Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Commodity Juicery

I recently took up an invitation from Commodity Juicery here in Vancouver for a menu tasting to check out their assortment of vegan juices, smoothies, and food options. The bright, cute little shop in the Riley Park neighbourhood on Fraser has seating for just 5-6 people--most of the space is taken up by their open prep/kitchen area, and a majorly impressive giant juicing machine.

I invited my brother and SIL along for company and to gather extra feedback. Although we all enjoy eating fruits and vegetables, none of us specifically seek to "eat healthy" or "clean", so I knew this would be an interesting experience.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver
The fridge was full of fresh lemons and limes, which I may or may not have co-opted to stage this photo :P
So why drink juice? I did a little research and came across what I feel are impartial articles (here, here, and here) i.e. not trying to sell you some brand of juicer or blender. TL;DR: it's a way to get vitamins and minerals, which some believe are absorbed more readily because your body doesn't need to break down solid stuff to get to it--this doesn't necessarily mean juices are healthier than eating whole foods though. You do, however, miss out on the dietary fibre and "filling" feeling that consuming fruits/veg whole or in a smoothie would provide. The other thing to be careful of is that juices made entirely from fruits have a lot of sugar in them. (Almost all of Commodity's juices contain a veg component, so no worries there!)

Commodity Juicery Vancouver
Juices are $10 CAD / 16 oz and all made in-house with the giant juicing machine. The machine uses cold-pressing (squishing all the juice out of fruits and veg) rather than blending and straining the juice out. It's explained to us that the heat generated from using centrifugal force can deteriorate some nutrients, which is why Commodity uses only cold-pressing techniques. Mylks ($12) are also available; the term seems to be a catch-all for all liquids made from nuts, such as cashews or almonds. I tried a sample of the almond mylk that's used in the Cheeky Monkey smoothie and was surprised at the very neutral taste.

01 Sweet Greens is made from pineapple, kale, romaine, cilantro, green apple, and lime. The juices all have a sweetness rating out of 5 (I've noticed the rating system on the website is different from the menu board in-store though), and Sweet Greens is the sweetest (5.0). This is a great pick if you are new to juices or don't like the taste of veggies, since you mostly just taste the pineapple.

02 All Greens is made from kale, romaine, ginger, cucumber, celery, and other vegetables, but no fruits at all. Understandably, it is the least sweet at a 2.0. This is the most "healthy-tasting" of the ones we tried; it definitely tastes like you are drinking this for health purposes only LOL. It tastes mainly of cucumber and celery.

04 Bright Greens is made from romaine, cucumber, parsley, kale, green apple, celery, and lemon. This one was okay too, and in between Sweet Greens and All Greens in terms of sweetness.

08 Orange Roots is made from carrot, turmeric, apple, and lemon. It's a 3.0 in sweetness and has a very slight bitter note from the turmeric. This was one of my favourite juices.

10 Sunrise is made from grapefruit, apple, lime, and mint. It has such a pretty pink-red colour, which I'm told is achieved by adding a little beet juice. You'd think this would be one of the tastier ones because it's fruits and mint, but it wasn't one of my favourites. I liked the tartness, but there's also a strong bitterness from the grapefruit that I didn't like.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver Cheeky Monkey
Cheeky Monkey smoothie
We also tried the Healthy G smoothie ($9 / 20 oz). This is the most popular item on Commodity Juicery's menu, made with kale, banana, spinach, avocado, cucumber, parsley, cilantro, ginger, spirulina, dates, and apple juice. Most of Commodity's smoothies use their in-house, cold-pressed apple juice instead of water for flavour and nutritional value. I expected it to be a little too heavy for my tastes because of the avocado and banana, but I liked it: it was refreshing and not too thick. It also has a slight kick at the end from the ginger.

