An Open Letter To My Fellow White People At the Juice Bar

Categories: Indigestion
Gustavo Arellano
Dear fellow white people:


Enough with the damn $10 cups of juice.

Enough pretending to be dedicated to local, organic, sustainable food when you then turn around and order a glass of can-you-even-still-call-it-juice with lúcuma from Peru, açaí from Brazil, mangosteen from Thailand, spirulina and chlorella from God only knows where, and a whole host of African spices and roots. Some of these juice bars have so many bizarre powders they look like a steampunk apothecary by way of a Kowloon subway station.

The juicing phenomenon (the kind you drink, not the kind you inject) has gotten ridiculous. Three-day juice cleanses that can run tabs of $50 or more per day? That's not a detox program, that's an enema for your wallet. 

I bought a beautiful glass of juice this weekend. It had beets, carrots, pineapple, celery and orange in it. It really hit the spot, all eight swigs of it. Of course, because I bought it from a fancy juice bar, it cost $5 for what I estimate was 8 fluid ounces of juice--just slightly larger than a second-grader's Juicy Juice box. Of course, it wasn't made to order: it came out of a case and I was personally reassured it was fresh.

I bought another beautiful glass of juice this morning. It had beets, carrots, celery and orange in it, though no pineapple. I didn't have to worry about whether it was fresh, because the lady who owned the juice bar took out beets, carrots, celery, and oranges and juiced it right there in front of me. Of course, she called it a vampiro, because I was standing in one of the dozens, if not hundreds, of places that sell juice to a chiefly Latino clientele. The difference? This juice, which came in a 24-ounce cup (with ice), cost $3.65.

If you're going to juice and you don't have the machinery at home to do it, the place to start is the juice bars of Anaheim, Santa Ana, Orange and Garden Grove--and while we're at it, Little Saigon has plenty of places for fresh fruit and juice too. The one near my house is called Brianna's; right across State College is another one called Natural. They're absolutely everywhere in central Orange County and even down in Lake Forest: just look for the telltale sign that says "JUGOS NATURALES". When in doubt, check the local Latino supermarket: many of them have juice counters that rival Whole Foods, at half the price or less.

Most of them sell all sorts of good things to eat, too: biónicos and escamochas and their relatives, chopped fresh fruit topped with your choice of cottage cheese or homemade yogurt cream, with granola and coconut and raisins; many of them sell ezquites, corn chopped off the cob and dressed with your choice of toppings, from crema to lime and chile powder. Brianna's even sells a vegetable cup that has shredded beets and carrots and cucumbers in it. You can buy a huge bowl of fruit with lime and chile powder on Fourth Street of downtown Santa Ana for $6.

Is it really worth three times as much money to be surrounded almost exclusively by people who look like you?

Buen provecho.

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