- Mike Sula
- Drink your juice—Owen + Alchemy
Assuming you’re not running with the bulls today at Target or Walmart, your priority might be to do something to offset yesterday’s hours of holiday excess. And to that end maybe you’re considering a $10 bottle of cold-pressed juice at Owen + Alchemy, Logan Square’s “modern juice apothecary,” a self-description that seems dangerously close to medical chicanery if you subscribe to the dictionary definition of apothecary as “a pharmacy or drugstore.” But you can go to its website and click through the images of vibrantly colored liquids in clear glass bottles on sleek black backgrounds and read their ingredients and their vague curative powers (“rehydrating,” “skin clarifying,” “mood boosting”)—plus nutritional stats—all numbered like elements on the periodic table.
Because there’s no cold-pressed White Castle slider on the menu, you might make the self-prescription that what your polluted body needs is 02, a radioactive-green combination of kale, romaine lettuce, Napa cabbage, parsley, celery, cucumber, and sea salt. Why? Well it says right there: it’s good for “detoxifying” and “alkalizing,” and that it is “nutrient-electrolyte rich.” But if that were true you could drink swamp water on Black Friday and pay a lot less for it. It’s some serious tough love. Medicine taken, you might start looking for a more effective hangover cure—the Radler’s smoked brisket reuben is just next door.
Because the “+” sign is the new ampersand, you also may be tempted to think the name Owen + Alchemy is as meaningless as all those other places that took their identities from the hipster business name generator. But “Owen” actually refers to Anne Owen, the former magazine publisher who teamed with Jared Van Camp and Element Collective to open this sleek set piece from Portlandia, that not only offers about two dozen freshly juiced bottles daily, but a handful of Chinese herb blends, and some packaged solid foods that are the polar opposite of juice in terms of digestibility. For science, I ordered a raw kale salad with radish, fennel, almonds, and a creamy avocado dressing ($9), which requires the digestive powers of a ruminant to power through; the barely edible analogue to a graffiti blaster to the guts. You can also work your mandibles on bowls of raw oatmeal, chia seed pudding, blueberry, and honey; or cashew and hemp “yogurt” with sweet potatoes and flax seeds; or a mucilaginous almond “butter,” with raw granola and maca root—an Andean plant which is said to be good for goiters.
But it’s really all about the juice here, and the accompanying verb “to juice.” In addition to the 02 and two other green juices there are a couple of fruit-dominant options, some root-based juices (sweet potato, beet), three kombucha-style fermented varieties, and the dominant “nut/seed” category with eight different, uh, “nut milks,” things like almond, pistachio, and pecans emulsified in water and seasoned with a variety of ingredients like kaffir lime leaf, cayenne, honey, cardamom, ginger, cacao, or dates. These are more on the savory side of the juice planet. If say, 57—raw almond and cashew milk, with ginger, raw honey, and cardamom, all tinged yellow with turmeric—seems disconcertingly medicinal (“digestion support,” “anti inflammatory”) you’re more likely to enjoy something sweeter, like 12 (“antibacterial,” “immune support”) with blueberry, basil, grapefruit, and lime.”
Maybe your condition is chronic, and you’re willing to ignore all the compelling evidence that a fiber phobic, heavy juice diet is not as healthy as it’s cracked up to be—Owen + Alchemy offers a couple of juice cleanses, that may in fact “eliminate toxins from environmental pollutants, processed foods, and built-up stress.” Maybe. I dunno. I’m no certified holistic health coach. But they do certainly seem capable of eliminating any gustatory pleasure from your life.
- Mike Sula
- Owen + Alchemy
Owen + Alchemy, 2355 N. Milwaukee, 773-227-3444