Apples, Beets, & Kale – Oh My!

I was fortunate enough to work at Harmless Harvest for nearly two years – to this day I’m humbled by the amount of trust and responsibility the founders granted me.  Being able to say I worked for Harmless Harvest, the darling of the organic (& raw) food & beverage industry, opened doors for me and instantly provided a topic of conversation with whomever I ran across.

You learn quickly in the food & beverage industry that a) everyone knows everyone (or at the very least they talk) and, b) many people aren’t in the business merely to turn a profit – some, if not most, owners truly believe deeply in their product and care greatly about their customers.  While I could talk for days about Harmless Harvest, one company, in particular, captured by attention.

The Juice Shop

I met Charlie, one of the owners of The Juice Shop, during my Harmless Harvest days while making a delivery to the Real Foods Co. in the Marina.  They’d just opened a little shoebox-sized kiosk on Union St. featuring an awesome handcrafted wooden sign.  We started chatting and he shared the story behind The Juice Shop (which you can find here); The Juice Shop is family-owned and it’s not uncommon to find one of the brothers manning the shop.

They offer various juices and cleanses including: Coco-Chlorophyll, Bright Green, Liver Green, Pineapple Pear Chia, Beta Beet, Beta Green, Apple Lemon Ginger, Lemon-Aid, & Almond Drink.  The juices share ingredients commonly found in most healthy, raw juices such as: apples, kale, ginger, spinach, carrots, and lemons.

The Juice Shop - Bright Green
The Juice Shop – Bright Green

My absolute two favorites were the Pineapple Pear Chia & Bright Green (shown above).  The Pineapple Pear Chia tastes amazing – sweet, but not overwhelmingly so while the chia just adds a little something to the texture; of course, those not fans of chia seeds or tapioca-esque texture may want to try something else.  The Bright Green is perfect as it’s not too vegetable-heavy (the pineapple and apple do their job well) and is the perfect way to ease your way into more “advance” green juices such as the (A+) Deep Green.  If you’re debating whether or not to try raw juices (or cleanses), the Juice Shop is a perfect way to dip your toes into the figurative water.

I’ve watched them grow from their small shop to five locations throughout San Francisco and Marin; my favorite location is their (now-permanent?) pop up in the PROXY (Hayes Valley, SF).  They truly care about the product and their customers, many locations greet regulars by name, and I cannot wait to see where they go next.


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Baking: The Perfect Yellow (Vanilla) Cake

I’ve always loved Smitten Kitchen’s blog and spent many a nights salivating over her beautifully photographed dishes and desserts.

In anticipation of RethinkDB’s 1.15 release, I decided to attempt her “Best Birthday Cake” recipe as we have a tradition of having “Release Cake” here at the office.  Usually I’d resort to the every-trusty Whole Foods Market to satisfy the office’s cake needs but I figured I’d try something new.  In the interest of full disclosure, I was a little lazy and used store bought frosting/Nutella instead of tackling her Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting recipe; one new recipe was enough experimenting for one night.

Yellow (Vanilla) Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Yellow (Vanilla) Cake with Chocolate Frosting

I followed Deb’s recipe down to the tee except, I was a little impatient and didn’t wait for the butter to soften sufficiently before blending in the sugar.  The result?  My boyfriend walking over, whilst sniffing the air, asking, “what is that smell?” The answer? My poor, slightly overworked ancient electric hand mixer.  Other than that snafu, the rest of her recipe was simple and easy to follow resulting in two 8in. round cakes that rose a little too much for my liking. Any hints as to how I can help my cake not rise so much in the oven? It was easily fixed by trimming with a knife so that the sides lined up perfectly.

The recipe calls for a chocolate sour cream frosting that doubles as the filling.  Since a) I was too lazy to attempt the frosting, and for lack of a food processor, and b) I didn’t want to go overboard on chocolate, I decided to experiment with Nutella.  I used store bought Duncan Hines chocolate frosting for the…frosting and Nutella for the filling.  It seems the hazelnutty-ness of the Nutella nicely tempers out the sweetness of the chocolate frosting.  Of course, to top it all off I had to use rainbow sprinkles — I think next time I’ll plan ahead and make nonpareils to use my decorative topping.

Overall, I’d say this recipe turned out absolutely delightful — I can see this becoming my go-to when I need a cake without needing to make an extra trip to the grocery store as the recipe only calls for nine (9) ingredients, of which only one, buttermilk, is not a staple in my kitchen.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Share them! I’d love to hear.

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