Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Alive Juices Review

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Alive Juices
Image Courtesy of Alive Juices
A few weeks ago, Alive Juices reached out to us to see if we'd be interested in sampling a variety of their fresh pressed juices. As an avid juicer myself, I jumped at the opportunity. Each day, I make a fresh juice in my Vitamix; this juice is rich in fiber and does not lose any of the content of the fruit or veggie. Alive Juices, in comparison, are made with a masticating juicer which presses the fruit and vegetables to release the liquid from them. The theory is that the the grinding of the Vitamix causes the fruit/veggies to lose their vitamins and minerals, whereas the masticating juices allows them to retain the nutrients.

I was excited to compare and contrast the experiences. The juices were delivered fresh to my door in adorable mason jars. A word to the wise: make sure you have the juices delivered to a location where you will be present to promptly refrigerate them.  Alive delivers to residences and companies in the DC area.

Now for the flavor reviews. Each Alive Juice is made with a base of the 'Big 4': apples, ginger, garlic, and lemon. Some of the juices tasted more similar to one another than others as the Big 4 flavors were particularly dominant.

The first juice (Big 4, cucumber, celery, spinach, cilantro) actually tasted as if I was drinking a Thai dinner that had been pureed and juiced. In a good way! It was crisp and clean with a good hint of cilantro. This juice was one of my favorites. 

Juice flavors #2 & #4
The second juice (Big 4, carrots, mint) was surprisingly very sweet. Though it was delicious, I couldn't really taste the mint. But, the ginger came through especially strong in this juice.

Juice flavor #3
The third juice (Big 4, romaine lettuce, celery, parsley) was still sweet but had an herby undertone. The color on this juice was less appetizing compared to the other juices. This might not matter to some, but I find that if I like the color of my juice, it's more appealing to drink. The flavor of this was similar to the others, but again it had a more savory than sweet flavor.

The fourth juice (Big 4, carrots, beets, kale, cilantro) had a fantastic deep red color. It sported a tanginess that I found refreshing and different than the other juices. I often find that when I juice with kale in the Vitamix, the flavor is very overwhelming and the consistency is much thicker than normal. With the pressed juice I didn't find that and this juice masked the strong kale flavor.

Juice flavors #5 & #7
The fifth juice (Big 4, romaine lettuce, bokchoy, collards, fennel) was the toughest to swallow, literally. This one was very strong and bitter. It was more challenging to drink in the morning and I think would be better off in the evening.

The sixth juice (Big 4, cucumber, swiss chard, mint) was 'earthy' and had an almost dirt-like taste. Though this might sound off putting, I didn't mind this juice. It was actually a welcome change to the super sweet offerings of the other options.

The seventh juice (Big 4, red cabbage, parsley, watermelon) was sweet with a strong watermelon flavor on the front-end with a hint of parsley on the back. Best way to describe this one is a watermelon jolly rancher.

The eighth juice (Big 4, squash, cilantro, pineapple) was fairly tart. I also found that this juice had the most unique flavor of all 8 juices and the Big 4 flavors came through the least. I'm not convinced pineapple was used in this juice--it tasted more like grapefruit!

If you're looking to get started with juicing or do a cleanse, I would recommend Alive Juices. Not only are they a local company, but they also provide a great product at an excellent value. If you're looking for juices with minimal sugar, Alive Juices now also makes all of their juices available with no fruit.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Donburi and the AdMo Revival

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For those of you who spent your youth and/or your college days in DC, I hope you will share in my excitement in what is looking to be a serious revival for the once-diminishing Adams Morgan neighborhood.
In college, Adams Morgan was THE place to go out. But in those days it was all Tom Toms, the Reef, and Adams Mill - none of which have existed for quite some time now. Probably for good reasons. When I graduated from GW, Adams Morgan was the natural place to move for budding young (but underpaid) professionals. Over the course of that year (2007-08), and in the years since then, AdMo started to slip. I moved to New York and then back to DC in 2011 to find a flourishing restaurant scene in Shaw and Logan Circle, but a mostly undesirable Adams Morgan.

I admit that over the last 3 years I had pretty much given up on AdMo. But recently, with the opening of Sakuramen, Pop's Sea Bar, Johnny Pistola's and now Donburi, my faith in Adam's Morgan has been restored.

Donburi is literally a hole in the wall, but it has the most unbelievable rice bowls topped with goodies like sashimi salmon, fried chicken or pork, or eel. A friend of mine described these as "Japanese comfort food", and I totally get why.

The set up is simple. You wait for a seat at the counter. When one opens up, you place your order with the hostess and then wait for the chefs to assemble your bowl.

Amanda and I decided to first share the Sakedon, which comes topped with sashimi-style raw salmon and the Karaegedon, with fried chicken.  We sat down and were mesmerized by the orderliness of this tiny kitchen. The cooks move at lightening pace making bowls for in-house diners and take-out orders at the same time.  Amidst what should be chaos, there is a jovial atmosphere. The chefs joke with one another as they cook and assemble the ingredients, and seem genuine about sharing their creations with the diners. 

If you are like me, and crave really good (affordable) sushi but have yet to find that place in DC, then you are going to be excited to know that the Sakedon is the best sashimi I have had in DC. Hands down. My jaw literally dropped when I saw the size of the pieces of salmon the chef used to top my bowl. Not to mention the quality of the fish, which was super fresh and tasty.

Next we tried the Karageadon. This was a generous serving of crisp and super juicy fried chicken marinated in mirin and soy for jam-packed flavor, then topped with pickled daikon radishes, jalepeno peppers, shredded nori, and a partially-cooked egg. If you've been reading this blog, you'll know that I think everything is better with an egg on top. For the true experience, stir all of these ingredients together -- it is the ultimate umami bomb.  
The food was amazing at Donburi, and I would have happily paid top dollar for the amazing sashimi and other rice bowls. But the best part is, you don't have to. On average the bowls cost $10-12, making it a budget-friendly option. I can't wait to go back and try the Katsudon (fried pork) and the Ebidon (shrimp).

Welcome back, Adams Morgan!