Monday, June 24, 2013

Juicing: Just for the Taste of It (Pressed Juicery and GreenleafChopshop)

Let me first be clear: if you're expecting to read about the LA 'miracle weight loss/health kick' du jour of juice *cleansing*, turn back now for you will be thoroughly disappointed.

I love food too much to give it up for any amount of time. I don't see the point of extending life if you're not going to spend the time you have living and enjoying it (as long as, of course, you're not indulging to such excess that you're making yourself sick).

So when this juice cleanse craze literally took over LA, I didn't really pay a lot of attention to it at first.

Then I realized that this could be perfect for people who don't enjoy eating vegetables, and/or wouldn't care to spend the time to prep and cook them, to - as Pressed Juicery neatly captures it on their chalkboards - "drink your veggies".  Not as meal replacement, but as dietary supplement.  Like taking vitamins, but in fresh, liquid form vs. hard to swallow processed pills.

Now it would just be the crucial matter of taste - not going to do it for me if it doesn't taste good.  And knowing these juices go for $6 a bottle and up, as a savvy shopper I wasn't going to go for the 'Watermelon and Mint's of the juice world - it's easy enough to squeeze watermelon juice yourself, and add mint to it.  It doesn't cost much to get a LOT of juice from one watermelon.  If I was going to shell out the equivalent of 1/3 of a dinner entrĂ©e at a mid-tier restaurant, I was going to go for juices that contain the maximum variety of veggies/fruit that (1) saves me money from not having to buy different types of vegetables at minimum bundles of more than what a single person really could imbibe, that won't keep long in the fridge AND (2) saves me time from not having to wash, chop, and blend/press them myself, not to mention cleaning equipment (especially when I'd heard from friends who bought into the whole Vitamix or other juice makers that it's hell to clean and I have neither time nor inclination)
I don't remember how I landed on Pressed Juicery as the one to try first - but I am SO glad I did.  "Greens 2" and "Greens 3" became my favorite juices of all time, *despite* containing kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, with apple and lemon (and ginger as the only difference with Greens 3). 

I fell in love with them not only for the reasons above, but ALSO BECAUSE THEY TASTE SO DAMN GOOD. 

I didn't fully realize how sugary national brand bottled juices (and smoothie bar blends) are, until I tasted these juices.  It's like store bought juices are sticky going down because they are so full of sugar - and often way too thick to go down comfortably (you ever feel the need to have a 'chaser' of water after drinking a juice / smoothie? Then you know exactly what I mean). 

Pressed Juicery juices are not organic, but they are raw and cold pressed, and I love their relative clarity and levity.  It actually *feels* healthy but also *tastes* delicious.
One thing Pressed Juicery does to help customers out (and keep 'em coming back) that I love is their loyalty program.  Just provide your phone number every time you make a purchase - and with every 10 visits, you'll get a full-sized bottle of juice of your choice for free!
Select locations will also run specials: I love the stall at the complex next to Brentwood Country Mart - perhaps because it's semi-hidden in the inner courtyard, they have started running Happy Hour daily from 6pm-8pm offering 15% off any juice purchase!  (This stacks with the loyalty program - HH visits still count towards your 10; you just can't redeem your freebie during HH but can do so at any other time or location).  Such a great deal compared to other juice vendors, and it's on my way home so I make sure to stop by whenever I can get off work on time.

With all the travel I've been doing for work, I really wish Pressed Juicery would open up a stall at LAX - they would make a killing with weary travelers not allowed to bring their own favorite drinks past security, and who would be so grateful for that one last immune system booster before heading into lockdown with cabins full of germ-spreading passengers.  I know I would make a mandatory stop by their stall EVERY time I travel.

Another great place for delicious juice - is Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop.  Unlike Pressed Juicery, which is grab-and-go pre-packaged (though done daily) bottles - Greenleaf Chopshop is more of a true juice bar, with drinks made to order as part of a dining experience (though you can order juices bottled to go).

