The Frugal Forager: Juice bar gives Saratogians chance to drink to their health

Sunday, September 22, 2013
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Saratoga Springs is a tipsy town, with craft beer and martinis on every corner, but it’s also the place to go for mineral baths, massage and yoga.

Now there’s the Saratoga Juice Bar, the city’s first cold-pressed juice establishment, where fruit and vegetables are squished into healthful, nonalcoholic drinks.

In a small storefront on Broadway, it’s owned by Christel and Colin MacLean, the same folks who run Circus Café and The Crown Grill just a few doors away.

With its aqua exterior, bright yellow-and-green interior and real pineapples lined up in the front window, the juicery has a clean, tropical vibe that’s visually appealing.

Since it opened on July 18, it’s gotten quite trendy, too. “American Idol” singer Phillip Phillips and Justin Chambers from “Grey’s Anatomy” stopped in for smoothies.

Yes, really. It’s on Facebook.

One sultry afternoon, my friend Wendy and I checked it out.

Saratoga juice Bar

WHERE: 382 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 583-1108, saratogajuicebar.com

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

HOW MUCH: $23.35, with tax

MORE INFO: Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover. Wheelchair accessible.

“Do you juice?,” the smiling young woman asked as I scanned the menu board posted over the counter.

“I make my own carrot juice,” I said.

Most juice, including my homemade kind, has to be consumed right away, before it loses nutrients, she tells me.

More vitamins

Cold-pressed juice, which is made hydraulically, without the heat of a traditional juicer, has more vitamins and minerals, and can be chilled and stored for three to four days, she said.

Thier fruits and veggies are locally grown when possible, and the kale, cucumber and carrots are organic.

Wendy ordered the most popular juice, Saratoga Detox: pineapple, carrot, orange and ginger.

I selected Going Green: spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, romaine, pear and lemon.

Spirit of Life and Heart Beets were the other choices, and they are all $6.95 for 16 ounces.

We also asked for a kale salad, $7.95, that we planned to share.

The woman took our money and pointed to a cooler.

At first, we were surprised and a bit disappointed that our juices and the salad were premade and stored in clear plastic bottles and containers. Besides our selections, the cooler was stocked with hummus wraps, quinoa salad and “ginger shots,” mini containers of cold-pressed ginger, cayenne and lemon.

Taste of heaven

But when we went outside and sat in the sunshine at a small sidewalk table, we ascended to juice heaven.

“Mmm, it’s really good,” said Wendy, sipping her orange-colored drink through a straw. Her drink was slightly sweet, the apple and ginger most evident.

Once our taste buds were primed, with each subsequent sip my companion and I could detect every delightful ingredient in our drinks.

But when she took a sip of my green-colored elixir, Wendy frowned.

“I don’t like that much. I would only drink it for health reasons,” she said.

My juice was “grassy,” bursting with the flavors of spinach and kale. It’s an acquired taste that I happen to like.

Poking the kale salad with plastic forks, we decided that it was perfect. The greens were bite-sized, dressed lightly with sea salt and olive oil, and came with tiny plastic containers of dried cranberries, tahini and sunflower seeds.

But the container was small, not really enough to share.

Smoothie choices

Saratoga Juice also offers six 16-ounce smoothies, $5.95. Unlike the cold-pressed juice, the smoothies are made while you wait in a blender at the counter, and you can spike them with flax seed, bee pollen and other power boosters for an extra buck or two.

The special cold-pressed juicer, called a Norwalk, is apparently in a back room, but there’s a picture of it on the wall if you are curious about it.

The Norwalk may be a newcomer, but fresh organic fruit and veggie juices, including wheatgrass and green juice, have been available at Four Seasons Natural Foods on Phila Street for many years. Their juice is made while you wait, in a traditional juicer right next to the cafe.

A visit to Saratoga Juice can get pricey, especially if you crave a sandwich or salad with your drink. And it’s definitely better for taking out than hanging out. Besides the two outdoor tables, there are only a few inside seats.

For Saratoga’s yoga people, Skidmore College students and health-minded tourists and townies, it’s yet another welcome business.

Best of all, it’s quick and convenient and open every day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. And so much easier than cranking out your own juice at home.

 

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