancy like her Pink Monkey fruit smoothies or Sweetheart’s Dream choco-cacao, she has quickly been able to build a loyal clientele.

“We get a lot of in-town regulars and even some people who have set up accounts with us,” Hastings said. “And I have had people tell me they drive in from Hollister just to get our smoothies because they are so natural and healthy. It is good to see them, and they are also telling their friends.”

Hastings began thinking about starting her own business while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail during the pandemic. When she returned, she partnered with Kim Calame to open Bliss Blendz in July 2021. Hastings has a background as a nutritionist that came into play as she focused on healthy ingredients that would balance together as well as keep the calorie count down.

“It took me about a year to work out the recipes without having to add sugar to them,” she said. “These are all sweetened only by fruit, just sweet enough to have the palate enjoy them.”
When she first opened, she offered a selection of fruit smoothies, super green-based drinks, coffee and tea, and smoothie bowls, salads, and chia seed puddings. Recently she has been baking her own fresh cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, and bread pudding served with maple syrup. As a bonus, when customers buy something off the menu, they get free freshly popped popcorn.

On May 18, customer Grey Pirir ordered Mrs. B’s Bliss for the first time and said she also likes the Just Fruit smoothies.

“I feel the drinks here taste more like the focus is on natural ingredients,” she said. “With the Mrs. B’s Bliss, I like how it’s sweet but with a healthy side. And you can really taste the strawberries, which I love. I have told a lot of people to come here because she not only has a great diversity of drinks, but she also has a lot of good food, like her salads.”

All of the smoothies are vegan and vegetarian, and Hastings is more than happy to adapt the types of milk or nut butter to accommodate food intolerances or preferences. 

“If I had to put my approach into words, it would be just one: ‘health,’ Hastings said. “I am interested in healthful alternatives in eating. I kept hearing people say smoothies are high calorie or high fat unless you make them at home. So I am bringing that here—things that I would make at home for me. I want to bring that healthy approach to everything I sell.”

Mean Green Mango (20 oz. $9.50) “This one is made up of everything I like,” Hastings said. It is a blend of almond milk, orange juice, bananas, super greens (spinach, kale, and chard), mango, and avocado. The aroma of the greens is distinctive, but they only accent the taste of the drink, with the banana and mango taking front and center. 

Vertigo Glow (20 oz. $9.50) One of Bliss Blendz’s best-selling flavors, it’s a combination of coconut water, orange juice, banana, super greens, Granny Smith apple, pineapple and ginger. “I wanted to do something with ginger for digestion and very low sugar to help you detox a little bit,” she said. The ginger and apple create an enticing aroma, and those flavors predominate. The ginger is gentle, providing a kick that warms your throat without being overwhelming—Hastings happily piles on more ginger on request.

Mrs. B’s Bliss (20 oz. $9.50) Hastings asked her landlord, Patricia Bains, owner of Mrs. B’s Z-Place, located just a few doors down from Bliss Blendz, what her favorite flavors were. What she developed was an almost milkshake-thick fruit smoothie made from coconut milk, banana, pineapple, strawberries, and yogurt. All strong ingredients, the flavor comes mostly from the strawberries, which are sweetened only by the pineapple and banana, making it tart and fresh-tasting. This one is a best-seller at the shop.

 Estevon’s Encore (20 oz. $9.50) Honoring the famed Mission Boys Choir founded by Father Esteban Tapis, this chocolate milk concoction is made from oat milk, bananas, chia seeds, peanut butter, dates, vanilla, and cacao. The one I tried was made with almond butter due to my allergy to peanuts, and it was still a delight, with the chocolate coming through as a base flavor and the fruit riding above it. I can’t imagine this not being an instant favorite with children. A variation of this drink, the Mission Mocha, adds coffee for a little caffeine boost.

White Chocolate Chai (20 oz. $7.75, 12 oz $4.75) My personal favorite of the hot beverages. The white chocolate works surprisingly well with the strong chai, adding a touch of sweetness while filling out the flavor and giving it more depth and tone. 

Just Fruit Smoothie (20 oz. $7.50, 12 oz $4.50) Just Fruit smoothies are custom made from a variety of menu selections. The one I tried, cherry-cranberry with lemonade, had the consistency of a slightly melted slushy and was immensely refreshing. “Our most popular is peach-pear with pineapple,” she said. “These are sweetened with apple and pear juice, along with some organic fruit.” This was my favorite of all the ones I tried that day. The cherry comes through strongly, with some tanginess and sweetness coming from the lemonade. It is a perfect summertime refresher, and with over 15 different ingredients to choose from, you could drink them all summer without fear of repeating yourself.

Bliss Blendz is located at 300A Third Street, and is open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

BenitoLink thanks our underwriters, Hollister Super and Windmill Market, for helping to expand the Eat, Drink, Savor series and give our readers the stories that interest them. Hollister Super (two stores in Hollister) and Windmill Market (in San Juan Bautista) support reporting on the inspired and creative people behind the many delicious food and drink products made in San Benito County. All editorial decisions are made by BenitoLink.

Robert Eliason

I got my start as a photographer when my dad stuck a camera in my hand on the evening of my First Grade Open House. He taught me to observe, empathize, then finally compose the shot.  The editors at BenitoLink first approached me as a photographer. They were the ones to encourage me to write stories about things that interest me, turning me into a reporter as well.  BenitoLink is a great creative family that cares deeply about the San Benito community and I have been pleased to be a part of it.