705 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90403
By MICHAEL AUSHENKER | Contributing Writer
Given the population of residents leading active lifestyles in health-conscious, beach-adjacent Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades, the opening of RAWkin’ Juice’s second shop of raw, vegan and organic products on Montana Avenue seems as natural a decision as its 100-percent organic beverages and snacks.
Launched on June 2, RAWkin’ Juice Santa Monica is the company’s second shop (the original opened in Burbank three years ago).
RAWkin’ Juice is the kind of raw/vegan place where non-practitioners of said healthy food will still find something to satisfy them. The juices here range from sweet and fruity (Mango Tango, comprised of mango, orange and lemon offset by avocado; or Berry Blast, loaded with banana, dates, blueberries, raspberries and Pristine Hydro living water) to unsweetened and understated (the hemp seed and banana-dominated Hemp Notes, which also contains kale, parsley, mango, spirulina, chlorella and spring water) to spicy with an edge (thanks, primarily, to stronger influencers like cayenne pepper and ginger in bottles such as Apple Spice Jingle).
Other RAWkin’ juices sold include Watermelon Samba (watermelon orange juice, lemon, mint, cayenne pepper, chia seeds), Cucumber Vocals (cucumber, celery kale lemon), Bongo Bliss (apple, orange and beet), Orange Pop (banana, date, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, orange juice, vanilla and Pristine Hydro living water), Hip Harmony (green apple, cucumber, kale, lemon, pineapple), The Beet Goes On (apple, ginger, carrot, beet, lemon) and Sweet Tunes (apple, celery, cucumber, kale, cilantro and lemon).
Chocolate lovers: Rejoice—one of the most sublime and irresistible flavors is Chocolate Maca Cocktail, with dates, coconut, cacao, cashews, maca, lucuma, vanilla and sea salt (plus Pristine Hydro) approximating a chocolate-y drink. It shares similar nutritional and gustatory traits with their Chocolate Date Pudding (more on that in a moment).
Juices aside, dessert is RAWkin’s strongest suit. Sold by the cash register, Energy Crepes, triangles of healthy dessert, are made of bananas, flax seeds and dates on the outside and are filled with almond butter, cacao leaves, dates and lacuna. (They go well with tea.)
At $6.95 a cup, Chocolate Date Pudding tastes really delicious—with the texture, consistency and chocolatiness of a mousse, but also with a stealth undercurrent of deeper date-flavored bass notes.
RAWkin’ makes a few lunch items, including a vegan Pizza and a Calzone ($16.95), the latter pretty tasty considering that it is comprised entirely of fruits, vegetables and nuts (sun-dried tomatoes, basil, black olives, apple, carrot, young coconut meat, extra virgin olive oil, soaked walnuts, etc.) and Pristine living water. As the most dominant ingredient, the olives give this alternative calzone (no actual cheese involved, of course) a tapenade-type flavor.
RAWkin’ also has an array of salads to go. The Rad Thai salad may be the most dubious item. Even with its accompanying peanut-style sauce, it’s hard to justify the Rad Thai moniker or its Pad Thai inspiration (aside from a nice visual). Primarily made of carrot, cabbage, green onion, zucchini, almond butter, coconut nectar, jalapeño and sea salt, the Rad Thai was the one item that really hit “the bland side.”
The one thing missing at the moment at RAWkin’ Santa Monica is a way to make hot coffee drinks out of its date seeds-derived Medidate brand, but that is imminent, according to shop manager Juan Hernandez. Indeed, the cold version does taste somewhat like coffee, albeit with a deeper, date-ier aftertaste—but with way more fiber and cardamom. A beverage containing zero caffeine, coffee drinkers will definitely want to give the hot version a try when that arrives.
RAWkin’ is a welcomed addition to the Westside’s vegan food scene.