I have to make a confession. I'm a vegan. Every minute of the day that I'm not on the clock as a food critic, I've been pounding vegetables and soy protein at a feverish pace. It's all in response to the diet this job has imposed on me -- an endless cycle of burgers, steaks and other meats covered in buttery sauces or cheese. At least five nights a week I'm inhaling the stuff, and that's after I've eaten lunch. So when I'm not working, I crave greens like you wouldn't believe. I've even started juicing. It's getting weird.
Which is why I know about Buda Juice, a new juice store that opened up in the West Village earlier this summer, after opening a first location in Plano. The West Village version has a modest storefront, painted completely off-white and well lit so a few apples and other green things on shelves explode with vibrant color.
And then there's the fridge.
Unlike most juice companies, Buda Juice uses glass bottles exclusively. Co-owner Horatio Lonsdale-Hands claims the plastic bottles other juice companies use can leach chemicals into the products. Glass is certainly less permeable, but it also has another added advantage over plastic: It's sparkly.
The double-door fridge is fronted with shiny glass bottles, perched like dazzling gems. There are purplish reds, vivid forest-greens and an orange that would make the world's most popular crayon. It's a beautiful thing to behold, and in truth you feel a little more healthy just looking at the fridge. How could you not reach in and --
Well, cost could be one deterrent. A 16-ounce juice set me back $11, far more than I have paid for any juice, ever. It was enough to make all those colorful bottles fade a touch, but then I took a sip and everything came back into focus. This stuff is really good.
The green juice -- the sort I usually only drink because I know it is good for me -- has just enough apple included to round out any bitter flavors from all those greens. And at the same time it's not used so heavily that the whole bottle becomes akin to the sugary juice boxes I used to suck on as a kid. A dash of ginger adds a peppery pop and the silty characteristic I've noted in other juices is also missing. This stuff is smooooooth.
And it's 11 bucks.
But there are some things to consider. For one, those glass bottles cost more than plastic ones, and they're also refillable. If you bring a bottle back you get $1 off of your next bottle. Lonsdale-Hands hasn't worked through all the details, though. I pounded a juice right there in the store and returned the empty bottle, but there was no way to keep track of the credit when I returned. I guess customers will end up with a few glass bottles clanking around on the floor boards of their Mercedes on the way to the gym. Still, if you play along, you can get the cost of a large juice down to $10.
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There's also the whole organic thing, which is a surprising differentiator. For all the wellness most juice companies tout, you'd think they would only press organic fruits and vegetables. It turns out that most of them don't. And I think that could have something to do with the vibrant flavors I experienced at Buda.
If you're ready to commit, Buda Juice is ready to take your money. You can order five-days-worth as a Buda Cleanse, which will set you back $325. That's a lot of juice. But that's a lot of wellbeing, too.
One thing I know: After five days of drinking my breakfast, lunch and dinner, my lust for burgers would enthusiastically return. Maybe this is the way to treat food critics who feel like they're in a bit of a rut? With bacon and cheese, please?
Buda Juices, 3699 McKinney Avenue, Suite 318, budajuice.com