Taste Test: Juice


Photograph by Anna Jones/OMS

If you flipped through the front of the magazine, you probably gathered that Team Dine did a lot of eating—not to mention drinking—for research. It seemed serendipitous that Off the Vine juice bar opened in OTR just as we were wrapping up our reviews and trying to shrug off the effects of over-indulging, causing this editor to cry out, “A two-day juice cleanse—perfect!”

Friday, 6:45 a.m. I open the refrigerator—leftover baklava! My heart drops: the juice cleanse starts today.

9:02 Veg Out: I didn’t have high flavor expectations, but this green juice tastes like a salad on steroids.

10:57 Caffeine headache; I’m useless. Dunkin’ Donuts. Medium, black. Don’t judge.

Noon Sung Korean Bistro to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday. I wrestle with self-control as I eye a steaming bowl of kimchi chigae soup. I sip cups of corn tea while the others dig in.

2:07 p.m. I pop open a Glow, touted as a skin brightener. Bonus—it tastes like Tang!

2:22 Spending a lot of time in the loo. For each juice I consume, I’m supposed to be matching it with water. While there, I peek in the mirror—sadly, no discernible glow.

4:09 Rockin Roots: It’s a good thing I like beets.

5:30 Hungry, tired, and cranky—I should be drinking a glass of wine right now. I sip a Spicy Citrus and realize it would make an ideal vinaigrette for the asparagus that I’m about to grill. I pour half into a Mason jar and add garlic, pepper flakes, fresh mint, and olive oil. I reach for the next juice, All About the Benjamins but am unimpressed. I prep a cedar plank salmon: The rest of my family still has to eat. Juice cleanse protocol says I can have some greens if I absolutely have to—duh.

7:46 ’Nilla nut milk. I’m not big on milk, but my young son slurps down what he calls “the milkshake.”

Saturday 6:48 a.m.
I wake up feeling well-rested and hydrated. I crack open a Veg Out and look forward to my next Glow.

9:30 It’s Glow time! Two sips in, I unload the dishwasher. I turn around to an empty bottle and a 4-year-old who declares: “Juice cleanses are really fun, Mom.” Yeah.

11:00 Monthly Costco run. We stock up on Pellegrino, cashews, baby cucumbers, and shampoo. I avoid the meatball samples.

Noon My son reminds me that we always split a jumbo all-beef hot dog from the deli. Good hotdogs—especially ones slathered in spicy mustard, relish, and onions—are my jam. I cave immediately and savor every bite.

12:43 I drink most of a Rockin’ Roots. My teeth pink, I chase my son around making monster sounds.

2:03 We drive the quarter mile to the playground—bathroom proximity is a real concern.

5:14 I drink a Spicy Citrus while folding a load of laundry and watching The Pink Panther Strikes Again. Does the solid food fast end at midnight or once I’ve consumed all the juice?

5:59 As a pot of shrimp Creole simmers, I sip the last green Benjamins juice. I’ve given my son the ’Nilla milk (too creamy) to wash down some blueberries as he waits for dinner. I probably won’t need a cleanse for a while, but on the whole the juice tasted good going down.

"At first we focused on traditional flavor combinations, but now we’re getting a little more adventurous.”
“At first we focused on traditional flavor combinations, but now we’re getting a little more adventurous.”

Photograph by Anna Jones/OMS

Anatomy of a Juice Bar

Core Pilates instructor Cydney Rabe finally got tired of waking up early to prep and blend a day’s worth of juices to take to her OTR studio. Her solution: Open a juice bar just up the street—a bright and airy space lined with white subway tile and filled with wire baskets of produce and pots of succulents. Rabe and business partner Annie McKinney did extensive recipe testing. “Our recipes are really important,” Rabe says. “It’s why we can’t just whip up a juice on the spot. At first we focused on traditional flavor combinations, but now we’re getting a little more adventurous.” McKinney finds that technique is significant. “We’ve also changed the way we press our citrus, with much better results.” They offer eight custom juice blends along with three nut milks, and while the 8 and 16 ounce bottles aren’t cheap—$7 and $10 respectively—each bottle is packed with a surprising amount of fruits and vegetables. The empty glass bottles can also be returned for recycling with a store credit of $.50 for the large and $.25 for the small. Think you’re up for their six-juice-per-day cleanse? Call ahead to order and prepay the $55 per day.

Off the Vine, 1218 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 305-6020, otvcincinnati.com

Originally published in the March 2015 issue.

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