Ritual Juicebox (Hillcrest)

Ritual Juicebox Collage 6

We were invited to Ritual Juicebox in Hillcrest for a tasting when they first offered their plant based food back early in December, but we unfortunately couldn’t make it. They offered to host us at a more convenient time and we recently paid them a visit to see what kind of healthy creations they were cooking up. If you haven’t started on your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier yet, this may be the place to kick start your goal. Lainey Gaura, manager and Executive Chef was there to be our guide as she prepared various food items while we sat down and sampled many of their fresh organic juices they offer. Currently there is only one San Diego location, with three others in Orange County. The Hillcrest location we visited is the only one to serve food and acts somewhat as a test kitchen. They plan to roll out food to the other Orange County locations in the future.

Ritual Juicebox Collage

It is located in a mall along with Trader Joe’s and Ralph’s, sitting somewhat in the back behind Starbucks. Plenty of light shines through the windows with tables inside and out.


And here is the lineup of organic, cold-pressed juices we were able to try. If you are the curious type that likes to try things before you buy them, this is a good place to do so as they will let you try any of the juices for free.


Out of the “Greens” juices Anh and I enjoyed the Sweet Greens and Potion 10 the most. We tasted them in order of sweetness so it is no surprise we liked the two sweetest of the bunch. And even though they were the sweetest of the “Greens,” that doesn’t mean they tasted like candy or a drink oozing with sugar. The Sweet Greens had a great balance and came off quite smooth. The apple really mellowed out the other greens in the drink. The ginger and turmeric in the Potion 10 were ever present and played off the kale and cucumber nicely. While these two were our favorites, we really enjoyed the Green Lemon and Green Lemon Ginger as well. The Basic Greens and Get Your Greens are pretty hardcore for our taste, if you can call juice hardcore.

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Out of the other juices we rather enjoyed the Spicy Lemonade and Pomegranate Orange. The Spicy Lemonade wasn’t overly spicy, but just enough to have a purpose. The Pomegranate Orange is a new flavor they just added and had a really nice citrus finish, coming off clean and refreshing. We had a fun time going down the line tasting each one, trying to remember which one we gravitated to more. Ritual Juicebox Collage 2

After we were done sampling juices, Lainey brought us to a table to try some of their food offerings. She is really excited to be a part of Ritual Juicebox and previously worked over at Casa de Luz in North Park, which unfortunately closed at the end of 2013. We started off with the Crunchy Thai Salad and the Raw Alfredo. The Crunchy Thai Salad I liked a lot. The peanut sauce was spot on and really could be served anywhere. We’ve done zucchini noodles at home but never with a creamy cashew alfredo sauce. It reminded me of a yogurt based salad in look and flavor. It was good but the Crunchy Thai Salad won the battle of taste.
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Lainey also brought us out two of their wraps: the Spiced Lentil Wrap and the Kimchi Hummus Wrap. Both had things I hold near and dear to my heart, turmeric and kimchi! The Kimchi Hummus Wrap had a nice flavor with a good ratio of hummus, cashew-herb aioli, greens, and kimchi. Hummus can sometimes take over the taste of things but it really played well with the kimchi. While the Kimchi Hummus Wrap was tasty, the Spiced Lentil Wrap had me coming back, bite after bite. The pickled onion and spiced lentils formed a completely satisfying bite. All of the flavors came together and packed a ton of flavor, without overloading your senses.

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Other drinks we had throughout our meal were the Kombucha and Chlorophyll Water. The Kombucha was very mellow compared to other kombucha’s we have had in the past. It was a little sweet, and Anh actually finished hers! The Chlorophyll water just tasted like regular water, but supposedly comes with many health benefits such as boosting your immune system and serving as an antioxidant.

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We ended with a sample of two of their smoothies: the Health Guru and Mood Lifter. Both of these are pretty intense tasting with the Mood Lifter to be a more “normal” smoothie you might have come across before. It is made of cold pressed orange, carrot, and lemon juice, cacao nibs, activated cashew, and banana. The fruit flavors come through, leaving you with bits of cashew at the end. The Health Guru contains hemp mylk, activated cashew, banana, maca, green vibrance, and shilajit. This also was not Anh’s favorite of the day. I think the texture and color threw her off. It was a little mineraly or muddy, but after you get over that (if you can), you can start to appreciate the various flavors coming through with banana and cashew surfacing. Lainey mentioned shilajit has 85 different minerals in it and many of the other ingredients like the green vibrance and maca serve to boost your immune system and give you energy. We were interested in the cold brew coffee so she whipped up a Sweet Brew for us to go. This coffee had raw agave, cashew mylk, and vanilla. We loved the clean coffee flavor and overall gentle sweetness to it. You know how coffee can sometimes feel like it’s clinging to your teeth or mouth? Yeah, there was none of that here.

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It is hard to eat healthy when there seemingly isn’t a whole lot of options out there to do so. And if you do manage to find a place with healthier food, you might choose wrong and it doesn’t really turn out all that great or satisfy your appetite. Ritual Juicebox solves that problem by providing a healthy meal without compromising on taste. Parking is also easy with a nice big (free) parking lot. They are making some slight changes to the menu but hope to keep all the top sellers available. If you are curious about the food or drink they serve or maybe even made a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, I encourage you to check it out. They are really welcoming and happily explain the philosophy behind what they serve you. Even us noobs felt at home and had fun eating a healthy meal that didn’t consists of fries, meat, or boba.

Ritual Juicebox
1080 University Ave., Ste H 107
San Diego, CA 92103
Ritual Juicebox on Urbanspoon


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About Darren

Fooood! I love it if you can't tell already. I love everything about it. The taste, the smell, the look, the feel, the satisfaction, the gratification, and ultimately: the fun! I've been in San Diego for about 10 years now and it amazes me that there are still places to uncover. Traveling, eating, and taking pictures of food has always been a hobby of mine. So naturally Michael and I thought it made sense to share what we found with all of you. I tend to side with the savory but never shy away from a knock out dessert. If you have a place you think we haven't tried let us know! We're always on the lookout...

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