I'd previously only experienced Greenleaf through tasting their incredible salad dressings at Artisanal LA.  But recently, I was invited to a tasting of their new juice offerings at the Century City location.  Chef Kristi was clearly passionate about bringing healthy AND delicious alternatives to her guests - and makes it all fun with a fantastic, entertaining personality.  I felt like we were hanging out the entire time with a cool and highly skilled bartender, except that what she was serving up is actually good for your body, not just for your sanity.

In fact a few of the juices on the menu seem inspired by craft cocktails: such as the Sangria-licious, and my fav of the night: Pina-Kale-Ada ($7.25) made with kale, pineapple, lemon and apple. The pineapple is grilled first before juicing to bring out the sweetness, which also adds a nice subtle smokey flavor that gives the drink more dimension! Another fav which doesn't have a cocktail inspired name but definitely has a cocktail inspired heart: Hawaiian Kick with pineapple, grapefruit, orange and jalapeno - love the bit of heat!

Purists can get single flavor juices like Carrot or Tomato ($5.95), or Orange, Grapefruit, Green Apple, Red Grape ($6.95).  But as I mentioned, I prefer mixes like Pina-Kale-Ada for value and time saving reasons.

Aside from the experience and made-to-order juice bar, the other main difference at Greenleaf vs. Pressed Juicery is that the juice has more...pulp.  Probably because as you can see there are TONS of veggies and fruits that go into their juices and it's all fresh, unfiltered processed with an Omega low speed juicer.  So it's a tad more expensive than Pressed Juicery, but again is made-to-order, and customizable (you can choose the Build Your Own option - pick 3 from a selection of juices plus 1 accent for $6.95)

The only drawback of Greenleaf for those who don't live or work in the immediate area, is that they close at 4pm.  So I'll have to stop by during lunch some day; speaking of which, Greenleaf also offers some great menu items that to be honest I wouldn't have thought to stop for, as I'm about taste first and healthy as a secondary, side benefit that I'll take if it's there, and not care if it's not - but now will for sure.

Like when we tasted the Wild Mushroom and White Truffle Oil Thin Crust Tortilla Pizza with goat cheese, baby arugula and shaved pecorino - it didn't even register that it was baked on a custom formulated tortilla that makes the whole pizza under 400 calories - I only knew that it tasted delicious!!!!

*Disclaimer: tasting at Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop was hosted.

Anyways, to get back to juice: I've pretty much cut out soda from my daily routine (ok, I'll cheat once in a while, who doesn't?) and replaced them with juice.  No crash cleanses as I love food too much, and won't last a few hours just juicing.  But I actually feel like I have more energy on the days that I'm drinking these versus any other beverage.

So before you dismiss juicing as another fad like I nearly did - give Pressed Juicery and/or Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop a a tasty fresh alternative to sugar-loaded processed drinks. You won't regret it!

[Deal alert: Pressed Juicery: (1) loyalty program - visit 10x, get 1 bottle of juice free: all locations and (2) Happy Hour (Santa Monica location only): 6pm-8pm daily 15% off all juice purchases - stacks with loyalty program: HH visits count towards your 10x, you just can't redeem your freebie during HH but can redeem at any other time or location]


Pressed Juicery (Santa Monica)
13050 San Vicente Blvd., Los AngelesCA 90049

(Many other locations including West Hollywood, Studio City, Downtown LA...see website for more info)

Pressed Juicery on Urbanspoon

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop (Century City)
1888 Century Park East Los AngelesCA 90067
(Other locations in Beverly Hills and Costa Mesa...see website for more info)

 Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I recently did a roadtrip from Seattle to Los Angeles and discovered these juices upon my arrival in the City of Angels...despite the affectionate nickname of 'Feet Juice' that my boyfriend and I ascribed to it, Greens 2 became my favourite.

    Like you, I absolutely love my food and could never give anything up altogether - moderation in everything is the only way to avoid binging on everything! - but these made me feel as though I got to put good stuff into my body to slightly counteract the equally good but slightly less virtuous output of places like Pinches Tacos and Sweet Rose Creamery!



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