In the last few months Seattle has taken the plunge toward the fresh-pressed fashion, with star restaurateur Tom Douglas and farmers' market entrepreneur Kari Brunson of Juicebox each stepping up to join the juicing scene, pouring vivid drinks alongside longstanding health-focused juice bars around the city.
As Seattle's exceedingly beautiful summer fades into what can be known around the office as "sick season," most people are scrambling to find ways to fend off whatever the kid brought home from daycare, and a visit to the juice bar may be just the ticket. The scientific jury is still out on the effectiveness of the drink, but if immunity-boosters taste like Thrive's Northern Lights, there's no reason not to give 'em a try.
Here's our guide to the best drinks in town to get a taste of the season, a few servings of your five-a-day, and possibly fight off that nasty bug that's going around.
The V6 ($6) with Daikon at Assembly Hall
There are not too many juice bars where you can also order up bacon fried rice, but if anyone in Seattle knows how to give people what they want, it's Tom Douglas, whose 14 restaurants are perennial favorites. At his brand-new juice bar, the V6 is a deep burgundy reminder that fall is here, with beets and purple cabbage lending their hues and flavors, alongside spinach, celery, and carrot. The kicker comes with the final option: fennel for sweetness, or daikon (pictured here) for spiciness, which gives it a "wake-up!" zing.
The Pure Bliss ($6.95) from Chaco Canyon Cafe
Pure Bliss is an egotistical name for a juice, but this one does have an ethereal foam on top and a fruity scent reminiscent of olive oil. It's pretty blissful. Pineapple is the star ingredient, but apple, wheatgrass, spinach, and mint provide balance to both the acid and sweetness of pineapple, giving the juice more heft and savory depth than most.
The Cold Buster ($6) from Healeo
The four-year-old organic superfood shop and café isn't new to the juicing game—years of knowledge have honed the Cold Buster. The drink glows with flavor—and traffic-cone-orange color. The clean, modern shop does not skimp on the cayenne sprinkled on top of the juice, and the heat plays remarkably against the sweetness of this season's carrots. Ginger draws the line from the heat to the sweet, while the advertised garlic was, thankfully, nearly imperceptible—though surely helping keep those colds away.
Yam Juice ($6) from Juicebox at La Bete
Yams are more likely to bring to mind upcoming Thanksgiving dinners than brunch juices but Juicebox, squeezing fruits and vegetables at La Bête on weekend mornings, changes that association. The calm of the tuber is lit on fire by the heat of fresh ginger, which dominates the drink. Carrot and cinnamon are barely perceptible, providing background for the ginger star of the show. Juicebox, which started at Sunday morning farmers' markets and grew to its current restaurant-within-a-restaurant state, is opening its own brick-and-mortar space this fall.
The Northern Lights ($7) from Thrive
This juice from Thrive is a cilantro revelation. Paired with crisp juice of apples, the herb carries on the sweet tones. Lime, ginger, and basil play supporting roles in the juice, which is vaguely reminiscent of what Thai papaya salad might be like if it were a dessert: bright, herbaceous, and emanating freshness.
About the author: Naomi Bishop is a Seattle based food and travel writer. Find her on her blog, TheGastroGnome, where she claims that being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. Follow her explorations of cooking and culture around the world at @GastroGnome. Get restaurant suggestions and locate local eats in the Northwest from her app, Unique Eats of the Northwest.