Anyone who has been to Captain Dave's Bad Boyz on the Beach on a Thursday or Saturday evening and enjoyed the talented house band has, perhaps without knowing it, been acquainted with the owners of Playa's newest and most colorful juice bar. Aurora and her fiance Enrique are, respectively, the accompanying vocalist and drummer for Playa del Carmen's most popular cover band, J.J. and the Nasty B.astards. As long as we have known her, we have found Aurora's humor and spirit to be intoxicating and infectious. I don't think I have ever seen her without a big grin on her face. I was thrilled when she invited me to come and check out their latest venture.

Saltarines de la Rana - Jugos y Licuados is a bright splash of color on the somewhat drab backdrop of the colosio. Located on the corner of 10th Avenue and calle 54, just a few blocks north of the C.T.M., this clean bright juice bar may seem a bit out of the way, but is actually poised directly in the path of Playa del Carmen's explosive growth. A few short blocks to the east, dozens enormous condominium developments are in varying stages of construction along the beach, ensuring a healthy stream of business in the near future. Just across the street is the large childcare center for the children of the Palace Resorts employees who already have begun to refer to Aurora as "la ranita", the little frog. Her healthful fresh juices and shakes are the perfect after-school treat for the kids or early morning breakfast for the parents heading off to work. Perhaps not so healthy, but irresistably delicious are Enrique's homemade cookies and Aurora's moist chocolate brownies, sure to satisfy any sweet-tooth. The menu also includes simple sandwiches and fresh fruit salads with an assortment of toppings at a very affordable price.

The cheerful menu and storefront feature happy, smiling fruits and vegetables tumbling willingly to their doom in streams of milk and juice. Every square inch has been lovingly designed and painted by Enrique, an accomplished artist, to attract the interest of passers-by and spark the imaginations of the neighborhood children. You just can't help but smile yourself at the cheerful colors and whimsicle theme while pondering the hidden agenda behind the cannibalistic apples and the sinister Asian-looking mamay ;)

So, the next time you are in the north end, be sure to stop in and say "hola" to Aurora and Enrique and support them in their wonderful new business. You can also catch their musical talents every Thursday and Saturday from 4pm to 8pm at Bad Boyz on the Beach. Either way, you won't be disappointed.

Saltarines de la Rana Juice Bar is open 7 days a week. Monday through Saturday 7am to 4:30pm and Sundays 9am - 2:30pm.