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First Bite

First Look: Brewed + Pressed

You might need some raw, organic, vegan, cold-pressed, activated-almond love.
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Part of a West Village that’s looking more and more like L.A. every minute—specifically the sandy-sunny ocean stretches of Santa Monica and Venice, where everyone is sun-tanned and vital—Brewed + Pressed has quietly been carrying out its cold-pressed, obsessively organic existence over the last year.

The place serves a menu of smoothies, tonics, and nut milks, as well a cold case of plant-based sweets and savories. Juices are full of kale and spinach, not packed with sweet, masking fruit juices. It is the most L.A. of all the Dallas juice spots in terms of sheer density of nutrients.

“The art of nourishment” is the tagline, and the principle behind so much of the new-ish plant-based food movement championed by raw food chefs like Matthew Kenney, who owns a number of restaurants and a plant-based culinary school. Brewed + Pressed’s initial menu was devised in part by Rosmery Menendez, who trained with Kenney in California. She has since returned to California, but owners Sohail Dar and Michael Heffelfinger carry on the menu that addresses the notion that nourishment happens from the inside out.

Blue, green, and white smoothies sound recherché, like musical albums. Frozen avocado provides unctuousness and a frosty pale green color in some. Others have a scattering of powders, like maca, pine pollen, or tocos for energy or joint health. This is like DW40 and rocket fuel for your body.

You can get dehydrated flax and chia seed crackers, a super-nutrient antioxidant bonanza with tomatoes, red bell pepper (lycopene!), and kale. They taste like pizza. There are take-away coconut-milk yogurt and cheese made of soaked cashews and hemp with probiotics. An assembly of raw vegan cheesecakes, dense and silky with soaked cashews and coconut nectar, come by the slice in flavors like mixed berry with goji berries and dried white mulberries on top. (One slice has a forest-green swatch from their deep roots juice.)

Many items hinge on activated nuts and seeds, a process that refers to the soaking and rehydrating of cashews, pumpkin seeds, and almonds. It’s a multi-day process that activates the phytochemicals, so the claim goes, and they taste delicately roasted, though they’re not. At a farmers market in the Silver Lake neighborhood of L.A. (yes, chic hippie bonanza land), I recently bought a $10 bag of activated cashews. It was the best bag of cashews in my life: buttery, brittle, and crunchy, with barest hint of salt, they were a revelation. You can get activated cashews at Brewed + Pressed, too.

The space has the usual temple look—minimalist, calming, quiet. Things here do not run cheap. The average smoothie price is $13, say for the Cali shake, with activated pumpkin seed milk, frozen avocado, coconut water and butter, Stumptown cold brew, cocoa, maca, lucuma, tocos, and dates. You may think $13 is a lot to pay for a smoothie. I don’t know. Is your body a temple?

UPDATE (4/26/17): We received a request to take down this post from an attorney named Braden M. Wayne at a firm called SettlePou. Honestly, I can’t make heads or tails of it. Dentists are involved. There’s something about a red Ferrari. Anyway, Wayne agreed that everything would be fine on his end if I simply posted his takedown request and the associated legal filing. So here you go.

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