Tales from a Juice Cleanse

I’m radiant! I’m full of energy! JK, I want a cheeseburger.
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So green. So juicy.

Is there anything more disgustingly cliché than embarking on a juice cleanse in January? Well, if you saw the amount of butter I consumed over the holidays—an alarming quantity, even given the indulgences required by my job—you’d say it was justified.

So last week, I blocked three days out of my normal eating and drinking schedule to dedicate myself to Juicebox. I have never before done anything like this.

Worth noting: Juicebox isn’t the only option, whether you’re looking for a single post-workout green juice or enough for a full cleanse. At $200 for a three-day supply, it’s definitely not the cheapest (by comparison, the Juicy Café is $185, Pressed is on sale right now for $99 from $129, Jars Juice is $108), but I know the produce there is seasonal and organic and I figured if you’re gonna do this… go big? 

Anyway, I started this with a lot of expectations. I expected to feel hungry and headachy, followed by smugly virtuous and refreshed. The reality was something different. Six juices a day is a lot of liquid to put down. In fact, I didn’t make it through all six any of the days, probably due to my own poor planning—I didn’t take them with me when I was out running around. Still, at no point was I desperately hungry. I only had a minor headache once, though I was tired for days one and two.

Did I ever miss food, though. I found myself lusting after my Instagram account—admittedly full of food porn—like Sylvester eyes Tweety. In fact, it became evident about halfway through day one that I was going to have to give up social media completely to successfully complete this mission. The rest of my life couldn’t be put on hold. I was still scrambling eggs for my kids, writing about food for work, watching TV full of sugary cereal commercials (boy do I want some Cinnamon Toast Crunch now). 

The taste of the juice was… totally adequate. I’m not a fan of celery (I know) and was mildly disappointed that the two heartiest green juices had a pretty prominent celery flavor. Still, I made it a goal to get through those each day, since I figured green was the most vital to cleansing my system (I have no scientific reasoning to back this up). I really enjoyed the carrot, orange and turmeric juice, and saved that for each evening. I drank the almond milk with cocoa nibs, cinnamon and cayenne in the afternoon, assuming the protein would help pick me up in that 3 p.m. slump (again, no scientific proof).

At the end of this experiment, I didn’t feel blindingly radiant and joyous, which kind of bummed me out. I lost about 6 pounds, but I’m guessing they’ll be back as I start eating real food again. I think the most valuable thing I got out of it was a recalibration—I realized how little food I actually need to feel full, and that I don’t need such aggressive salty and sweet flavors to be satiated. We could all benefit from not being a slave to our impulses for a few days, right?

Would I do it again? I’d love to do a one-day cleanse more frequently—I think it’s a more reasonable undertaking for my schedule (not to mention cheaper) and a welcome resetting after a spate of gluttony. For now, I’m just real happy to be reacquainted with my morning coffee. 

Three Impressions of Sovereign

Three Impressions of Sovereign

AJ is a fan of the underground bar
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The Black on Gold cocktail at Sovereign

One of my favorite spots from my drinking youth, Auntie Mae’s in Manhattan Kansas, was 75% below street level, and since then I’ve always loved underground bars. There’s something wonderfully clandestine about entering a bar at street level, then proceeding down. All that activity above, all those people walking by. I recently had a chance to go with my wife into the newer (it opened in late September, from the same folks who own and run The Forge Lounge) Pioneer Square bar Sovereign, which is in the basement of the Maynard Building, to see if it rose to the level of other great subterranean bars. Here are three impressions from the visit.

The Drinks: When walking in, we were excited to see Cara Stuber making drinks behind the barwe always dug her cocktails when she was at Bar Noroeste. Sovereign has eight selections on the mixed drink menu, including house creations like the Black on Gold, which combines hotsmoke bourbon (bourbon infused with chili and smoke), apricot, lemon and crystalized ginger. The citrus and apricot pairing, with undertones of smoke and spice, was like a spring afternoon at dusk. They had one of my favorite local cocktail inventions on the menu, too, The Trident, originally put together by genius local cocktail guru Robert “Drink Boy” Hess. It’s an herbal and spice masterpiece, with sherry, Italian amaro Cynar, aquavit and peach bitters all bringing layers of flavor. You’ll also find a tight, but well put together, list of wine and beer, and a punch that changes seasonally.

The Food: You won’t unearth an expansive menu of edibles, but what’s available is a great balance between snacks for while you sip and a few larger items. There’s a section of Table Bread that’s awfully fun, especially the Faux Gras. This veggie spread of walnuts, lentils, and mushroomserved like all the spreads with either a Grand Central baguette or gluten free crackershad a beautifully substantial texture and an earthy nuttiness offset perfectly by accompanying whole grain mustard. There are trios of baguette sandwiches and deviled eggs on the menu, and the latter contains a rotating seasonal option; when we were there it was chicken curry. For those with bigger appetites another trio of larger Specials is available, with the Sticky Jerk Chicken, coming with a side of sweet potatoes, a hit so far.

The Space: As mentioned, you walk down a set of stairs to get into the Sovereign, which is darn cool. The rest of the space is cool, too, with an art nouveau essence that adds personality without becoming affectation. A trio (they love trios!) of antique chandeliers, delicate sconce lights and artsy accents over doors, tiled ceilings, and a William Morris-esque print wallpaper would be at home in 1924 on a few walls. The bar itself, where I suggest you sit to interact with friendly shakers like Cara, is marble topped, with 12 low-backed bar stools, while the main area is split into two sections with wooden topped tables and wood chairs, a couple low slung comfy chairs, and lots of space for standing. That space is good, because the Sovereign is already developing a crowd of neighborhood and post-work regulars, and starting to be noticed by the pre-and-post game sports crowd.