Sugar cane juice, known in Vietnam as nước mía, has proven popular in Little Saigon, but hasn’t taken off beyond Orange County’s Vietnamese-American enclave. That may be changing as I’ve started to see sugar cane juice bars in neighborhoods like Hollywood and Pasadena. Toast Kitchen + Bakery is a modern, charitable diner from chef John Park and business partner Ed Lee in Costa Mesa. Juice is a small part of their beverage program, but they make it count.
Sugar cane juice isn’t as sweet as it sounds, and colorful, sweet-tart tropical passion fruit juice proves to be a particularly good match in Passion Fruit Sugar Cane Juice ($5). Processed sugar has been vilified in health studies, but unprocessed sugar cane juice claims to do things like lower cholesterol and improve liver function. Keep in mind that Toast serves dishes like hot fried chicken with malasadas. Consider ordering this juice for balance’s sake, and because it’s so tasty.