I’ve been trying to eat better.
I wouldn’t say that I’m failing at this New Year’s resolution of mine, but I can say that I’m not crossing it off my list with enthusiasm any time soon. You may have said a similar sentence before, especially at the top of the new year, however I’ve said it more times than I would like to admit. With a career that has me in restaurants and bars more often than the average person, I find it difficult to eat food that benefits my body as much as it does my taste buds. To do a better job at finding food that isn’t as high in caloric content, I had a lunch at Juice Crafters in Silver Lake.
The small shop stands its ground in a busy shopping plaza with Gelson’s and Starbucks on either side. To see a shop that continues to operate with a healthy grocery store and a popular coffee shop nearby is pretty surprising. Taking that into consideration, I was eager to check out Juice Crafters to see what items has people coming back for more.
Walking into Juice Crafters is clear that they love natural ingredients. Part of that can be seen when looking at the cover of their menu as “Always Fresh Ingredients” serves as their tagline, while the remaining part is thanks the display shelves within the shop. Each wall showcases products that are great options for a healthy lifestyle. Whether it were crates of oranges and lemons or packaged nuts and grains, it’s apparent that Juice Crafters encourages a better eating.
As much as I wanted to take a container of almonds home, I didn’t. Instead I directed my attention to a smoothie and an acai bowl that I wanted to order. Helping me decide was Liz who smiled from behind the counter. She guided me through the lengthy menu, offered me a few samples, and with that I knew exactly what to get. Well, somewhat.
Liz took the initiative and gave me a wellness shot. I’m not the biggest fan of these tiny giants as they can be fairly intense. The one she made was the definition of that word in its entirety. The Lemon, Ginger, & Cayenne Shot ($3.50) was comprised of few ingredients but was powerful. It was sharp, sour, and fiery. The combination of the three ingredients were designed to “combat viral infections” and the drink in the tiny shot glass acted as an anti-inflammatory. Taking it in one gulp wasn’t the best decision as the acidity from the lemon and the spice from the cayenne burned my mouth and throat from start to finish. For the person who loves those flavors and a kick of a drink, this is an ideal shot for you. For the rest of us who aren’t fond of such a strong and concentrated drink, Juice Crafters has better alternatives.
One in particular was the Crunchy Monkey ($9.99, for 16oz). Realizing the drink was the same price as most meals I’ve had I was taken aback by the cost of it. Noticing that it served as a meal replacement drink instead of a typical smoothie, I wanted to see how it would fare. With that in mind, I began to rationalize the price while factoring in the ingredients and the first few sips. The Crunchy Monkey had cacao nibs and powder, goji berries, walnuts, almonds, cinnamon, vanilla, dates, and bananas which I substituted with blueberries. It didn’t take long for me to agree that the drink was absolutely a meal replacement. It was incredibly thick although I substituted what would have been a creamier texture from the bananas to something with a lighter consistency as blueberries. I enjoyed that a drink that had so much chocolate wasn’t sweet as I would have expected. On the contrast, there was a more than welcome bitterness that came through with the dark chocolate. That flavor was carried through each sip alongside the crunchy cacao nibs that were a friendly surprise each time I came across another one.
I didn’t want to admit it, but the Crunchy Monkey was already filling me up. I didn’t let that stop me as I still had room for the Acai Protein Bowl ($13.99). The bowl was made of Amazonian acai with guarana, vanilla protein, strawberries, almonds, walnuts, and almond butter. Once again, I substituted the bananas with extra blueberries and a bit more vanilla protein to keep the thick consistency. As I took spoonful’s and mixed the fruit and nuts together I quickly fell in love with it. There was a crunchiness thanks to the almonds and walnuts that wasn’t overpowering whatsoever. Sitting next to the chopped nuts were slices strawberries and a handful of blueberries that made the bowl refreshing. But underneath the toppings was the acai mixed with the vanilla powder. It was thick, smooth, and sweet without any grittiness or chalky taste. With so much happening in the bowl, my favorite part was the almond butter. It was extremely sweet and sticky and the rich nutty flavor was the perfect addition to the fruit within the bowl. My only suggestion, don’t let it sit as the almond butter will harden the colder it gets. To my continued surprise this bowl was completely filling even though it was only fruit.
After the shot and then the smoothie, it was difficult to finish the acai protein bowl completely. In the back of my mind I was happy to say that the Crunchy Monkey and the protein bowl were somewhat worth the price as they could easily serve as a full meal. The smoothie and the bowl are two great options to have on a hot day when you don’t want to be bogged down by heavy food. Even better, they were delicious items when looking to have better food options. Understanding that, I can see why people continue to come to Juice Crafters day after day.
- Food tastes great
- Friendly staff
- Parking lot can get crowded
- Limited seating