If you are what you eat, and you eat at Joy’s Place, then you’re a smart cookie. Literally. This hole in the wall health food restaurant is obscure, located on South Kihei Road opposite a cove swarming with surfers and beach rats. I’m slightly embarrassed that it took me two days to find, and I drove right past the turn twice. Driving south, look for the cove on your right and a sign screaming Kayak and Surf on your left; down this little road is a string of shops squatting below condominium units. The shops—a massage therapy clinic, hair and nail salons, tanning beds and Joy’s Place—are devoted to taking care of the physical self.
The motto at Joy’s Place is “Smart Eating,” and they’ve managed to make even eating cookies and brownies a nutritious experience. This is part of their crusade in maximizing the natural, organic quality of foods and minimizing their processing. Each item on the menu is deconstructed into its ingredients so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body. How often can you say that?
If you aren’t conscious about what you eat when you walk in, you certainly become so reading the menu. The assortment of wraps, salads, soups and sandwiches are lovingly described and labeled when Vegan.
This meticulous care for nutrition hints that there’s a small but resolute counterculture arrayed against the onslaught of artificial, processed and chemically enhanced foods. My fellow customers at Joy’s looked to be a part of this culture, wearing their healthy lifestyles on their sleeves while enjoying the organic grub.
Most sandwiches run between $8 and $10, salads between $4 and $10, and there’s a nice selection of chai and spiced teas and treats. Within its super-healthy realm, Joy’s has a pretty diverse menu, making liberal use of avocados, fresh turkey, tuna, hummus, soy, wheat, cabbage and clover sprouts.
I’m not sure what the latter items are, but I’m pretty sure I ate them.
Monday’s daily lunch special was marinated asparagus sandwich on toasted sourdough with lemon thyme, provolone, tomatoes, onions, carrots and sprouts.
When describing the taste, the first word that came to mind was wholesome. It was good, but not in the blissful way that a cheeseburger at Cool Cat’s is good. At the same time, would you really want every ingredient of such a meal unveiled to you when you order?
The satisfaction I felt came more from knowing that eating this kind of food habitually would probably make me live to be 200 years old. This might explain why health nuts always have that secretive smile on their face.
Nothing excites some people more than organic vegetables and smoothies. You folks will be very turned on by the numerous choices, particularly even the “smart” vegan and wheat-free raisin oatmeal cookie. But if you’re one of those people who consider dairy-free Veganaise and collard greens to be dirty words, then go elsewhere for lunch.
Those of you whose priorities waver between healthy and yummy will be surprised to see the catchy, tasty things they can do with health food. Then again, you can always get soup and a sandwich at Joy’s Place and top it off with a Baskin Robbins milkshake: the best of both worlds and partially guilt-free.