Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Robeks Review

The Joys of Juicing

According to Forbes, DC is the second healthiest city in the United States (just behind Minneapolis, MN.) Evidently, you don't get healthy living on burgers, fries and pizzas alone (uh-oh.) One easy way to stay fit & trim is via juicing, an art form perfected by local liquefier Robeks. We spent some time sampling some surprisingly delicious juices, smoothies and shots at their downtown (Connecticut & L) location; and came away with the following critique...

First off, let it be known that I make my own smoothies every morning (blueberries, cranberry juice, flaxseed, water, yogurt and a special Greens SuperFood.) They're healthy and refreshing, and considering the food I eat for this website alone... downright essential to my survival. One problem with at-home smoothies is making them. It takes discipline and patience (most folks hate cleaning blenders.) Enter Robeks, who (literally) takes away all the dirty work, leaving you with the sole responsibility of enjoying your drink.

Last month, Robeks rolled out four new seasonal flavors (three smoothies and one shot.) The smoothies are universally tasty, beginning with my new favorite Sweet Sunshine. Its' ingredients are unique for sure; but trust me, it's really good. It's a raw smoothie made with fresh parsley & grapes, frozen pineapple and apple juice. The pineapple really comes through, and be warned... ice cream headache ahead. Sip it slow.

Sweet Sunshine

Next up, the Fall Harvest, a nutrient-rich juice with grapes, parsley, kale, apple, carrot and beet. Sounds healthy; but it's surprisingly sweet (you taste mostly apples and grapes) and the beet gives it a rich, warm color.

Fall Harvest

“Robeks customers want food that is fresh and at its absolute peak, and these seasonal menu items let us bring our customers as close to the fields as possible,” CEO Steve Davidson said. “Robeks never uses preservatives, so we often freeze ripe fruits and vegetables to preserve flavor and nutrition. The great thing about seasonal items is that they don’t even need to be frozen — they are as fresh as if you had picked them off the vine yourself.”

I wasn't as impressed with Crisp Kiwi, a blend of kiwi, parsley, apple and cucumber. Yes, it's creamy; but I struggled to past a few sips. I'm not a big fan of cucumber, so who knows... maybe it's just me.

Crisp Kiwi

With cold season just around the corner, take note of the Fresh Parsley & Fresh Grapes Shot, a revitalizing jolt of antioxidants, vitamins A and C with a sweet grape flavor. You know the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away?" This is the new apple.

Fresh Parsley & Fresh Grapes Shot

As far as buzz goes, you won't do better than Robeks' Wheat Grass Shot, made with fresh wheat grass. Available in 1 oz. ($2.99) or 2 oz. ($4.99) portions, you get either 2.5 or five pounds of green veggies with each shot. That's some serious green. According to franchise owner Christopher Chang, it already accounts for 1-3% of his sales and requires quick consumption. 'It loses 50% of its potency within five minutes,' notes Chang. Drinking it fast helps a lot, when it comes to taste too. I didn't mind it; but if you're looking for sweetness, go elsewhere. For people who don't get enough greens though, I highly recommend it.

Wheat Grass Shot

Fan Favorites (Strawnana Berry, The Hummingbird and Mahalo Mango) remain the top sellers... accounting for 20-30% of business; but I was extra impressed with one of 10 Performance drinks, the Açaí Energizer. Its' blend of antioxidant rich açaí and soy protein gives you an immediate (5-minutes) boost, that's great an hour after lunch... when most folks start to get sluggish. It has a slushy, smoothie texture with a berry flavor. Other options: Age Buster, Heart Health and frozen weight busters (Berry Slim and Venice Burner.) Don't you love the names?

Açaí Energizer

My last sip (at least inside, I took the Sweet Sunshine home with me) was an Açaí/Lemon Shot, which is good for your skin (read benefits of lemons here.) Not so hot taste-wise (very lemony) but it's a small sip... and you can always chase it down with something sweeter.

Açaí/Lemon Shot

I did a lot of drinking in less than 30 minutes. Ulysus, Robeks' friendly mixologist seemed impressed by my ability to drink a lot: He should see me take down a plate of burgers! The staff here (including Chris and Jeanie) are all friendly and knowledgable. I learned so much while I was there; and more importantly, got motivated to put better things into my body... better tasting things. There's an almost endless array of choices, and even the customers come up with new twists to add to existing drinks.

You get the feeling that if you came here every day for a month, you'd weigh less, look better and feel dynamite. Sounds awful, doesn't it? Robeks has two shops in DC (the other is near Tenleytown Metro at 4523 Wisconsin Ave., NW) and 17 more throughout the Metropolitan area. Juice up!