The cold-pressed juice craze, plus fennel gelato and other local tidbits
Juice. It rules our breakfasts. And here’s why. Like many of you, I have been devoted to fresh organic juices, such as Odwalla products, ever since Greg Steltenpohl and his merry band of progressive innovators started up in Davenport many years ago. Finally, genuine orange juice was available, good enough to obliterate childhood memories of, ugh, frozen Minute Maid, or bottled Tropicana. Bless ’em, the latter two products were orange, and they had a citrus-themed flavor, but that’s where it ended. Odwalla was, as far as I was concerned, the industry standard—until I tasted my first glass of Evolution cold-pressed orange juice. The cold-pressed bit is the important part—listen up: Just as cold-pressing encourages the vitality and flavor authenticity of olive oil, so too with citruses and other fruit and veggie juices. No heat pasteurization to knock back the flavor. High pressure processing keeps everything nutrient-, flavor- and color-intensive until you drink it up.
Evolution’s fruit comes from the West—sources range from Salinas down to Yuma—so it doesn’t travel very far to get to us. Evolution makes many organic juices, and all their products are non-GMO verified (save one.) If you’ve ever squeezed oranges into a glass and consumed the sweet-tangy results, then you know the taste of Evolution orange juice. It is uncanny how fresh-squeezed it tastes. Cold-pressed juices are trending right now and this is why: They use every last molecule of the fruit, and there’s no heat involved to damage flavor. The fresh raw ingredients are pressed under huge amounts (tons!) of pressure, so that all of the flavor and nutrients are extracted. That’s what you’re tasting in Evolution juices. And that’s also why they are pricier than some other juices. Evolution drinks range from a competitive $3.39-ish for organic orange juice to $4.49 for the exceptional grapefruit and $6.50 for the green drinks. Tangerine is my favorite flavor, but we also crave the slightly tart, very intense Organic Sweet Greens with Ginger drink—involving cold-pressed cucumber, spinach, apples, lemon, lime, ginger, and celery. The more complicated the creation, the more expensive. To many taste buds, the results are well worth it. Taste one of these Evolution drinks, and be convinced.
Gabriella Cafe features free corkage as well as exciting specials every Thursday. At Soif the other evening, Angela and I toasted our birthdays with those tiny lamb and cumin meatballs, and a cheese platter joined by flutes of pale coral-hued Crémont d’Alsace rosé. Still awesome, is the lunch menu at Ivéta, where we recently split fat ciabatta rolls topped with ham, cheese, avocado and spicy aioli. Yes, I did have that addictive gluten-free Fudgy cookie for dessert. A recent dinner at La Posta put us in touch with a flight of Sicilian reds, including a stellar Calabretta Etna Rosso—the volcanic minerals of Mount Etna haunting every sip. That same evening, celebrating yet more birthdays, we also sampled a memorable antipasto of shaved Brussels sprouts, tossed with lemon, pistachios and pecorino. My main dish of long, finger-like garganelli pasta was strewn with pork sausage, cauliflower, cavolo nero and very crisp breadcrumbs. Dreamy and inspired. A gelato of fennel and another of rhubarb put the right finish on the evening. Now that the big opening crush has died down a bit up at Cremer House, I’m ready to make a visit to sample the brews and the companion dishes. Stay tuned. And speaking of breweries, expect an opening any minute now of the Corralitos Brewing Company, out on Freedom Boulevard, but then you probably guessed that already.
PHOTO: Cold-pressed juices like Evolution encourages the vitality and flavor authenticity, as well as valuable nutrients.