Monday, May 23, 2016

Juice Shop

Juice Shop is one of many juice shops that has sprung up all over San Francisco, with several locations.  As a frugal gal, I'm certainly not one to go around spending $10 on a juice, so I haven't really been into this trend.  Also, um, as you can likely tell, I'm much more into baked goods than I am fruits and vegetables.

Anyway, I recently attended an event sponsored by Juice Shop, and then several other events that served the juices, so I got to finally see what all the fuss is about.  You can find these juices at Juice Shop's several locations around town (and they also seem to also run a pretty large delivery program).

I'm guessing the delivery program is mostly for folks doing full cleanses, ranging from the "Beginner Cleanse" to the "Advanced Cleanse", all consisting of about 6 juices and 2 elixirs, for $61 per day.  My mind is still blown that people actually do this, not only for the expense, but also, really, just drinking juice?  I can't imagine feeling remotely satisfied.

But anyway.  On to the juices!

Cold Pressed Raw Juice

The juices are all raw, unpasteurized, and cold-pressed, meaning they must be kept refrigerated, and have a very short shelf life (3 days max).  They come in beautiful 16 ounce glass bottles (for which you also pay an additional $2 deposit).  The bottles really are lovely.

The cheapest juices are $8, such as the simple coconut water or lemon-aid.  Most are $9-10, blends of different greens (celery, cucumber, romaine, kale, spinach, parsley, sprouts, dandelion greens), citrus (lemon), roots (ginger), fruits (apples, pineapple, grapefruit, pears, strawberries, bananas), and other vegetables (carrots, beets).  Plus some seeds (hemp, chia, flax, pumpkin) and spices (turmeric, salt, vanilla).  Oh, and some mix in extras like algae.  The most expensive option is the nut milk.

Each blend is designed with a specific purpose, such as improving liver function, oxygenation, digestion, or even your body's pH.  I decided to pick solely based on what sounded the most likely to taste good, not for its additional benefits.
Pineapple Pear Chia: Pineapple / Pear / Filtered Water / Chia Seed. $9 + deposit. (2015)
"This juice has a large spectrum of powerful qualities. In a nutshell: Pineapple contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory digestive enzyme. Nutrient-dense chia seeds, rich in omega-3 fatty acids and absorbable protein, clean you out and keep you regular. And because they can absorb up to 30 times its weight in water, chia seeds are a natural stamina enhancer, acting as a time-release of sustained energy and hydration."

Ingredients: pineapple*, pear*, filtered water, chia seed*

I started with the pineapple pear chia.  While I've never been one for chia seeds, pineapple seemed like one of the more friendly options, since most of the others were loaded with greens and vegetables.  The whole drinking your vegetables thing hasn't ever struck me as something I'd like to do, so I wanted to stick more fruit based.  I'm new to this.

It really was a good juice.  The pineapple was sweet and a bit refreshing.  The pear surprised me, it sorta seemed like sophisticated apple juice, if that makes any sense.  The two fruits were actually really well balanced, no one dominating.  It was a bit crazy how one moment I could really taste pineapple, and another, pear, depending on how I focused.

The chia seeds were a shocker.  I really didn't think I'd like them.  But the soft texture was almost like having boba in my drink.  I had to keep putting the lid on and shaking though, as they settled down to the bottom basically immediately.  This definitely should have been consumed with a straw.

Overall, much better than I expected, and actually pretty enjoyable, although a bit too sweet for me.  I'd never pay $9 for it, but I'm glad I got to try it.
Citrus Gold: Orange / Carrot / Grapefruit / Turmeric. $9 + deposit. (2015)
"A combination of citrus fruit and turmeric root, this tangy formula is exceptionally high in vitamin C and anti-inflammatory properties. Both the carrot and grapefruit provides a strong detoxifying effect on the body, and collectively the ingredients raise the whole body's immunity response."

Next I got a bit adventurous with the Citrus Gold.  I was really curious how the citrus fruit would balance out the carrot, and actually, I really randomly decide that I love carrot juice sometimes (usually when I'm not feeling well).