Cheeky Monkey smoothie is apparently popular with kids, with kid-friendly ingredients like peanut butter and banana in an almond mylk base. The strongest taste is the banana; cocoa nibs give a hint of chocolate, and the dates add a slight sweetness, but overall it's surprisingly not as sweet as I expected. The three of us agreed that we all preferred the Healthy G, actually.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver Kale Caesar
If you want to have your veggies whole, Commodity also has a few meal options. The Kale Caesar is a vegan kale/romaine salad with a cashew-based dressing that's similar in texture to maybe a light mayonnaise. It's topped with Commodity's house "rawmesan", which is made from sunflower, flax, and pumpkin seeds, plus a healthy dose of garlic powder. This salad has major garlic in it! You know when something is super garlicky, it's actually slightly spicy? Kale Caesar has that, and being a garlic lover, I liked it a lot.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver Kale Caesar
I generally like my kale cooked; raw kale can have a tough, unpleasant texture for me (although I recently learned the secret may be to massage it lots beforehand!) Happily, I didn't have that problem at all with the Kale Caesar, so I really enjoyed the salad. We all agreed it was one of our favourite Commodity food items.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver Masala Bowl
The Masala Bowl is full of raw vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, as well as sprouted lentils. The creamy dressing has a very mild curry flavour, and I liked that there was just enough dressing without being soggy or dripping. The veggies had a satisfying crunch, but one of the ingredients (a lentil, I think) had an intensely bitter taste; based on that I probably wouldn't order this one in the future.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver Masala Bowl
Commodity Juicery Vancouver Sesame Donburi
Sesame Donburi has a lot of the same ingredients as the Masala Bowl (sprouted lentils, cabbage), but thankfully lacks that strange bitter ingredient! On the side was Commodity's "raw ryce", a combination of finely-minced cauliflower, zucchini, and carrot that adds a starch-like component to the dish.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver Sesame Donburi
The dressing is made from tamari, apple cider vinegar, and ginger juice. (FYI tamari is a byproduct of making miso paste; it has a similar umami flavour to soy sauce, but less salty.) This dressing is so good. It's flavourful, with a strong ginger kick. I would eat anything and everything with this dressing. Sesame Donburi was my favourite, even over the Kale Caesar.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver Kale Chips
There's also snacks such as kale chips ($5 for a bag). These were chili lime-flavoured, and my SIL and I loved the slight spiciness and sourness. Commodity makes these with a dehydrator rather than baking them in an oven. They're not as crispy as a kale chip baked in an oven, but you also don't get sad burned bits either.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver Zucchini Chips
We also tried the zucchini chips, which have been Commodity's popular alternative to kale chips. These are sour cream and onion-flavoured; cashews were used for the sour cream flavour, so these are still vegan! My brother loved these. They're crisp and not tough or chewy.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver
Seed macaroon (below) and almond butter carob bar (above)
There are also some sweeter items for a dessert-like option that still has nutritional value. The seed macaroons and almond butter carob bars uses dates for sweetness, rather than refined sugar. The result is a milder sweetness, but for my candy-eating, nutritionally void-loving palette, neither quite satisfied my sweet tooth. The seed macaroon contains no nuts, which is great for those with nut allergies.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver
Live moss panels along the wall add a big punch of green decor to the white space here
Okay, so am I a juice convert? I really enjoyed my visit to Commodity and could see myself coming back for a couple items on the menu. The juices seem to be a good option to easily add vitamins and minerals to my diet without having to sit down and eat a proper meal. The Healthy G smoothie was tasty and would be a lot more filling if I was hungry. I also really enjoyed the Kale Caesar and Sesame Donburi! They were satisfying and my SIL and I agreed that we could eat those as meals for days and days without getting sick of them.

I'd also come back to try the Matcha Mylk (cashews, almonds, matcha, maple syrup, vanilla) or Coffee Mylk (almonds, dates, coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, Himalayan salt). These were out of stock during my visit, due to a surprise big order that day.

Commodity also offers cleanse programs, some of which include smoothies and meals, not just juices. I can't see myself taking on a cleanse any time soon, but if I did, I would definitely want some kind of food and dietary fibre going into my body to feel satiated.

Commodity Juicery Vancouver

Commodity Juicery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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