1740 India Street, Little Italy
I’ve been running into a lot of cold-press juice places lately, which can be tough on the wallet, because however tantalizing and often organic the craze is, a 16-ounce bottle of juice tends to cost nine dollars and up. When I came across Juice Crafters in Little Italy last week, the first thing that struck me was that these 16-ounce bottles cost only $7. I’ll call that a win.
But I was a bit hungry, and as my eyes drifted over the menu I noticed a section labeled Meal Replacement Smoothies. Not my usual idea of a liquid lunch, but if it could fill me up prior to an early dinner instead of pizza by the slice, I would be impressed.
There were seven meal replacement options, most between eight and nine bucks. They all featured ingredients such as coconut water, almond milk, agave, and other exotic superfoods or superfood extracts.
Actually, six of them included dates, which I found odd. Apparently, dates blend smoothly and add sweetness, earning the meal-replacement designation. I’m not a fan of dates, so I ordered a Summerland, the lone dateless option.
The Summerland featured kale, romaine, açai, banana, almond milk, and cinnamon. After a short wait I was slurping it down. Despite the fact it was… brown.
I’ve had smoothies of many colors — usually pink, green, or purple. I’ve even had brown ones, but these have usually involved coffee and/or chocolate. And they have always been a light brown, not even as dark as a paper bag. This darker brown didn’t even read chocolaty, more like fresh loamy gardening soil run through a blender.
It turns out Juice crafters is part of a Los Angeles-based chain, and there are other shops here in Hillcrest and La Jolla. So I guess their brown smoothies have been tested by the market. This concoction tasted good — it took me no time at all to drink it — and it was filling.
But the presentation of drinks all the other customers were getting were typical, fresh and fruity colors. They made my thick brown meal replacement seem like the nutrient sludge keeping future society alive in some dystopian sci-fi flick. Next time I’ll take advantage of the cheaper-than-average cold press and grab a slice of Landini’s across the street.