This was also really good juice, but again the flavor so complex it is hard to describe.  The citrus was strong for sure, particularly the tart acidic nature of the grapefruit.  But the carrot was also there.  It was rather refreshing, and definitely not too sweet.  I was shocked when I looked down to realize that I had consumed half the bottle in literally a few seconds.  Whoops!

Citrus Gold. $9. (2016)
Ingredients: orange*, carrot*, grapefruit*, turmeric*

I'm not convinced this was actually Citrus Gold.  It tasted like plain orange juice to me, although  a bit more bitter, which I guess could have been the grapefruit.  And I've had the Citrus Gold before, and I tasted carrot then.  I did not taste carrot this time.

It also was a darker, more orange color this time.

Anyway, this tasted like fresh squeezed orange juice.  Excellent juice, but I really didn't detect the carrot.  Not sure if somehow I got a plain orange juice?  But they don't even make plain orange juice?  So confused.
Beta Beet. $9. (2016)
Ingredients: celery*, carrot*, beets*, ginger*, lemon*

I was feeling ... healthy.  Or something.  I'm honestly not quite sure what got into me.  I actually had a box of fresh donuts sitting a few feet away, and instead, I wanted ... juice?  I think I'd been over doing it on sweets and carbs and my body knew it.  So, when I had the option to grab some juice, I did.

This juice totally matched the mood I was in.  It was fresh, clean, refreshing.  It tasted like beets.  And greens (I guess the celery?)  It tasted healthy.  Mmm, vegetables.

I can't say this is something I'd normally want, but, well, it was at the time.

Raw Smoothies

Maca Malt. $10. (2016)
Ingredients: maca*, cacao ariba*, banana*, sprouted almonds*, coconut water*, vanilla bean, himalayan salt, filtered water

This one wasn't labeled, so the first time I tried it, I actually had no idea what it was.  It looked like a mocha, or chocolate milk, so I expected something chocolately, milky, and perhaps a bit bitter from some coffee.

I was shocked when I took my first sip and tasted banana.  It was also much thicker than I anticipated, more like a milkshake.  What?!  So I looked it up, and quickly identified it as the Maca Malt.

With my expectations reset, I tried it again.  It was sorta like a thick chocolate milk, which could be a good thing, except it had a lot of banana on the finish.  I don't hate banana, but I certainly don't love it, and I just didn't really want to taste so much banana.  The banana probably did add to the thickness, which I did like, but, it was too dominant of a taste.

If it weren’t for the banana, I’d like this.  This was definitely more of a smoothie than a juice.
Almond Drink. $10. (2016)
"We believe our almond drink stands apart from the rest. Light and creamy, we simply use coconut water to avoid added sweeteners. And by sprouting our almonds, we unlock the nut's dormant nutrients."

Ingredients: raw almonds*, filtered water, coconut water*, vanilla bean, himalayan salt.

So, um, this was delicious.  "Almond drink" sounds so boring and unpretentious.  But, this was not boring.

I loved it, which really shocked me.  It was almond milk … with coconut water.  Which I know doesn’t sound like it should be good at all, but I thought it was fantastic.  It was creamy but watery enough to refreshing.  Light but satisfying.  Sweet but not too sweet.  Um, almond-y and coconut-y.  I can’t explain this, but I really liked it.


While the majority of the menu is the large bottles of juice, they also make a few "elixirs", small shots designed to cure what ails you.  One is just blue algae, another is a aloe and coconut water blend, and the final is designed for "Immunity", which is the one I tried. 
Immunity Shot: Ginger / Lemon / Oregano Oil / Garlic. $3 + deposit. (2015)
"This elixir is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic, and antiviral. A jolt to your immune system, the super potent combo of garlic, lemon, ginger, and oregano oil has natural antibiotic-like effects."

I saw others trying these, and the reaction on their faces was priceless.  There was choking.  Gasping.  Lunges for the nearest water bottle.  Many comments of "don't sip that!  Definitely do it as a shot!"

Still, I made the mistake of sipping it.  Woah.  A punch in the face, for sure.  I had a couple sips, as I was really trying to evaluate it, but, wow.  The description of "super potent" is right.  So much garlic.  So much ginger.  So many very strong competing flavors.  I wanted nothing to do with this.

Definitely for the hard core who believe in the effects of this stuff, not for the taste.
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