Green vegetable juice is not consumed so that one can revel in the flavors of muddled kale and raw ginger, rather it is preferred for the health benefits. Juice Core and Original ChopShop Co. each recently opened in Old Town Scottsdale so this was an, um, natural battle.
Juicing is the hottest new health trend. (If you don't believe us, look at your Instagram feed.) The trick to successfully finishing a serving of green juice is finding one that doesn't taste like Miracle-Gro.
And so, we're off . . .
In This Corner: Juice Core: A Micro Juicery Clean Up on Aisle 2
The Setup: No-nonsense 100 percent organic juice bar for seriously healthy people. The space is low-key with a bar and a few stools, an artfully drawn chalkboard menu, and a refrigerator. Clean Up on Aisle 2 claims to be a detoxer with electrolytes and diuretic properties. Cucumber, mint, pineapple, lemon, romaine, and green apple are pressed together to make this juice concoction.
The Good: Clean Up on Aisle 2 is recommended as a primer for the more hardcore juices like Mother Earth and Not for Sissies. The fresh mint is strong enough to camouflage the vegetable taste without overpowering the core ingredients. The minty aftertaste in combination with the pineapple is refreshing. The apple gets lost in the mix of stronger flavors like pineapple, lemon, and mint. Unlike most green juices, this one lacks ginger, which allows other ingredients to shine through. The sleek 16-ounce bottle, which costs $6, is ideal for juice drinking because it can be shaken up and tossed around.
The Bad: Romaine and spinach are best served in solid form, as far as we're concerned, so the liquid consistency was initially jarring. The juice was chartreuse in color, and not particularly appetizing. Separation is natural in fruit juice drinks, so the bottle had to be shaken quite a bit. As the particles fall to the bottom of the bottle, the vegetable flavor becomes more pronounced. (Warning: Green juice is not something that should be consumed at room temperature, so drink immediately or refrigerate, otherwise it's difficult to stomach.)
In the Other Corner: The Original ChopShop Co. Kale Cleanse
The Setup: ChopShop has juices as well as a full menu. During our visit, the place was packed with Lululemon types and, oddly enough, businessmen. The most popular green drink offered is the Kale Cleanse, made up of kale, orange, apple, lime, and ginger. The fruits and veggies come from Washington and aren't entirely organic, but the juice is made on the spot.
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The Good: The Kale Cleanse is fruity and tastes like fresh-squeezed lemonade. Lemons actually are not in the recipe, but the orange-lime combination gave off a citrus flavor. Even ginger, which can overshadow other flavors, took a back seat. The health benefits of a green juice were all present in the ingredients, but the earthy aftertaste was gone here. The 16-ounce cup is biodegradable and only $5.50, which shows a commitment to all things green.
The Bad: Okay, so the cup's eco-friendly, but it's not exactly functional. The juice constantly needed to be shaken because the separation was like a balsamic vinaigrette that just wouldn't cooperate. Efforts to mix the drink are useless, unless you're looking to add a new stain to your shirt. A few cubes of ice topped off the Kale Cleanse, so it was cold on the top and warm on the bottom (requiring even more mixing). The only identifiable flavor was lemon, which isn't even an ingredient.
And the winner is . . . Core Juice's Clean Up on Aisle 2 wins for authenticity and functionality (and we promise we're not talking about a vintage leather purse here). The ChopShop's Kale Cleanse was sweet and easy to gulp down, but it was really more of an accessory to a meal than a solo act. Juice Core's green drink let all of the flavors shine through without compromising our taste buds, or our clothing.