I like to think I'm fairly equal-opportunity in my love of all things edible, but I've got a list of hard-wired obsessions, and I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about them, talking about them and searching for them. For instance, I'll drive hours out of my way for Asian noodle soups like pho and ramen. I spend weekend mornings hunting down new sources of farm-fresh eggs that come from chickens who get to frolic in fields and forage for grubs (it makes the yolks better, really). I think I would perish without ice cream and bitter liqueurs, though I don't usually like to consume both at the same time. I find intense joy in a well-made cappuccino. And I really love a good juice.
The problem with that last one, though, is that it's a taste cultivated through traveling in countries where you can buy freshly made juice straight from a roadside stand. Having someone toss tropical fruits into a blender for you and produce what tastes like liquid happiness and sunshine is way, way different than buying a sad bottle of Tropicana from a sterile grocery-store shelf.
So I bitch about the lack of juice in this country. Frequently. And when I was doing this recently, a friend turned to me and told me, in so many words, to shut up and go to Parsley.
Jason Bailey opened Parsley in the Golden Triangle back in 2008, giving the neighborhood a spot that's mostly vegetarian, mostly organic and very green -- literally: That's the color the walls are painted. The eatery also has a rooftop garden, and composts and recycles so carefully that you'll wonder guiltily whether you messed the whole system up by tossing your straw wrapper into the wrong bin. A gander at Parsley's website reveals that Bailey has meditated on what it means to be green (and explains, too, why he doesn't advertise).
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Meat-eater though I definitely am, I'd been a fan of Parsley's veggie sandwiches for a while; the hummus, made with spice-tinged green-chile hummus, cucumber, red onion, tomato and spinach on crusty ciabatta, has been a regular go-to healthy lunch and one of the only things that can override my carnivorous tendencies, at least for a meal. But until pointed out by my friend, I'd largely ignored the juice and smoothie menu.
Mistake. Because Parsley is obsessed with wholesomeness, it makes juice the right way: to-order and with absolutely fresh produce. The vegetable juices really shine; the sweet, earthy carrot and mint is particularly refreshing, and I like the carrot and apple with ginger, which has some real zip. I've started drinking my way through the smoothie menu, too, and quickly found that the Chai tea banana smoothie, punched up by almonds, is probably the best excuse in town to liquefy your lunch.
They're not tropical fruit juice from a roadside stand, but Parsley's juices still kind of taste like sunshine and happiness.